Christmas and New Year is a time of excess. Most of us eat and drink too much. Even if we don’t over-indulge, we drink and eat more than we normally would. This time of year, jokes abound that the masses of food and drink purchased for Christmas is usually all gone by Christmas Eve. Does this describe your household? Are you worried about how much you’ve had to drink this Christmas season? If so, perhaps you can benefit from Dryanuary?
What is Dryanuary?
Realising that over-indulging too often is not good for our health, an increasing number of people are taking part in a “Dryathlon” for “Dryanuary”. Simply, it is the act of giving up alcohol for the month of January. Many participants seek sponsorship for a charity of their choice. Some may choose alcohol abuse or mental health charities, but there are no rules for doing so. You can choose any charity you like.
It began as recently as 2013, although many alcohol charities have promoted the importance of abstaining from alcohol for a month after Christmas. The hashtag and the campaign is the brainchild of UK charity Alcohol Concern who asked people to go dry to raise money for alcohol awareness.
The Benefits of Having a Dry January
There are well-documented health benefits to giving up alcohol, and we all know the importance of fundraisers. However, Dryanuary is more than about health or charity. Proponents say there are other benefits too, some of which we list here.
It teaches self-discipline: Although the reason for it is practical and secular, and not religious, any period of fasting or abstention can teach self-discipline, self-determination and willpower. Christian communities used to fast during Advent just as they do with Lent, but not today. This is a way of counteracting the indulgence after the event.
Kick starts weight loss: It is amazing what impact alcohol can have on our weight. While eating too much will make the waistline grow, too few of us are aware of the effect of alcohol. Each pint of beer and glass of wine has several hundred calories.
Saves money: If you only drink the alcohol you purchased before Christmas, there won’t be any money to save. However, refusing to put more alcohol in your shopping trolley for a whole month can save a lot of money, depending on how much you spend in an average week. Multiply this figure by four and you have a month’s savings.
You will sleep better: Many of the beneficial factors depend on how much alcohol you drink, naturally. If you’re a light drinker anyway, your benefits will be less noticeable. Dryanuary is more beneficial for those who drink more than a moderate amount of alcohol.
It makes you reconsider: Nothing makes you reflect on what you eat or drink than making a deliberate attempt to cut back. Just as smokers who give up realise how much money they are saving and how much healthier they feel, so do those who temporarily give up alcohol. Although they may resume in February, it will often be with a greater understanding of how much they were drinking before.
How To Get Involved in Dryanuary?
Dryanuary is a simple movement with which to get involved. You may register through the Alcohol Concern website. You will find many inspirational stories and statistics from past contributors. If you have a smartphone, they strongly recommend you download their app to register your progress to keep you up to date with information. As serious as the message is for Dryanuary, they want to make it as fun and as light-hearted as possible. If you do drink or simply want to reduce your alcohol intake, they can help you do that. With tens of thousands of details on drinks, they will keep an accurate record of your calorie intake.