Dry January started as a small campaign to abstain from alcohol in the first month of the year. But in recent years it has grown into a challenge that millions of people engage in. For some folks it’s just part of a New Year’s resolution. For others, maybe it’s because adults report that their alcohol consumption has increased since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whatever the reason, there are many benefits to drinking less. And a month-long reset may lead to a long-term shift in alcohol intake. Given the number of Americans who regularly drink, Dry January may be a trend worth engaging in.
According to science, your body likes a month without alcohol. In just one month, moderate-to-heavy drinkers who abstained from alcohol experienced:
- A reduction in blood pressure
- Better blood sugar control
- Weight loss
- Even a reduction in cancer risk factors
This data confirms that alcohol consumption is associated with an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. And for women, alcohol consumption is particularly concerning. Just one drink per day increases a woman’s risk for breast cancer, among other health concerns.
Research also finds that people who engage in Dry January are drinking less, even six to eight months later. When we accept a challenge and achieve a difficult goal, we prove to ourselves that we can do it! One positive change then leads to another, especially when we’re sleeping better and have more energy (common with less alcohol). There’s also the benefit to your wallet. A quick calculation shows how much money is saved when alcohol consumption is reduced.
Alcohol-free seats at football games. Online communities that support a mindful movement to help people moderate their alcohol intake. There continues to be more ongoing support to shift your relationship with alcohol. Find the support you need to be successful. Grab a friend for a movie or a walk rather than meeting for a drink. Maybe try a fun new beverage or mocktail to fill the void.
Maybe you’re ready for a “dryish” January
Yup, there’s an app for that. Alcohol Change UK, the nonprofit that founded the Dry January campaign, offers the Try Dry app. You can track your alcohol intake any time of the year and work toward consuming less. Likewise, the Sunnyside community shares support and tips for reducing alcohol intake. They promote a mindful, low-pressure approach to achieving a “dryish” January.
However you approach your health goals in 2023, Guiding Stars is here to support you! Use our beverage guidance to find “good, better, and best” options to enjoy. And visit our blog regularly for realistic, attainable health guidance, updates, and tips for a healthy 2023!