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Katie Gardiner, Payroll Administrator at Newcastle-based chartered accountants Tait Walker, is doing Dry January for the third year in row and has inspired more colleagues to take part this year.

Katie, 29, from East Denton, said: “This is the third year I am doing Dry January as it’s a great way to kick-start the New Year and to reassess your relationship with alcohol. I have totally changed my perception of alcohol and cut back on the amount I drink since taking part.

“Back in 2017 my husband persuaded me to do Dry January. We had a lot going on in our personal lives and noticed that we had been self-medicating with alcohol in the run-up to Christmas by having a couple of glasses of wine every night. When it came to the festive period we weren’t really bothered about drinking much and realised that we needed to break the negative cycle in the New Year. So, we decided to do Dry January together for moral support and were both surprised by how much better we felt.

“The benefits of not drinking for a month were amazing – I slept better, had more energy, my skin improved and I lost weight. Overall I felt great and I decided to do it again. Last year I teamed up with my work colleague Leanne as we are both on the Better Health at Work committee and we managed to sign up a total of 17 people to do Dry January. Unfortunately, not everyone lasted the whole month but it did make them more aware of how much they were drinking.

“As part of us working towards our Better Health at Work Silver Award we have been doing a lot of work around health and well-being, including raising awareness of the harms of alcohol and what to do if you are worried someone might be drinking too much. So we have encouraged twenty people to take part in Dry January this year, which is fantastic. It is also really interesting to see that we have an older demographic this year, so I’m hoping that they will all remain booze-free until the 31st January.

“For me doing Dry January is not just about giving up alcohol for the month and then going back to excessive drinking the rest of the year. It’s about changing the way you think and not drinking as much. Now that I have I’ve discovered how much alcohol can impact on your everyday health and wellbeing I’ve cut right back. I really enjoy drinking non-alcoholic alternatives, such as alcohol-free beer and mocktails.

“This year I am using Dry January to kick start a healthier lifestyle. I have been cycling to work for a while, so I now want to do other types of exercise. By not going out as much I have more time to do healthier things and I’m loving being hangover free. I’m also eating better so I’m hoping to get into shape for my 30th birthday.

“I would definitely recommend taking a break from drinking and everyone should give it a go, even if it is just taking days off alcohol every week.”

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