Now that the holidays have come to a close, many people are looking to make up for a December filled with holiday punch by abstaining from alcohol for a month entirely. As noble of a resolution as it may be, rocking Dry January is not as easy as it might seem, especially given the current climate (both literal and figurative).With the news as grim as it is, and the temperature as frigid, maybe all you want to do is curl up on the couch, build a little tent out of your duvet, and drink red wine until spring.
But Dry January has so many incredible benefits to it that it really is worth the pain of going booze-free during what is arguably the most dreary month of the year. Here are some life hacks to help you master it. And for more on this teetotaling challenge, learn the 7 Amazing Benefits of Dry January.
Put Non-Alcoholic Drinks Into Glasses Meant for Booze
Alcohol is all about the mind, and the brain is a surprisingly easy thing to trick. We’ve all heard of the placebo effect, in which a patient feels the effects of a fake treatment simply because they anticipate its results. You can placebo effect yourself, so to speak, by pouring Pellegrino into a champagne flute (you can even squeeze in a little orange juice and put the rind on the side to make it feel classy), or grape juice into a wine glass. After a few minutes of sipping while watching Netflix you’ll be surprised at how much it feels like champagne or wine!
Prepare In Advance for Social Events
One of the most frustrating things about drinking is how uncomfortable it can make social gatherings. If you’re at an office happy hour, or a wedding, and you turn down alcohol, people invariably think you’re either pregnant or a recovering alcoholic. Doing Dry January is something you should be proud of, and there certainly shouldn’t still be a stigma around abstaining from booze. But if you don’t want to deal with the awkward looks or questions, you can ask for something that appears to be a cocktail but isn’t–like tonic with lime or a diet coke–or even bring something from home and pour it into a glass yourself at the event.
If you’re at a birthday party, or you’ve had a long day, and you’re simply dying for a glass of something, don’t beat yourself up. Setbacks are normal. If you’re going to have a glass of something, then the best option is either tequila, which doesn’t have any carbs, or a standard pour of red wine, since that is at least known to have some health benefits. The good news is that, to some extent, you can reverse the effects of drinking that one glass as well. Gunnar Peterson, the celebrity trainer responsible for Khloe Kardashian’s “revenge body,” told Women’s Health that the rule of thumb is to “drink three glasses of water for every glass of wine to disperse and mange the inflammatory effects of the yeast and molds. The better choice is a distilled spirit like vodka or tequila with soda water and a splash of lime.” Remember, messing up one day isn’t a reason to give up on the whole month!
A lot of the time, people drink just because they’re bored, which is probably why the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism suggests taking up new hobbies or revisiting old ones when cutting back on the booze. Try learning a new language, or painting, woodworking, learning how to play guitar–all of these can be done in the comfort of your home on a cold day, and they’re a lot more productive than drinking!
Make An Announcement
Studies have shown that telling your Instagram followers that you plan to lose weight actually helps people achieve fitness their fitness goals, because it makes you more likely to really commit to them to avoid losing face in front of other people. The same could certainly be applied to vowing to do #dryJanuary and posting your results when you’re done #wellnessinspo.
Don’t Keep Booze in the House
If you’re not drinking when you’re out because your friends know you vowed not to, and you’re not feeling pressured at social events, then your last major hurdle is drinking at home. Keeping busy will, as previously mention, keep your fingers from reaching for the bottle, but if there’s no bottle at home to reach for, then even better!
Don’t Fall Prey to Stereotypes
In her bestselling book, Blackout, Sarah Hepola explained that the reason that she drank wasn’t because she enjoyed its effects so much as because it made her feel cool. Many people view alcohol, as she put it, as the “gasoline of adventure,” and they drink because it makes them feel fun-loving and adventurous more than anything else. It’s a difficult thing to do, but changing your perception of alcohol–trying to see it as something that has harmful, long-lasting effects, as opposed to the key to a good time–can make it a lot easier to quit. However, if you plan on hopping back on the wagon after the month ends, be sure you’re well versed in the 10 Best Science-Backed Hangover Cures of All Time.
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