Dry January has become a global trend. And we get why: After weeks of stress, parties, rich food, and (for many of us anyway) too much to drink, we all have an urge to hit some sort of reset button. There are health benefits to giving up alcohol too, even for social drinkers—no more empty calories from booze is a big one.
If you're on the Dry January bandwagon this year, then you already know it can be a challenge. But the real test starts now, as the weekend arrives, and with it office happy hours, a wine list at dinner, Sunday brunch, and other factors you don't typical encounter during the workweek. These expert tips will help you ride out the next four weekends and make your Dry January a success.
Stick to your usual social plans
Just because you're giving up drinking doesn't mean you have to stay home while your social circle is downing shots at a dance club or sampling the vino at a new bistro. In fact, not showing up might just give you a case of FOMO, which could cause you to lose your resolve later in the month.
Instead, “do the same things you would usually do with your friends and loved ones, but just do them without drinking," suggests Jenna Hollenstein, MS, RDN, author of Drinking to Distraction. You may even notice that after 10 o’clock, your friends get boring or stupid, and you'll likely be glad you're not the one who will waste three-quarters of the next day sleeping off a hangover or regretting a drunk dial.
Detox your social media feeds
Everyone has that one friend (or five) who constantly posts pics of herself at parties with a drink in her hand, looking like she's having a blast. Don’t torture yourself! Unfollow your harder-drinking buddies for the month, so you don’t start to feel deprived every time you go on Instagram.
Stock up on alcohol-free stand-ins
Sometimes it’s the rituals around drinking—the pop of a cork, the glug-glug sound of booze pouring into a glass—that we crave even more than the taste or effects of the alcohol itself, says Hollenstein. Think about what you like most about about your go-to drink and give yourself nonalcoholic options to indulge in instead. La Croix can stand in for hard cider, a bottled kombucha could fill in for your favorite yeasty beer, and some fancy juices now come in corked bottles.
Play around with mocktails
Most bartenders can make beautiful alcohol-free versions of any drink on their fancy menu. Don’t want to drop $10 on a nonalcoholic drink? Oder a Coke, but ask the bartender to tart it up with a lime wedge, vanilla syrup, or a sugared rim and umbrella. If you're hosting friends or otherwise staying in, whip up these yummy mocktails, and thank us later.
Count the money you're saving
If you find yourself feeling really down that you can’t imbibe, try this instant cheer-up idea: Pull out your phone, fire up the calculator, and multiply the average cost of a drink at your favorite watering hole by the number of drinks you’d normally buy in the month of January. Doesn’t that number look good?
Reward yourself with a small splurge
Passing on a good bottle of wine while everyone else is enjoying themselves isn't easy. So give yourself props for sticking to your goal by indulging in some self-care that will reinforce how good you feel—a leisurely run, a relaxing mani-pedi, or even the quiet luxury of sleeping in and catching up on rest.
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Think about how much better you feel
As you hear the clicking of glasses and see so many people drinking and enjoying themselves, fight the temptation to give in by contemplating what giving up booze has done for you so far. Are you more energized? Less bloated than usual? How’s your skin looking? If you're not sure you're seeing any health benefits yet, think about the resolve it took to make the commitment to give up alcohol for an entire month—and know you have the strength to see it through.