Mental & Behavioral Health

Preparing for a 31-Day Alcohol Timeout: The Dry January Challenge


As you prepare for your 2020 Well-being strategies, I am sure as employers and wellness professionals, and you are considering the challenges that build team spirit. From step challenges to cutting sugar or carbs, 30-day challenges can not only make your employees feel more healthy but can bring your employees together in healthy competition. With the holidays being full of fun, food, and libations, I thought the Dry January challenge would be a fun one to initiate.

What is Dry January?

Dry January started in 2013 in the UK with Alastair Campbell, a columnist, and political strategist, talking about his past drinking, and columnist Peter Oborne trying out the month off booze.

In 2014 the University of Sussex started research on the benefits of Dry January and its lasting effects.

The latest research from 2018 reports that Dry January participants are still drinking less in August. Nine in ten people save money, seven sleep better, and three in five lose weight from just taking a month off.

In addition, there are benefits even for participants who don’t manage to stay alcohol-free for the whole month, showing there are benefits just for trying to complete Dry January.

Should participate I participate in Dry January?

Dry January is a movement for anyone who drinks alcohol. Some people participate as a detox from their excessive drinking that happens over the holidays. Others use the beginning of the new year to kick-start healthy habits and routines.

Dry January is for anyone looking for immediate benefits of sleeping better, more energy, saving money, improving their skin and losing weight.

Benefits to Dry January

I hear from people every day who take a break from alcohol and feel healthier and happier as a result.

Being alcohol-free for 31 days shows us that you don’t need alcohol to relax, have fun, or socialize. The results speak for themselves.

The University of Sussex research showed that:

  • 93% of participants had a sense of achievement
  • 88% saved money
  • 82% think more deeply about their relationship with drink
  • 80% feel more in control of their drinking
  • 76% learned more about when and why they drink
  • 71% realized they don’t need a drink to enjoy themselves
  • 70% had generally improved health
  • 71% slept better
  • 67% had more energy
  • 58% lost weight
  • 57% had better concentration
  • 54% had better skin

How to prepare for Dry January

Starting now, you can become a curious, non-judgemental learner about your drinking habits. Take note of how much you are consuming, when, and how it is making you feel. If you are a heavy drinker, consult with your doctor to make a plan for withdrawal.

You can to remove alcohol from your home or at least put it away to avoid temptation.

You may also want to look at your social calendar and decide on the most comfortable way for you to turn down a drink at social events.

If you need ideas, here’s 23 ways to turn down a drink.  

Now is the time to stock up on alcohol-free alternatives.

Club soda with lime is an easy drink to order anywhere. There is an increase in mocktail options at many establishments. I have found bartenders love the challenge of coming up with a tasty alcohol-free concoction. You can also enjoy the many nonalcoholic craft brews that are popping up.

Feel free to sample these delicious drinks with our discount codes. Stock up now so you are prepared when the calendar turns to January:

Finally, get support. Tell friends and family about your experiment so they can support you, or even join you. There’s a thriving alcohol-free Instagram community, feel free to follow me and see who I follow for more inspiration.

If you want additional support join my online, self-paced, class full of tools and resources to keep you alcohol-free.  

Stay the Course on Dry January

It can be a challenge, even for casual drinkers to say no to booze for a month. Prepare yourself by keeping your why the top of mind. You may want to write down and repeat your why as a mantra to yourself. Remember, true contentment comes from aligning with your goals and not always from immediate pleasure.

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