January is ideal for starting fresh with new wellness routines and lifestyle improvements. But as time passes, some people might find it challenging to maintain those habits throughout the year.
Alcohol consumption is one of the many habits that people struggle to break after participating in Dry January, a public health initiative to get people to put down the bottle for at least 31 days out of the year.
According to Megan Klein, CEO and Founder of Little Saints, Dry January began in the UK in 2014 and has been gaining popularity in the U.S. ever since. “It coincides with a general trend of people doing a health and wellness ‘reboot’ in January to start the year fresh and cleanse out all of the ‘bad’ food and drink they consumed during the holidays,” she shared.
For some, the commitment to be alcohol-free isn’t just for January. Others use it as a way to kickstart a lifestyle change. If you ask us, there’s nothing to lose from removing alcoholic beverages from your daily lifestyle.
Ahead, we spoke to several experts about how to practice Dry January (or Sober October) all year long, and we were impressed by the long list of benefits they shared.
Meet the experts:
- Megan Klein, CEO and Founder of Little Saints
- Allison Ullo, CEO and Founder of Leaves of Leisure
- Hilary Sheinbaum, Author of The Dry Challenge
The benefits of Dry January
Dry January offers a range of potential benefits to those participating in the challenge, including better sleep, improved digestion, improved liver function, healthier skin, better gut health, weight loss, and increased energy.
Klein committed to Dry January last year and quickly noticed the benefits. With the advantages outweighing the buzz, she decided to go alcohol-free again for Sober October. At the time of our interview, Klein revealed that she’s five months sober and loves every minute of it.
“I’ve never felt better! Along with the traditional benefits, I’ve experienced better sex because there’s more feeling in my body than ever before,” she said. “Despite a lot of traveling, I haven’t gotten sick once. I’ve also enjoyed more engaging conversations.”
Turning Dry January into a lifestyle
Removing alcohol can be challenging because it’s connected to almost every social situation you can imagine. “Alcohol is deeply embedded in our culture,” Sheinbaum said. “Between dating, networking, celebrations, and grief, we’ve invited alcohol into all parts of our lives.”
Ullo added that quitting alcohol means redefining these important moments in your life, which include dinners, brunches, parties, girls’ nights out, and relaxing after a hard day at work. “You must find a new way to experience all of those things, and that means creating new habits and a new mindset,” she noted.
While altering or creating new habits may be one of the hardest things to do, it’s not impossible. According to our experts, eliminating alcohol from your diet can help you reach your goals of feeling happier, getting more rest, or improving your social interactions.
Below, we’ve compiled a list of our experts’ advice for turning Dry January into a lifestyle.
- Move your body. To get out of your head, take three minutes to move your body. It helps you become more conscious of your body and how it feels without alcohol.
- Keep a journal. Remembering how much better you feel without alcohol will help you reflect on your journey. Journaling is a great way to keep yourself motivated.
- Go at your own pace. Choosing how you reduce your consumption is essential for maintaining this habit.
- Surround yourself with like-minded people. Making non-drinking social plans with like-minded people feels good and ensures you don’t succumb to unwanted pressure.
- Replace patterns that don’t align with your goals. If you’re used to reaching for a glass of wine after work, try a non-alcoholic alternative. Also, consider substituting the habit with a warm milk bath or a 20-minute stretch session.
Alcohol alternatives to add to your bar cart
“When you have the urge to have an alcoholic drink, you want an alternative handy that doesn’t make you feel like you’re missing out on anything,” Klein advised, reminding us that the lifestyle change requires removing all alcohol from your bar cart.
Consider stocking up on these non-alcoholic beverage options for your next party or get-together:
|Organic social tonics with adaptogens, nootropics, and botanicals to relieve stress and enhance the mood with healthy, functional ingredients.
|Blackberry Lemon Seltzer is the right balance of delicious and nutritious with refreshing zesty lemon notes. While the “float” from Hiyo is subtle, it’s a great alternative when you need that midday pick-me-up.
|Mocktails is infused with an uplifting combination of Reishi, CBD, and botanical terpenes. Each drink is made without sugar and blessed by a shaman who practices sacred plant medicine.
|Negroni Spritz is a fantastic alcohol substitute because it combines the flavors of bitters, orange rind, and juniper with a hint of bubbles.
|The Spare Food Co.
|A refreshing, modern take on an elixir that will replenish you while simultaneously reducing waste — good for you and the environment.
|The Peach & Turmeric Spare Tonic tastes like summer with just the right amount of sweetness and a hint of tartness. The tonic is made of whey and supports your gut, provides daily vitamins, and hydrates with electrolytes.
|Co-founded by Katy Perry, De Soi uses natural adaptogens like reishi mushrooms and ashwagandha to help you relax and unwind.
|The Purple Lune Bottle has rich flavors of tart cherry, rose, and date with a slight bitterness. Pair it with a charcuterie board with cherry jam, goat cheese, and chocolate.
|Sparkling beverages made with sustainably grown hemp from the Pacific Northwest. The proprietary blend of whole plant extracts delivers an experience that uplifts while knocking the edge off.
|The Blackcurrant Spruce offers delightful notes of tart berries with earthy spruce and aromatic orange peel.
|A unique blend of de-alcoholized organic sparkling wines from France.
|Le Blanc offers an aromatic journey with pear aromas, Granny Smith apple, spicy citrus, and white flower notes.
|Alcohol-removed wine crafted using traditional methods for an alternative to blasé sodas and flavored water.
|The Cabernet Sauvignon boasts dark cherry aromas while framed by a rich palate of berries and spice. Pair it with a succulent steak topped with blue cheese.
|Non-alcoholic spirit harvests the benefits of 20 mg of broad-spectrum hemp to calm and uplift without the negative effects
|Aplós Calme is a complex blend of citrus and herbal botanicals to create a spirit that mellows the mood.
|Sparkling energy drink that doesn’t use added sugar to give you the boost you need. Instead, the brand utilizes the benefits of green tea, biotin, B vitamins, L-theanine, and more.
|The Peachy Keen flavor contains 150 mg of caffeine and perfectly balances a peach flavor and fizz.
|Alcohol-removed wine created for wine lovers wishing to eliminate the spirits but savor the experience.
|The Sparkling Rosé is a garden party in a glass with soothing notes of sweet gardenia and strawberry blossom that dissolve effortlessly into a perfect pink pour.
You won’t regret staying dry
According to Sheinbaum, whether you’re faced with alcohol-use disorder (AUD) or interested in a sober lifestyle, it’s all about taking control of your health. The only way to ensure that removing alcohol from your diet becomes a way of life is by not avoiding your social life. Instead, Ullo offered the following advice: “Live your life as normal and make the active choice to choose a non-alcoholic beverage. It’s the best way to build the habit within your lifestyle.”