Done Dry January? Top tips to help you cut down in February and beyond
If you’re doing Dry January – congratulations – you’re nearly there! But what now?
A healthy start to the New Year (and new decade) can lower blood pressure, reduce diabetes risk and cholesterol levels, and even cut levels of cancer-related proteins in the blood.
But with January nearly over, Balance is encouraging people to continue healthier habits rather than revert to a pattern of regular drinking likely to leave them feeling sluggish and piling on the pounds. Here are our tips:
1/ If you’re trying to cut down, you’re in good company
Around 1 in 10 people were set to try Dry January this year and most people who complete it say one of the best things is that it helps re-set their relationship with alcohol and they are still drinking less six months later.
2/ Remember why you did Dry January
The chances are that a break has left you feeling the benefits and possibly even finding you’re not missing a drink all that much? Think to yourself how you could feel throughout the year if you have more drink free days and drink less when you do drink?
3/ Think of the benefits all year round
After a month off alcohol, lots of people report some great benefits – feeling fitter, brighter, less anxious, happier mood, more alert, sleeping better, clearer skin, losing weight, saving money, a hangover-free month. You can look forward to the positive benefits to your mental and physical health and wellbeing.
4/ Stick to 14 units a week or less
Men and women are advised not to drink more than 14 units a week on a regular basis. Fourteen units is equivalent to 6 pints of average-strength beer or 10 small glasses of low-strength wine.
5/ Take more drink free days
A good way to cut down is to have several drink-free days each week. A simple and easy way to do this is to download Public Health England’s Drink Free Days app – visit http://www.reducemyrisk.tv/support/
6/ Treat yourself
Instead of alcohol as a reward, think of all the other nice things that make you feel good. Go for a walk, have a bath, treat yourself to a spa day, meet up with friends, enjoy a meal out, go to the cinema, start a new hobby, swim, gym – whatever it is, you can have many amazing experiences without alcohol. Alcohol costs the average North East household at least £800 each year and cutting down means more money for other things.
7/ Take part with someone else
Cutting down with a friend, partner, colleague or family member can help to spur you on. You’ll encourage each other, support each other through any wobbles, celebrate your achievements and enjoy distractions and treats together.
8/ Don’t worry if you have a set-back
No one is perfect! If you do miss a day or have a drink at a social occasion, don’t beat yourself up. You’re doing something positive and get started again as soon as you can. Remember the positive lifestyle changes you’re making and feel good about yourself. After all, Dry January is a great opportunity to reset your relationship with alcohol longer term and enjoy more days off alcohol after the month has ended.
9/ Know your triggers
If we know our triggers for drinking, it can help us plan around situations and come up with alternatives. Triggers come in many different forms – social occasions, stress-relief after a hard day, when your defences are down, as a reward. Be aware and have distractions at the ready.