4.2 million people in the UK pledged to take part in Dry January this year – that’s around 1 in 10 people who usually drink who decided to give booze the cold shoulder for a bit.
And now it’s over. Did you do it? Was it your first time? Why did you do it? Do you feel different? Will you keep going? Has it changed how you think about alcohol?
These are just a few of the many questions that you will have been asked this month, or will get asked in the coming weeks – and there are definitely a few in there that you can ask yourself.
The most common reasons for taking part are fundraising, a post-Christmas cleanse or a resolution to “be healthier this year.” Others have faced a realisation that they consume a bit too much booze, so taking a month off will hit the reset button and allow some careful reflection of the situation.
Overall, there has been a huge shift in attitude towards alcohol, as more and more people start to take stock of their intake, their health, and their wellbeing – and with rapidly increasing alternative options becoming readily available on the drinks market, it’s becoming easier for people to cut down or quit. It’s way more cool to be a non drinker or moderate drinker, and it’s no longer unusual to hear someone say “na, not tonight” when offered a boozy beverage.
10,000 people came through the doors of our Mindful Drinking Festival in London across the 12th and 13th January this month – the biggest number we’ve seen at any of our 5 festivals so far. We’ve no doubt that the month in which it took place played a part in the increased numbers, but we also know that a huge portion of those people weren’t just taking the month off, or at least didn’t intend to just stop there.
So how do people do it? Can a month off really reset your thinking? Is it possible to become a successfully moderate drinker after taking a short time stint from it?
Our motivational stage at the Mindful Drinking Festival hosted a bunch of informative talks, workshops, panels and seminars – including “How to smash Dry January” featuring an incredible line-up of experts including Dr Richard Piper from Alcohol Change, Kindness Method author Shahroo Izadi, Soberistas founder Lucy Rocca and One Year No Beer’s Andy Ramage who shared their extensive knowledge with our panel host Janey Lee Grace. Luckily we video’d the whole thing, so we can share their insight and inspiration with those of you who couldn’t attend live.
So what are the key benefits of cutting down, taking a break, or quitting alcohol? You might notice some small changes in your first month – the most common being improved sleep, less bloating and a general sense of enhanced wellbeing. How can you make long term improvements to your confidence and patterns of behaviour with booze? And what other positive changes are in store for you if you continue on a mindful drinking path beyond one month? Get answers to all of these questions in part 2 of our panel:
If you’ve successfully completed your first-month booze-free then you might be wondering what now. Will people think you’re boring if you stop drinking? Could you successfully cut down without slipping up? Will other people affect your journey? Our lovely panel closes here with some top tips for 31st January, a load of brilliant advice on how to handle your peers and what people really think about those who are changing their drinking.
Whatever you choose to do next, do what feels right for you – if you’re reading this then you’re already on your way to making positive adjustments to your lifestyle. YOU GOT THIS!