Dry January started exactly a week ago. However, I was on my holidays so I've hopped on the bandwagon a little late. I started on the 6th, but I’m going to do it until the 6th of February so my effort still counts despite what you may think. Honestly, I’ve tried before and failed miserably. I love going out and socializing over drinks just as much as I love a glass of wine to unwind in the evenings. January is grim enough as is, so I genuinely find the entire month without alcohol to be a bit of a task. However, this year I have a reason to stick to it. I actually want to see how it will positively affect my health. That is, my skin, sugar and energy levels. So, here are some things I’m going to implement this year to make sure I actually stick to it.
1. Write Down My Reasons Why
The one thing that always broke me when I’ve tried Dry January before was peer pressure. I’m not one to succumb to peer pressure, but the reality was that I didn’t really want to stick to it anyways. This year is different. I feel like I may have taken the holiday season a bit too far and I’m the vision of un-health. My skin is horrific, my insulin requirements have increased and I’m basically just in a big lazy slump. This year I’m cutting it out to improve my sugar levels, stick to my new skincare regime, increase my energy levels and get back into exercising. I’ve made a mental note of all these valid reasons to remind myself three weeks from now when I’m being backed into a corner with vodka sodas.
2- Highlights Hot Chocolate and Splenda
Do people actually like peppermint tea or are they just pretending? I’ll never pretend to like peppermint tea nor will it ever replace a glass of wine. So, I've had to do some thorough searching to find a satisfying replacement to sip on during my nights in. What I’ve found is Cadbury’s Highlights (click here). This is significantly lower in sugar and calories than normal hot chocolate. One serving is only 4.1g of carbs so often I find it requires no insulin whatsoever. I mix a teaspoon with hot water and add a teaspoon of Splenda. I can confirm it's far more enjoyable than peppermint tea.
3- Exercise Goals
Last year I would excuse myself from a night out with my friends because I would ‘exercise in the morning’. In the morning I’d wake up and think that because I didn’t go out last night, I’ll treat myself to not exercising today. I understand that this is a whole new level of lazy and a thought-process that most people wouldn’t have. Just in case, I must say this was extremely counter productive. I broke the seal once I realised my chances of exercising are strangely higher if I do go out and drink. This year I have actual exercise goals. I’m beginning to start boxing classes on Thursday evenings and train for my first 10K. These goals will help because instead of saying that I’m going to ‘exercise’, I actually want to perform well while I’m training.
4- Hobby Goals
A month is a long time and there’s going to be one Friday night when even Netflix seems like a chore. I’m not saying you should take up knitting but it’s nice to change it up a little bit. I have three songs I want to learn on the piano and a list of posts to write for my blog. If these get done, there’s always that scrapbook I never finished or the Depop I should set up for all my unused clothes. None of these activities are exactly riveting, but they pass the time well. I'd recommend making a list of the things you've thought about doing but have never gotten round to. Begin tackling this list on those long nights in.
5- Sober Socialising
When meeting up with friends, I would suggest a brunch or lunch over a dinner. Brunch and lunch come with coffee, whereas dinner often comes with wine. If you want to venture outside of your house in the evening time there’s actually still plenty to do. There’s always the cinema, bowling, a play or a comedy gig. If you’re in Dublin, I would recommend the Rainforest Adventure Golf in the Dundrum Centre. It’s open until 10pm, indoor and who doesn’t love a bit of mini golf? Lastly, a stroll around the city with a hot drink (not peppermint tea) is always a nice idea too.
Those are my 5 hacks for sticking to Dry January this year. Throughout the month I'm going to be tracking my skin, sugar levels and energy to see just how much it really helps. If you have any more tips for getting through the most boring month of the year, please let me know! Every little helps. Hope you enjoyed.