You’ve been thinking about kicking off the new year clear-minded and with some money in your pocket. Others have had the same idea and created Dry January. You don’t know how the month will turn out, but you do know you have a community behind you to cheer on your every success.

Simple in concept yet difficult to adhere to, Dry January can help us all remain focused on improving our lives into the new year. In 2022, one in five Americans committed to taking a break from alcohol in the month of January. Dry January is gaining traction as more and more people seek a healthier lifestyle to kick off the new year. Research suggests Dry January has huge benefits for participants' health and well-being.

Benefits of skipping alcohol for 30 days

Among some of the rewards for participating are weight loss, better sleep quality, and improved liver health. With partying and overindulging during the holidays being commonplace, beginning the year with a clean slate sets us up for success throughout the rest of the twelve months.

Dry January and socializing

American culture heavily ties drinking to socializing. It's no wonder many people struggle to give up alcohol and make healthier beverage choices. Although moderate amounts of alcohol can have benefits, consistently consuming high quantities puts an individual at risk for various health issues.

An alcohol reset can be a great way to take time and focus on your mental and physical health. One of the biggest challenges is navigating the changes in personal relationships and social interactions that sobriety brings. Preparing ahead of time with a solid support system can make all the difference.

A great way to start is by seeking out family and friends with whom you can be honest and open and stay accountable for hard conversations that may come up throughout your alcohol reset. Give yourself grace if there are times when it feels like the challenge is greater than expected, as having emotional support throughout this process is essential in maintaining balance.

Look and feel better

Research from the National Institutes of Health shows giving up or cutting back on booze is likely the best decision for overall well-being. Not only does cutting down on alcohol improve physical health, but abstaining from drinking also reduces feelings of anxiety and depression because individuals no longer rely on it as a coping mechanism. A lifestyle modification, even for 31 days, has numerous positive impacts on mental and physical health.

Reflect, re-examine & reset

Doing a Dry January can be a beneficial exercise, even if you don't think you have an issue with alcohol. Using this month to abstain from drinking can serve as a good test for individuals who are unsure about their relationship with alcohol. Dry January provides an opportunity to examine and reflect on our habits. During this month-long challenge, individuals have the capability to reset their bodies and minds and get a better understanding of when drinking is harmful or helpful. Whether that means going the whole month without drinking or setting daily/weekly limits for yourself, taking a break from alcohol can be beneficial in the long run.

It can be hard to fight off the temptation of alcohol. Quitting drinking or cutting back can seem daunting at first. But starting out on a good note by remembering why it's important to quit or cut back is essential for success. This could mean reconnecting with reasons that inspired an individual before they began drinking. Other times, simply understanding the physical and mental benefits of alcohol-free living may prompt someone to take a break from alcohol.

Whatever the individual's motivation to quit may be, concentrating on it when cravings hit can help prevent relapse into old habits. With some dedication and discipline, taking a break from drinking doesn't have to be such a challenge after all.

When you consume alcohol, it enters your bloodstream and is distributed throughout your entire body, causing systemic inflammation. This type of inflammation can have adverse effects on both your physical and mental health, over the short and long term.

Alcohol has been linked to negative impacts on digestion, circulation and the brain. Your digestive system may suffer from stomach aches and ulcers due to inflammation of the digestive tract caused by heavy drinking. Alcohol increases clotting, potentially leading to cardiovascular issues such as heart attack or stroke.

Drinking heavily can also lead to changes in brain chemistry, affecting you negatively both mentally and emotionally. It's important to understand that alcohol affects more than just your liver; its impacts reach across systems of the body leading to a number of real-world complications.

How to announce your Dry January participation

It's understandable that if you announce to your friends, family and colleagues that you're abstaining from drinking alcohol, they'll have questions. People can be inquisitive when it comes to lifestyle choices, especially if it appears to deviate from norms.

It’s important to know how to set healthy boundaries around this sort of interaction so that your mental health isn't compromised. If someone begins to push for an answer beyond what feels comfortable for you, asserting your limits helps protect your well-being and allows you to engage in the conversation on a more level-headed basis.

Participating in Dry January can be an eye-opening experience in which you find out that you can still have fun without relying on a drink as a crutch. Taking a break from drinking gives you the opportunity to really appreciate being alcohol-free and rethink how it affects your life.

Having a clean slate for the first 31 days of the year can help you find ways of managing anxiety, entering social settings, and spending free time that don’t involve alcohol. It might give you insight into healthier habits for achieving the same kind of relaxation or merriment without compromising your sobriety.

Dry January & anxiety

Going alcohol-free can be incredibly beneficial to your overall health. Not only can it impact your physical health by lowering your blood pressure and heart rate and improving blood sugar regulation, but it can also do wonders for your relationships and mental well-being. You may experience better sleep, less anxiety and less depression - all from not drinking for just one month!

It's completely normal to feel uneasy and overwhelmed when you stop using alcohol as a way to handle your emotions. It can be difficult to let go of this reliance, but it is important for overall well-being. Allowing yourself the opportunity to recognize and process what you're feeling is a positive step toward increasing happiness in your life. When we avoid or numb our painful feelings, our emotions become charged more quickly – intensifying any negative emotions, prolonging the time it takes to return to a happy headspace. If we accept and understand our feelings with compassion and patience, they will eventually pass of their own accord, setting us free from emotional bondage.

Develop positive habits and routines

When you first decide to quit drinking, it’s natural to have moments where you experience intrusive thoughts about your old indulgence. Although these may be hard to overcome at first, it’s important to remember the effects that this decision has had on your well-being. Aside from improving both physical and mental health, an additional benefit of giving up alcohol is the ability to develop positive habits and routines in its place.

Consistent exercise and healthy eating can naturally start becoming part of your lifestyle as the allure of alcohol weakens. The result is a general improvement in your physical fitness and overall well-being that far outweighs any pleasure drinking might once have provided.

Enjoy your free time

One thing that may surprise you is discovering all the free time you never knew you had when the burdens of alcohol are off your shoulders. This newfound freedom is the perfect occasion to explore some new hobbies. Consider diving into something like cooking or baking from scratch. You can also revisit the pandemic hobbies you stopped having time for.  

No matter what hobby catches your attention, make sure it keeps you entertained while helping foster positive energy on your non-drinking days.

Quitting drinking is one of the hardest things to do on your own. There's a good reason why traditional methods of quitting have failed so many - because they neglect what truly motivates us to change our ways: understanding how it affects us and how we can be happier afterward. Reframe, the alcohol habit-change app, puts an innovative spin on how to quit drinking, utilizing neuroscience, evidence-based behavior change strategies, helpful tools, and supportive people.

Studies show how effective this platform can be - Reframe users have reported consuming significantly lower amounts of alcohol than those who are using other popular apps, leading to a healthier before-and-after picture. Reframe has been tried, tested, and praised by tens of thousands across the globe - here's your chance to unlock the healthiest and happiest version of yourself in a compassionate way.