Follow these Dry January Tips to help you plan an alcohol-free month and kick off the new year with a focus on wellness. It's a great way to do a reset after an overindulgent holiday.
If you've been wondering how to do Dry January I'm sharing several ideas to help you plan, and enjoy, a month off of drinking.
What is Dry January?
Dry January involves ditching alcohol for the whole month, allowing you to detox after the holidays, and helping you reset your health and wellness goals.
During this 31-day challenge, you will abstain from drinking alcohol. But based on your own goals, you can make it fit your own rules and work for you.
Related: Mocktails for Dry January
Wellness is important to me, and while I don't usually do New Year's resolutions, the first of the year is always a good time to reevaluate your goals and aim to make simple changes to your lifestyle.
I love a good quick and easy cocktail, but every once in a while, I like to take a month off of alcohol. While I don't see myself giving up drinks entirely, I think it's always a good idea to strike the right balance.
Why do Dry January
There are a variety of great benefits to doing an alcohol-free January, including:
- Seeing how your body and mind feels without alcohol
- Saving money
- Assessing the amount of alcohol you drink on a regular basis
- Better sleep
- Improving your immune system
- Weight loss
- Less anxiety
The reasons why people take this challenge vary from person to person.
And over the years the concept has grown to include a larger sober initiative where people give up alcohol altogether (and are also weren't considered an alcoholic) or add in other months.
Sober October was a fundraising initiative started by Macmillan Cancer Support so if you would love to have more dry months throughout the year, you should.
How to do Dry January
Since this is a challenge aimed at going alcohol-free for 31 days, the most important thing to remember about the challenge is to simply not drink.
So how do you do it? Don't drink!
How Should I Prepare for Dry January
You know yourself better than anyone. You know what your triggers are and those should be the main focus for you to reflect on.
Here are some simple steps to help you get started:
- Remove all the alcohol from your home to avoid temptation.
- Let your friends and family members know what you’re doing so they don’t offer temptations throughout the month.
- Set up a calendar in a prominent location, then mark off each successful day after you’ve completed it.
- Plan your social calendar in advance to avoid events that may trigger you to drink.
With health and wellness being a goal, be sure to reflect on the changes in your mind and body as you work your way through the challenge.
How Can I Make Dry January Easier
As you make your way through the month with no alcohol, remember these Dry January tips to help you stay on track when you’re craving a drink.
1. Ask for Support
Before you jump in, reach out to friends and family members to let them know what you’re doing and ask them to help. This support system will be beneficial when you’re struggling to stay on track.
You can also use these tips to help support friends or family who might be going dry even if you're not.
Sunnyside is a cool app that helps with alcohol tracking, planning and coaching and is centered around mindful drinking and moderation, as opposed to sobriety. You can choose how you want to participate; whether it’s not drinking at all, drinking less or just drinking on weekends.
This is a great option if you are trying Dry January for the first time or want to do a modified version, dry-ish January.
2. Do it with a Friend
Taking the month off from drinking will certainly be easier if you are doing it with a friend or group. You can hold each other accountable and plan social events where you won't end up in your favorite bar.
3. Avoid Triggers
To keep from slipping up, try to stay away from triggers that might make you want to drink, including certain places and people that encourage you to drink.
4. Try a Mocktail
Chances are, you’re going to have the urge to drink at least once during the month. Instead of pouring an alcoholic drink, try mixing up a mocktail or other non-alcoholic drink.
My favorite thing to drink when I want something delicious but not full of alcohol is a Bitters and Soda. It has trace amounts of alcohol and a refreshing flavor. Or try some infused waters like Tangerine Basil Water.
There are even a few ready made-versions on the market now that you can keep on hand in the refrigerator.
5. Stock Up on Non-Alcoholic Drinks
Not drinking doesn't have to be any less fun. And in my opinion, it's not about deprivation. One of my favorite Dry January Tips is to find fun alternatives.
Ritual is a brand of Non-Alcoholic spirits that are perfect for when you want a drink but don't want the effects of alcohol.
I have their Zero-Proof gin and it's delicious. It has the same flavor profile of gin (herbal and crisp) but no alcohol. You can sip it straight over ice or even use it to make a gin and tonic mocktail.
Surely recently sent me a bottle of their non-alcoholic Sparkling wine and non-alcoholic Sauvignon Blanc. It's a great option for wine lovers who really love the taste but don't want have the alcohol.
The Sauvignon Blanc is tangy and reminiscent of a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand (my favorite).
And for celebratory moments, non-alcoholic sparkling wine is a great option. It's also a great gift idea for pregnant moms. This is one of the Dry January tips you can carry over year-round when needed.
If you're more of a beer drinker, you may want to check out some non-alcoholic beer. Clausthaler is a brand that you can find at your local Total Wine store.
This German brand comes in a variety of flavors that would be great in place of your typical happy hour drink of choice. They recently released two new options if your looking for a refreshing non-alcoholic beer!
Low Calorie Low Alcohol Wine
And while it may not be right for Dry January, I've noticed a big shift in the wine industry with lower calorie, lower alcohol wines. For the most part, they taste very similar to a regular glass.
It's a great option to consider if that falls in line with your health goals.
6. Allow for Modification
Give yourself permission to drink--if one of your goals for this month is cutting back, then only allow yourself small amounts of alcohol that are spaced out through the month.
If you have a big event that you've been looking forward to for a long time, don't stress yourself out over missing out. While this is a challenge, life is too short to beat yourself up over small missteps or make a decision that feels right for you at the moment.
If you find yourself making allowances weekly, then you may want to look a little more seriously at your goals and consider also doing Dry February.
7. Create New Habits
If you spent all year meeting up with friends at the local bar, consider changing things up a little. Create new, healthier habits with your friends. Consider meeting for a workout.
Or plan a hike. Start a movie club. Do something different. You may even find that those new habits stick once the month is over.
Is Dry January Worth It
After January is over, take a minute to think about how you felt throughout the month.
Some people say that Dry January is not worth the effort, but others report feeling happier, healthier, and more energetic after they stop drinking.
I think if you do it intentionally, with goals in mind, you'll be able to see to quantify your results.
It can be trendy and something that people do just because. You are more likely to feel blase about it if you just jump into it. And it will also be way easier to not make it through the whole month without a drink.
It's a great way to jumpstart your health resolution. If you're feeling tired, unmotivated, or anything else that makes it hard to achieve your goals, then try taking a break from alcohol for an entire month.
Use these Dry January tips to help you plan your month off of alcoholic drinks.
- A Moscow Mule Mocktail is refreshing and the perfect thing to sip on if you still want it to feel like happy hour.
- Make this Grapefruit Mocktail with thyme for a sophisticated virgin drink idea.
- Try a Non-Alcoholic Espresso Martini. It's trendy and you won't feel like you are missing out on anything.
- This Muddled Ginger and Strawberry Sparkling Water is SO refreshing and full of flavor.
- These Non-Alcoholic Mimosas are a fun way to make it feel like you're mixing up drinks.
- This list of Non-Alcoholic Drinks for New Year's are a great resource for mocktails to make during Dry January.
- Make some Spiced Pear Juice from my bellini recipe and swap in ginger ale or club soda in place of the wine.