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Dry January: The Surprising Ways it can Improve Your Life


Dry January

There’s no denying that the prospect of giving up alcohol when you’re nursing a festive hangover sounds appealing. But, inevitably, that hangover passes. What happens when normality returns and the temptation of a glass of wine with dinner or a night down the pub with friends creep in again?

Or, maybe you had every good intention of giving up alcohol for January after a challenging year, but then life came at you fast, and resolutions were forgotten. Now that the dust has settled on the new year, there is still time to help your liver. It doesn’t matter if you’re halfway through the month. It’s never too late to reduce or quit your alcohol consumption; we’re here to help you do it. So, take our advice and give it a go; you’ll be so pleased you did.

What is Dry January? 

If you’ve never heard of Dry January, the concept is simple. It is a challenge individuals task themselves with, and the aim is to give up alcohol for the entirety of January. Founded in 2013 with only 4,000 participants, Dry January has grown in popularity, with 130,000 people in the UK joining in in the year 2022. 

It is a great way to kickstart your year with a clearer mindset and healthier well-being. But, we also understand that it can seem quite daunting for those taking part for the first time, especially following the festive season. Even impossible for some. Keep reading to find out how you can make it through Dry January. 

How to Survive Dry January

If you’re finding Dry January hard, this is to be expected, and you are not alone in these feelings. Don’t worry; it doesn’t mean you’re an alcoholic just because you’re finding it hard to give up your weekly beer or wine. For many, Dry January is a way for people to prove to themselves that they don’t need alcohol by giving it up for a month. 

Suppose your efforts to abstain during January are beginning to wobble. In that case, it may help remind you of the serious health risks associated with regular drinking. 

Health Risks of Long-Term, Regular Drinking

According to the NHS, Cancer Research UK and Bupa, drinking more than 14 units per week on a long-term basis can result in the following health issues and illnesses:

If you think being teetotal is no fun, try reading that list again. It’s scary reading, but by cutting down or giving up alcohol altogether, you can reduce your risk of serious long-term health problems. There are many immediate hidden benefits to Dry January, too; find out below. 

Immediate Health Benefits of Dry January 

Looking long-term at the effects of giving up alcohol promises a much brighter and healthier future. Still, it can be challenging to focus on that daily. Especially on evenings when you may be wobbling about how much completing Dry January is worth it. 

But, we are pleased to report that there are also immediate benefits you may notice that may be the push you need to get serious. 

Research carried out by Sussex University in 2018 revealed some added bonuses to giving up alcohol during January. The study showed that most of those who managed the 31 days were still drinking less by August, but it also reported that people were enjoying better sleep, saving money and losing weight, with a boost to their energy and better skin. 

But don’t just take our word for it; here are the percentages to get you excited about sticking to Dry January. 

  • 93% of participants had a sense of achievement.
  • 88% saved money.
  • 82% think more deeply about their relationship with drink.
  • 80% feel more in control of their drinking.
  • 76% learned more about when and why they drink.
  • 71% realised they don’t need a drink to enjoy themselves.
  • 70% had generally improved health.
  • 71% slept better.
  • 67% had more energy.
  • 58% lost weight.
  • 57% had better concentration.
  • 54% had better skin.

How Dry January Can Improve Your Work Life

The benefits of reducing alcohol are far-reaching and can improve multiple areas of your life, including your work. Whether you’re an employer or employee, here are some startling facts from Alcohol Change UK about how alcohol consumption affects the workplace:

  • 40% of employers mention alcohol as a significant cause of low productivity.
  • Between 3% and 5% of all absence is caused by alcohol consumption.
  • 35% of people say they’ve noticed colleagues under the influence of drugs and alcohol at work.
  • 25% say that drugs or alcohol have affected them at work, with 23% saying they had experienced decreased productivity.

10 Top Tips for Giving up Alcohol

So, now you know the facts, and hopefully, you will feel more determined than ever to start or stick to your Dry January. But it is easier said than done. To help you reap the health benefits of giving up alcohol, here are ten tips:

  1. Make a list of why you want to give up drinking and keep referring to it. Keep writing it down again and again, too!
  2. Remind yourself you’re not doing this alone. And remember, one in five people in the UK over the age of 16 don’t drink alcohol at all – ever.
  3. Exercise when you feel a craving. After 10 minutes, the craving for alcohol will disappear, and you’ll feel good about yourself too.
  4. Change the way you speak about alcohol. Say, ‘I don’t drink in January’ or ‘I am doing Dry January’, rather than ‘I have to do Dry January’. You’re more likely to succeed as a result.
  5. Don’t keep it a secret. Tell others you’re giving up alcohol. You’ll be less likely to fail if everyone knows you’re doing it.
  6. Treat yourself. Use the money you’re saving for something more positive or enjoyable.
  7. Give that sneaky ‘I want a drink’ voice an evil name (like Freddy Kreuger) and a separate identity. Learn to see it as the enemy.
  8. Enjoy that feeling you’ll get after completing a night out without alcohol – and remind yourself how much better and easier it was than you thought.
  9. Don’t beat yourself up if you fall off the wagon but don’t use it as an excuse to return to your pre-new-year ways. Just get right back on that no-booze wagon again.
  10. Enjoy the perks of better skin, quality sleep and improved health, and be proud of your achievement every single day.

Kickstart Your Dry January 

Are you ready to take Dry January seriously? We hope our guide on the benefits of Dry January has inspired you to give up alcohol or at least reduce your consumption. We’re sure as soon as you start seeing and feeling the differences, you will wonder why you didn’t do it sooner! 

For support in reducing alcohol consumption for your team, employers can browse alcohol test kits from Home Health UK. 

If you’re looking for additional support in your health and alcohol, find further guidance and information on our online health information pages. You can also speak to your GP if you need further help and are struggling with your relationship with alcohol. 


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