We explore the concept of Dry January, who started it and why it can help people understand the impact of alcohol.
You've probably heard of Dry January, taken part in the challenge or seen your local supermarket promote the campaign. January is usually the time of year, people decide to renew their habits of eating healthily and exercising more after the festive period. This year we've also had to contend with the effects of the global pandemic, and the toll it's taken on our lives. So now more than ever, looking after our health – both physical and mental has never been more important. We explore the philosophy and reasons behind Dry January and help you figure out how you can take part in your own way.
What is Dry January?
Dry January is a yearly campaign that encourages people to remove any alcohol for the entire month of January. The original campaign for Dry January was founded in 2013 by Alcohol Change UK. In the first year there were over 4,000 participants signing up to be a part of the movement and since then it has grown and grown with thousands of people taking part all around the world. Alcohol Change UK, have developed the campaign and created an app - Try Dry, to help guide people through the challenges over the month.
Are there rules to abide by? Does 0.5% ABV still count?
Generally, the idea is to not drink any alcohol of any kind for the 31 days of January. You can adapt this to your lifestyle and goals and feel a part of the movement regardless of some days you may lapse. You can also relieve some of that guilt by paying extra donations to balance these 'off-days'. There are no set rules in general, but with different countries definitions of no and low alcohol does 0.5% ABV count? Given that some foods have naturally occurring alcohol above this threshold, such as certain bread varieties can contain the equivalent of 1.28% ABV per 100g, a pretty strong case can be made that they should.
Should you give it a go?
There is no harm in reducing the amount of alcohol you consume. The idea is for you to become more aware of your overall consumption and question your reasons for doing so, it could be purely from a taste perspective, a habit which you've become used to or you use it as a way to help you relax. Whichever it may be, disconnecting and changing that bottle of beer or glass of wine for a non-alcoholic version or simply replacing with soft-drinks or water can only be beneficial for your body and mind.
Best alternatives to ease you into going Dry for January
We understand it may be difficult to go cold turkey and stop drinking alcohol completely. One of the reasons the Temperance Club was formed was to help people understand there are alternatives available to ease that transition. You will be surprised at what's available compared to years gone by, your favourite cocktail can easily be alcohol-free nowadays, your favourite beer might have a like-for-like 0% version or you could cut out you're need for an alcoholic style drink completely. Take a look at our reviews section, to give you some inspiration on what you could try when you need something to feel like you are drinking.