For words you might want to know more
Journalling is the practice of keeping a diary, notebook or journal to express and externalise your thoughts.
Now somewhat a yearly tradition for many, Dry January is when you don't intake any alcoholic drinks for the entire month with the view to 'giving your body a break' after the Christmas excess.
Dry January is a great to time to reset and allow your body to take a break from alcohol but navigating social occasions or stressful days can challenge your resolve! Here's our top tips to help you navigate Dry January successfully.
If, like us, you are feeling stuffed and full to the brim of wine and delicious foods after Christmas, Dry January might look as appealing as a spring in the desert!
We know the benefit of great nutrition, and that low or no alcohol is the best for optimum bladder health; but celebrating is great for the soul! For many of us that includes alcohol and in moderation, that's fine.
However, taking a break can do the world of good for your body so here's some tips from our community to keep you motivated during Dry January!
If you are doing it just because your friend or partner is taking part, you might find it tricky to maintain full sobriety throughout the month.
"The trick for me was to think about why I wanted to take a break from alcohol, and what benefits I would find. I joined a couple of Facebook groups for Dry Jan that really helped keep me on track, and I journalled throughout the month to reflect on how much better I was feeling. Also, I REALLY hate a hangover!" shared Karen.
Now that Dry January is a real 'thing' in popular culture, there isn't perhaps the taboo that comes with sobriety normally. We all have known the awkward conversation at some point when you feel the need to have a good excuse not to drink; in January, there's plenty of solidarity.
Claire explained how it worked for her: "When I started Dry January, I thought it would help to stay committed by sharing it with my friends online. What I didn't expect was the ENTIRE thread was full of friends doing the same - and we motivated and supported each other throughout the month! I'm not sure I would have felt as confident in other times of the year, but the solidarity and friendship was so refreshing!"
Putting in a little effort to think of alcohol-free alternatives can really help you stay on track. Many of us find a diet coke in a social setting a little woeful, and - well, gassy. But planning your night out by checking out the menu for alcohol-free options, or taking your own drink to a dinner party means you won't be tempted and swayed to hit the vino.
"I looked up mocktail recipes for a friend's birthday celebrations," shared Chris. "I swear I didn't realise until the end of the night that I felt any different! I had such a lovely time enjoying really great, 'adult' drinks and wasn't tempted to indulge which was fantastic!"
It can be easy to focus on the negatives and get a sense of FOMO, especially if others don't join in with Dry Jan, and being a little mindful about the activity and your desire not to drink can help. Meditation, diarising your feelings, taking moment to pause can all help centre your intention.
Alyssa kept a journal during Dry January last year, and found it really helpful: "I kept a mindful journal throughout Dry January and it not only helped with the month, but also to help me moderate during the rest of the year. As I recorded my thoughts and feelings every day, I noticed the difference mentally as well as physically. I felt more positive, had greater clarity, felt less irritable - and I won't lie, noticing that my clothes were feeling a little more comfortable because the bloating gradually went away was a nice bonus!"
If you have a slip up and decide to drink, then try not to beat yourself up. Whether you find yourself saying 'Oh go on then!" to a friend at dinner, or want a glass of wine to wind down after a stressful day it's not worth putting yourself through the guilts.
"I went out for dinner with friends in mid-Jan and before I knew it, I agreed to share a bottle of wine with my best mate, like we normally do", Tanya explains. "In the moment it felt like nothing; but the next morning I felt so stupid for giving in after doing so well for the previous couple of weeks! Instead of kicking myself though I reflected on why I had felt compelled to say 'yes' in the moment, and used that as motivation to carry on for the rest of the month successfully."