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Dry January: How to get through a month without alcohol

A beer at a social gathering or wine with dinner - for many people, alcohol is part of everyday life, a routine. Dry January is designed to help break these habits. But how do you keep going when the water tastes bland and the craving for a drink is strong?

In Dry January, people try to give up alcohol for a
In Dry January, people try to give up alcohol for a

Seven tips - Dry January: How to get through a month without alcohol

Good resolutions at the start of the new year are popular - four out of ten Germans made a resolution last year, according to a survey commissioned by the health insurance company DAK. The representative survey was conducted by Forsa. A total of 1006 people in Germany were surveyed in mid-November. Most Germans want to spend more time with their family and friends (65%). However, the desire to drink less alcohol is also on the list of resolutions for around one in five people. For more and more people, "Dry January" - a four-week period without alcohol - marks the start of a life with less alcohol.

The idea of starting the new year sober originated in the UK - hence the name "Dry January". The challenge at the beginning of the year was initiated a few years ago by the British non-profit organization"Alcohol Change UK". More and more countries are now following suit - in Germany, the first official Dry January campaign took place in 2023, organized by the Blue Cross.

The temptation to have an after-work beer or a round of cocktails can be great, especially in company. But if you take a few tips to heart, you still have a good chance of not giving up halfway through.

Seven tips for Dry January

  1. Write down your resolution/speak it out loudIt sounds banal, but if we write down that we want to take part in Dry January or even tell friends, it makes the whole thing seem much more real. And it's not so easy to chicken out once you've announced your plans to the world.
  2. Find a dry January buddySometimes it's not so easy to pull off a new project on your own. It feels like you're the only person in the world who had the crazy idea of starting the year with such a challenge. If you find a friend and give up alcohol together at the start of the year, it's easier for two reasons: firstly, there's a fellow sufferer who you can tell why you'd like to have a beer now, and secondly, the social obligation makes it harder to simply throw in the towel.
  3. Make a game out of itIf you turn the alcohol-free month into a kind of competition, you might have more fun. The British organization Alcohol Change UK offers a free app for iOS and Android that can accompany the month without alcohol. However, those starting the year without alcohol first have to register with their email address, name and country. They can then set personal goals, take a quiz on their alcohol consumption and enter the amount of money they have already saved by giving up alcohol.
  4. Have a delicious drinkIf the craving for an Aperol Spritz or a good cocktail becomes too great, alcohol-free alternatives offer a real alternative. The range of non-alcoholic gin, wine, Aperol etc. is now quite large. More and more bars are also offering decent non-alcoholic mocktails - and no one is forced to choke down an indefinable sweet concoction.
  5. Realize the positive effects of giving up alcoholA study published in the British Medical Journal in 2018 looked at the positive effect of giving up alcohol for a month with 94 participants and a control group of 47 people. Even this short break lowers blood pressure, reduces the risk of diabetes and lowers cholesterol levels. However, it should be borne in mind that the research was only carried out with a small number of participants and the effect was investigated in healthy people who consumed more than the recommended amount of alcohol. In addition, in a study conducted in 2018, 800 Dry January participants reported better skin, weight loss, more energy, better concentration and better sleep.
  6. Instead of drinking alcohol, take up a hobbySometimes it also helps to simply distract yourself. So if you feel the urge for a beer in your favorite pub, you could try a new hobby instead. Have you always wanted to play the guitar? Take a dance class? Join a basketball club? Then now is exactly the right time to start!
  7. Remember that giving up is also good for the long termThose who give up alcohol for four weeks in January also appear to have healthier drinking habits afterwards. At least that's the conclusion of a study by the University of Sussex. The more than 4,000 Dry January participants also reported an increased sense of well-being.What's more, it takes between 21 and 60 days for a new behavior to become a habit. If we assume the ideal case, a new habit can be established by giving up alcohol for a short time - drinking no or less alcohol.

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