After the excesses of the festive season, many of us welcome the new year as an opportunity to start fresh. Whether it's healthier living, breaking bad habits or just time to focus purely on you after a season of giving, Dry January is the perfect springboard to a healthier, happier new year.
What's Dry January all about?
Kickstarted by UK charity Alcohol Change, the first Dry January campaign launched in 2013. By encouraging people to give up booze for a month, its aim was simple: change people's views on drinking, and you change their drinking habits. Dry January campaigners hoped a fresh, positive start to the new year would lead people to make healthier lifestyle choices for the rest of the year.
Going alcohol-free led to some incredible life-changing results. A survey of those who took part in the first campaign found that six months after the campaign finished, 7 out of 10 participants had continued to drink less and had switched to alcohol-free alternatives.
Dry January has grown in popularity. The first campaign had just 4,000 participants, but fast forward to 2021, and now it seems everyone's doing it!
8 tips to take on Dry January and win
Determined to go alcohol-free for 31 days? Here are our best Dry January tips to help you springboard into the new year in style.
Think about the 'why'
OK, time for a bit of self-awareness. Jot down a note of why and when you drink. This can offer insights into your choices, which in turn can help guide your future behaviour down healthier paths. If you know your drink triggers, it makes it easier to avoid them or swap for an alternative such as one of our specially curated alcohol-free drinks here at Zero.Zilch.Zip.
Apps are a great help with this and there are loads to choose from. Try the official Dry January app and the extremely helpful Drink Coach, which provides a drink tracking tool and personalised advice from specialist coaches. Stop Drinking with Andrew Johnson (Apple iOS and Android) is another useful app that combines hypnotherapy, relaxation and visualisation to help rewire how you think about alcohol.
Set small goals for smart success
When setting a challenge, it's important to reward yourself when you meet your goals.
But take a cue from top athletes who set small goals as a smart way to reach their overall objective. So, rather than focusing on the large goal of a whole month without alcohol (no way, too tough), break this down into four week-long chunks, with a reward at the end of each one (much more manageable).
What's the perfect reward, you ask? Try one of our refreshing alcohol-free drinks. We recommend a Saicho Hojicha Sparkling Cold-brewed Tea and Square Root Gin & Tonic. Read our blog on the best alcohol-free drinks for Dry January.
As each week goes by and you sample more of our fantastic range of alcohol-free drinks, you're far more likely to stay the course – and benefit from many of the health and mental wellbeing boosts alcohol-free drinks can deliver.
Embrace the positive
Better sleep? Improved concentration? More youthful skin? Feeling less hungry? Hoping to improve your wellbeing? Well, we've some rather excellent news. A recent survey has shown that those who stop drinking alcohol can see health benefits like these in as little as one month.
Another big positive of giving up alcohol is gaining back all the time you would've spent hungover or feeling lethargic.
So, take time to recognise and enjoy these benefits. The more you do, the more you'll want to keep on with Dry January.
Move your body
If you start to experience an urge to drink, distract yourself with something beneficial, like exercise. Try going for a daytime run, hitting the Peloton, or just dancing around the kitchen to your favourite tunes for 20 minutes. Exercise delivers a surge of endorphins that can help boost your mood, reducing the urge to drink alcohol.
Your scales will thank you
Very few people realise just how many calories there are in their favourite boozy beverage. Alcohol has on average 7 calories per gram – almost as many as a gram of fat.
Even keeping to the NHS recommended weekly maximum of 14 alcohol units (equal to 7 small glasses of wine or four-and-a-half pints of beer) can add a whopping 900-1,000 calories on top of your average food intake. That's half a day of calories for a woman.
Ditching the alcohol plus upping your exercise means you may enjoy some Dry January weight loss!
Don't go it alone
Support is key when taking on any new challenge. And with so many people taking part in Dry January, it's never been easier to connect via social media.
Search #DryJanuary hashtags on Instagram or look for alcohol-free lifestyle blogs online. You may find new friends in a similar situation to you who can help you face challenges they've already experienced. Club Soda, for example, is a global mindful drinking community that offers great support and recommendations for the best alcohol-free drinks.
Read 'quit lit'
Pick up a book – there are lots available offering help and advice on quitting drinking. They range from personal memoirs and self-help guides to psychology books that aim to change the way you view alcohol.
Recommendations include The Naked Mind: Control Alcohol, Find Freedom, Discover Happiness & Change Your Life by Annie Grace, Quit Like a Woman: The Radical Choice to Not Drink in a Culture Obsessed With Alcohol by Holly Whitaker and The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober: Discovering a happy, healthy, wealthy alcohol-free life by Catherine Gray.
Healthy food to boost your mood
Ever wondered why bars and pubs serve salty snacks like crisps, peanuts and olives? Or why you crave chips or kebabs after a night out? It's because these foods are full of salt. When you eat them, the salt leaves you dehydrated, making you want to drink more.
Aim for a healthier diet this month and keep those salty foods at arm's length. Not only will this reduce the chances of you drinking, but you'll also be cutting out extra calories – salts and fats that do nothing for your health.
Drink non-alcoholic drinks
Giving up alcohol doesn't mean you have to settle for boring drinks instead.
We've tons of choice when it comes to delicious alcohol-free beverages – from alcohol-free wines, beer, ciders, brews, spirits – there's something for everyone! Having a fantastic selection available at your fingertips means you'll be less tempted to break your Dry January pledge.
Here at Zero.Zilch.Zip, we make it easy to discover the best alcohol-free drinks available, so you can make the right choices and enjoy the best experiences.
As our intrepid Zerologist James puts it: "Alcohol-free can now be an equal or better comparison to alcoholic alternatives, and our collection is welcoming everyone to the table."
Tempted? Wondering what to try first?
More of a beer person? Insel Brauerei Skippers Wet Hopped Pilsener (0.5%) is the one for you.
And if January holds a birthday or other celebration you can't avoid? No problem, there are plenty of sparkling alcohol wines and drinks to choose from. We'd recommend Thomson & Scott Noughty Alcohol-Free Organic Sparkling Chardonnay for your special occasion.
What happens after Dry January?
Well, that's up to you.
Now you've completed a month without booze and enjoyed a whole raft of amazing alcohol-free drinks along the way, why not carry on?Simply fill up your fridge or trendy drinks trolley with a diverse variety of alcohol-free beverages from our delicious, curated collection, and let your healthy new habits make your new year great!