Giving up alcohol, or at least reducing its consumption, can have beneficial effects on the body and the mind. Here’s how to stay the course.

The early days of Dry January, the month in which some people choose to abstain completely from alcohol, were probably child’s play. You had just returned from the holiday season, where you may have drunk more than usual. A break was just what your body needed.

But now that it’s the first full week of January, and arguably the first week back to normal, you might find yourself at the intersection of wanting the challenge and wanting a drink. of wine.

Don’t lose sight of your goal. Spending the month of “dry January” without alcohol is a worthy goal. Experts agree that giving up alcohol temporarily can be beneficial. During the month, many people realize how much alcohol they drank and how they felt, even if they didn’t have a hangover.

The negative effects of chronic alcohol

While moderate alcohol consumption was once considered healthy, more recent research suggests that there may be no safe amount of alcohol. A 2018 study published in The Lancet analyzed the health data of participants in 195 countries over 26 years and found that alcohol was linked to an increased risk of road injuries, self-harm and health problems like the cancer. These researchers concluded that the safe level of alcohol consumption was zero drinks per week. Another study linked alcohol consumption to high blood pressure as well as an elevated risk of stroke, and another analysis found that higher consumption was also linked to an increased risk of stroke. heart disease, heart failure and fatal aortic aneurysm. To arrive at their findings, the authors reviewed 83 studies involving nearly 600,000 drinkers.

On the other hand, quitting alcohol can have many health benefits, including better sleep, possible weight loss, and improved energy levels. Research has shown that people who took the Dry January test reported greater increases in their sense of well-being: improvements in energy, health, sleep and finances, especially if they took it. have carried out. One false step is not a failure, just start again the next day. Passing the challenge also boosted self-confidence. One way to stick with it is to seek support through an organized group or challenge. The study found that email support predicted greater success.

Plus, the benefits don’t end on February 1. In one study, people who passed the “Dry January” challenge drank less alcohol over the following six months. And also: People didn’t rebound by drinking even more alcohol at the end of the month, so don’t worry about that.

Like anything, however, sustaining a month without alcohol can be difficult.

5 expert tips to hold on:

1. Tell everyone you won’t be drinking for the month.

Announcing your intentions to friends, family members, and even random people at an event puts an end to peer pressure to get you to drink and empowers you. You can also post your intentions on social media, where others can encourage you.

2. Replace the first alcoholic drink with a non-alcoholic drink

The first drink of the evening is usually the most difficult. It’s the one you want to pour when you’re cooking dinner after a long day or the one you want to order when you’re having dinner with friends. Give preference to a non-alcoholic first drink and you are preparing for an entire night of success. Once you’ve ordered or poured yourself a soft drink, the rest of the evening is really easy. And once you’ve done it a few times, the habit almost becomes second nature.

3. Make your soft drink special

Part of the fun of alcohol is the feeling that it’s special, it’s a break or a slowdown in an otherwise hectic day. Thus, pouring water into an ordinary glass and sitting down does not provide the same sensation. A useful trick is to pour seltzer water into a wine glass to have. It’s the same feeling as a sophisticated adult drink, but without the alcohol. Also try pouring it into a stemmed glass.

4. Anticipate a drink with a friend

While dinner involves food, it can be more difficult when you’re going to meet someone for a drink or happy hour (which you might still be asked to do this month, despite your resolution) . You could almost feel bad for not ordering anything. Go ahead and tell them you won’t be drinking this month. If you feel comfortable enough with your resolution, say it ahead of time that you’ll always be happy to meet up at a restaurant or bar. Or suggest another activity, such as coffee or tea.

5. Practice the power of no and don’t go

Sometimes you know that if you attend such and such an event, you’re probably going to give in and have a drink. If you find yourself in this situation, it is better to say no and stay at home. Instead, consider yourself saying yes to yourself, your health, a better night’s sleep, a slimmer waistline, and the dozens of other benefits of quitting alcohol. On February 1, you will be able to resume your usual social activities, but probably with a better view of your alcohol consumption and with your habits under control. You understand.

* criptom strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the opinion of a health professional.