Editor’s note: This post was originally published on January 12, 2018.
For many of us, it’s been a booze-filled last few months (and sugar and carbs and all things not so nice), and we’re thinking our bodies need a break. When we asked around to see who was jumping on the Dry January wagon (aka, not drinking alcohol during the month of January), we were floored by just how many people had committed (many as part of programs like Whole30). “Surprisingly it doesn’t take long to get addicted to not drinking because the effects are so pleasant: You sleep better, you’re more relaxed, less anxious, and your mind is much clearer,” says publicist Sara Davis. For many, however, going dry can be hard—like really, really, really hard—which is why we’ve culled together the best tricks and tips from our friends doing Dry January.
Set a clear goal
Be realistic here! Are you going completely dry for the next month or the next six months? Will one drink with a meal be acceptable? “Whatever you decide, it’s important to have a clear objective that you can stick with,” says Dr. Kerem Bortecen of NYC Surgical Associates.
Think of all money you’ll be saving
It’s not unusual to get behind on bills after the holidays, and, as we all know, booze can quickly add to the red. “Remind yourself of how much money you’re saving by avoiding happy hours, skipping the club scene, and ordering water instead of overpriced wine with dinner,” recommends Dr. Bortecen.
Load up on healthy fats
Nourish skin from the inside out by incorporating healthy fats at every meal. “Not only do healthy fats keep you feeling satiated, they can help keep our bodies lubricated, internally and externally,” says Dr. Frank Lipman, author and founder of Be Well and the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center. “Some favorites are pasture-raised eggs, olive oil, avocados, grass fed meats, coconut products, nuts, and seeds.”
People often mistake thirst for hunger, especially when it’s cold. “Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean we should deprive our body of the water it needs to thrive,” says Dr. Lipman. “We recommended starting every day with a tall glass of water, and aiming to drink about half your body in ounces each day.” This will help boost your well-being, which in turn will help fuel motivation to keep going. Eating your water is also important. Boost hydration by incorporating water-rich veggies into your diet like cucumbers, celery, and leafy greens.
Reward yourself with self-care
Dr. Bortecen suggests taking some of the money you’re saving and spending it on a spa day. You should also consider rewarding yourself at the end. “Whether you plan on staying dry till February 1st or all year, make sure you have a reward waiting for you at the end (think finally splurging on that bag you’ve been eyeing or a weekend getaway). Tell your spouse and your friends about your goals and how you’ll reward yourself, so they’ll keep in you in check if you reach for a drink.”
Be vocal about it
Instead of limiting social engagements, be honest about what you’re doing. “I’m not hiding the fact that I’m not drinking—in fact, I’ve been posting on Instagram and several people have messaged me telling me they’re doing the same!” says Renee Beck, director of partnerships at Terra’s Kitchen. “When people message me about catching up, I suggest coffee instead of drinks, and everyone’s been really open to it.”
Get a group together for support
Lori Cheek, the founder of Cheekd, says she has found that recruiting her friends has been very helpful. “It’s a lot easier to do it with your friends on board. Convince some troops to join you for the month. I’ve created a Dry January NYC Facebook Group where we’re posting non-booze related social outing invites, motivational posts, and other fun things to do. We’ve got about 18 members in the mix, and everyone seems excited for the challenge.”
“Mocktails are delicious, and there are really cool young brands that have popped up that are bringing unbelievable flavor and complexity to non-alcoholic spirits,” says managing director and parter at PR agency JBC, Melissa Duren. “My personal favorite by Seedlip.” Just be mindful of the fact that sugar, calories, and sodium can add up just as quickly with mocktails as they can with regular cocktails.