Every January, we dust off our gym shoes, meal-prep for hours, and dispose of all the alcohol in the house (at least for the first thirty-one days of the new year). Dry January has become one of the most well-known resolutions to take effect for the first month of every year, first starting in 2013 in the UK. Since then, more than 130,000 individuals have participated in Dry January in 2021.
The Health Aspect of Dry January
For some, refraining from alcohol for a month may not seem like a big deal, but it’s a commitment to mental, physical, and emotional health. Giving up alcohol for a month may not be the easiest thing to do, but it does have its benefits. BMJ Open conducted a study on regular drinkers who abstained from alcohol for thirty days. The study showed that these drinkers’ energy, sleep, and weight loss improved and blood pressure and cholesterol levels decreased.
What is Damp January?
Thirty days of no alcohol is reasonably doable for some, but for others, it’s easier said than done. Rather than cutting off cold turkey, many are taking the (slightly less) deeper plunge into Damp January. Rather than giving up the full thirty-one days completely, individuals are only decreasing the number of alcoholic drinks that they consume. Some might wonder what the point of Damp January is, but the answer is different for everyone.
For those who only have one glass of wine or a cocktail on the weekends, doing Damp January may feel useless to them. On the other hand, for those who like to binge on alcohol, this could be a positive multi-step approach to lowering consumption levels without entirely giving them up. Giving up even one or two drinks each week is a step in the right direction.
But what happens after the 31 days? The downside to Dry January is that some participants may drink more than they did before.
Cutting off Cold Turkey
While completely cutting off alcohol might be safe for casual drinkers, it can be dangerous for those that binge drink. Similar to detoxing from drugs, a complete cutoff from alcohol is a shock to the system and can potentially cause mild withdrawal symptoms, such as headaches, nausea, anxiety, sweating, and insomnia. If symptoms worsen, it might be necessary to get help from a medical professional as withdrawals can be dangerous. Drinking habits vary from person to person, therefore those who drink alcohol more frequently should slowly wean themselves off of drinking if that's the decision they choose to make.
Implementing Healthy Habits
Dry (or Damp) January, while a fun challenge to do with friends and coworkers, is really about taking awareness of our health and wanting to make a positive change. It doesn't mean that we shouldn't enjoy a few drinks now and then, but we can implement healthier drinking habits, such as capping off after one drink or not keeping alcohol in the house. There is also a Try Dry app that tracks one's drinking and helps set personal goals based on the amount of alcohol that’s being cut back. It even shows the number of calories and money that we save just by giving up drinking.
It's okay to admit that we need that (over-poured) glass of wine after a long day of work or that girls' night out ended up being two or three cocktails instead of one. Instead of not allowing ourselves to have a drink, go enjoy every sip down to the last drop. Everything in life is about moderation and participating in Damp January might just be better for our health without the feeling of restriction and guilt if we have a slip-up. If Dry January is too much to handle, Damp January might just be the next best thing.
Author : Jennifer Dutton, Blog Writer, DrinkLyte Co. "Helping Grow CPG Brands Beyond Their Potential"