How to be Successful with Dry January Efforts Despite the Ongoing Pandemic

The new year is here which means that many people are using the fresh start to practice the concept of dry January. This practice involves taking a break from alcohol for the month of January. Many people are ready to practice abstinence after a holiday filled with festive parties and get-togethers.

The recent surge of the Omicron variant has made the concept of dry January even more popular as people cut back on their social outings. This makes it easier to resist the temptation of alcohol, prompting many to consider this abstinence for the month.

Increase in Drinking Due to Pandemic

It is no surprise to learn that many Americans have reported an increase in drinking due to the pandemic. The limited social interaction combined with isolation led many people to drink more during the early days of the pandemic. As the pandemic wore on, more people turned to alcohol as a coping mechanism to deal with the ongoing stress and uncertainty of this time period.

Because alcohol is generally an acceptable way to relieve stress and anxiety, it became a common way to deal with the pandemic. As a result, alcoholic intake increased significantly as people turned to it to get through the tough times. In particular, women have been shown to be particularly susceptible to an increase in drinking at the hands of the pandemic.

Advantages of Dry January Participation

There is no shortage of advantages associated with dry January participation. Past participants report a renewed energy in the morning because they never wake up hungover or fatigued after a night of drinking. You will also likely experience improvement in your physical health as you get rid of those empty calories and drinks that make you feel bloated.

It is also likely that you will sleep much better once you give up drinking for the month. This will lead to lower stress levels and decreased anxiety. Many women also report healthier skin once they give up the alcohol for a time.

The sense of personal achievement that comes with knowing that you can easily give up booze for an entire month cannot be overstated.

Tips to Success for Dry January

Now that you have decided to participate in abstinence for the month, you may be wondering how you can set yourself up for success. Experts recommend keeping a journal over the course of the month to record the experience. Be sure to record how you feel as the month goes on. Items to journal about include how you are sleeping, measurements of energy levels, weight, and other elements that may be reflective of your abstinence.

It is also a good idea to replace these old drinking habits with new and healthier activities. For example, instead of heading out to happy hour on Friday with your co-workers, consider asking everyone to go for a hike. You never know what you may find to be a good replacement. Keep it fresh by trying new things throughout the month.

While many people only drink socially, it does not mean that you have to give up all social interactions just because you are not drinking. If you have a hard time being social without a drink in hand, try to find healthier alternatives. Maybe this is when you want to indulge in that full-calorie soda or milkshake that may have been off limits prior to dry January?

Lastly, you may also want to avoid situations which will trigger your desire to drink. Regardless of if that is a night out at a brewery or dinner with a particular group of party friends, identify your triggers and do your best to avoid them. Instead, look for healthier alternatives that will encourage you to stick with your goal. You will gain confidence that you can follow through with the month of abstinence with each passing day.

It is important to give yourself permission to slip-up a time or two. Just because you fall off the wagon during the third week of January, it does not mean that you cannot finish up strong. Rather than throwing in the towel completely, give yourself grace to get back in the saddle and try again.

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