22nd Dec 2021 The ultimate guide to surviving dry January Every year, millions of people participate in dry month, sometimes as a personal resolution to encourage healthy habits or to prove to the world that they can give up the booze. Whatever the reason, participating in dry January can promote longer-term lifestyle changes that are remarkably good for your health and wellbeing. In the short term, however, it can be a challenge to get through the month if your usual routine includes unwinding with alcohol. That’s why we’ve put together the ultimate guide to surviving dry month. Read on for tips and tricks and to find out about the major health benefits you might see at the end of the month. What is dry month? ‘Dry month’ is a time where you voluntarily stop drinking alcohol for an entire month - usually as part of a dry month challenge, for charity campaigns, or as a personal resolution to lay off the giggle juice for a while. Dry month can be sensationally good for your health, with many short and long-term health benefits gained by participating. Should I participate? If you’re wondering if you should face the world without booze, there are many compelling health reasons to give it a go. Plus, it’s a great way to ‘sample sobriety’ without feeling overwhelmed by the thought of skipping alcohol forever. Participating in dry month or a dry month challenge is a self-diagnosis sort of thing - perhaps you feel like you’re drinking a little too much lately or have started developing an unhealthy routine - but you should speak with your health professional if you’re highly dependant on alcohol. Tips to prepare and survive dry January Avoid triggers, break up your routine, and plan for temptations Sometimes, being around alcohol or certain environments is just too tempting. If you struggle to say no to a glass of wine, a pint of beer, or an alcoholic spirit, it might be best to take a break from activities like happy hour or dinners that’ll likely involve alcohol. Instead, make non-drinking plans with friends and family: catch a movie, visit the park, or take up a new class. If that’s not an option, substitute your favourite drink with a low or no-alcohol alternative. At Lyre’s, our exquisite range of non-alcoholic spirits look, taste, and sashay around the palate just like the original! Drinking alcohol is often set off by environmental triggers, routines and habits, so shaking up your routine - even if it’s just a small change to take your mind off the urge to drink - makes it easier to avoid temptations. Once you break the habit, it’ll be easier to skip the glass! Make goals (and tell your friends and family about them) Setting realistic expectations and goals is a no-brainer, but it’s often easier said than done. Try writing them down in a journal or using post-it notes to remind yourself of your intentions. If you’re facing a challenging moment, a journal with all your goals can be a wonderful reminder of how you felt a few days or weeks ago, how your health has changed since ditching the alcohol, and what you really want when you have no urge to drink. Document everything; your skin, mood, energy, and sleep, and tick off each goal you achieve. Make your goals known to friend and family for an invaluable support system that’ll help keep you on track. Cultivate a new way to cope If you’re drawn to alcohol as a way to de-stress at the end of a frazzle-filled day, finding an alternative way to relax will help you get through dry month and cultivate new ways to cope. Distract your mind and delay the urge by moving to another room, reading a book or magazine, drinking a non-alcoholic substitute, or doing some breathing exercises or a light workout. Delaying your routine coping strategy will often give you long enough to realise you don’t need the alcohol to be okay. Avoid ‘all or nothing’ thinking So, you decide to take up a dry January challenge, but you have a drink two weeks into the month. Do you give up? Nope! It’s not the end of the world. Giving up alcohol can be overwhelming, so simply giving dry month a go - whether or not you end up with a 100% dry month or an 80% dry month - is an excellent step towards lowering your alcohol intake and reaping the benefits of a low or no-alcohol lifestyle. After all, cutting back is better than nothing at all! The important thing to remember is to bounce back and recommit to your intentions if you do have an alcoholic beverage. Find a substitute If you’re finding dry January particularly challenging, finding a substitute can help you get through the month a little easier. You might even find you prefer your replacement! Our remarkable range of non-alcoholic spirits are impossibly crafted to perfection, while our recipes (for dry January success) provide easy non-alcoholic drinks for all occasions. Main health benefits Your general health and immune system could improve Drinking alcohol often leads to several negative health effects - such as high cholesterol, a weakened immune system, and high blood pressure - and increases your risk for certain diseases, including cancer, heart disease, stroke, and liver problems. Participating in dry month can lead to significant improvement in your overall health and wellbeing (both physically and mentally) and drastically strengthens your immune system while you’re not consuming any alcohol. You’ll sleep more soundly and feel more energised If you find you’re frequently staying up all night to drink, or after drinking, you fall asleep fairly quickly but wake up at 3 a.m. and can’t get back to sleep, you’re not alone. Making sure you have a lousy sleep is something alcohol does best. A benefit of dry month is that your sleep and energy levels could dramatically improve, increasing motivation, productivity and brain health. You may be in a better mood It’s a common misconception that a glass of “giggle juice” perks you up and makes the sun shine brighter on a gloomy day. Unfortunately, drinking alcohol to relax at the end of a tough day often turns into an unhealthy coping strategy that heightens symptoms of depression and anxiety. While dry month alone won’t remedy an illness like depression, you may find that participating in dry month improves your overall mood, stabilises your emotions, and gives you a chance to assess your motivation for drinking. Your waistline may shrink ‘Alcohol and calories’ are BFF’s in the same way that ‘macaroni and cheese’ is. When you’re drinking alcohol regularly, you’re adding calories that have no nutritional benefit and don’t make you feel full. Over time, this can lead to substantial weight gain that often affects both mental and physical wellbeing. With that said, a considerable benefit of dry month is weight loss; you’ll only be cutting liquid calories, and you’re less likely to make impulsive food choices due to impaired judgement. Want to know an amazingly remarkable secret that’ll top off your happy dance? Our exquisite range of lovingly crafted non-alcoholic spirits lets you enjoy your favourite drink with fewer calories. Your skin might look brighter Alcohol is fairly well-known for impacting your ability to stay well-hydrated, and a lack of hydration usually leads to dry, dull skin. Alcohol also tends to increase hormones, spike your blood sugar, and speed up the ageing process, so for your skin, drinking alcohol is a recipe for disaster. When you eliminate the booze for dry month, you might find your skin looks healthier and brighter at the end of the month. You’ll see how your body feels without the alcohol One of the most significant benefits of dry month is discovering where alcohol currently fits into your life and how your health may be unknowingly impacted. This is particularly true if you haven’t been feeling your best lately and suspect that your ordinary drinking habits might be affecting you mentally, physically or socially. Giving up alcohol for a month is a great way to refresh your body and mind, lower your tolerance, and learn that you don’t need booze to de-stress or enjoy life. Cocktail recommendations for dry January If you’re ready to take on dry month like the champ you are, these incredibly delicious, booze-free recipes with fewer calories and no pesky hangover will leave you clear-headed, of good cheer, and in fine fettle to survive (and thrive) during dry month. Lyre’s Penicillin This modern classic has taken the world by storm! The warm, soothing flavours of honey, citrus, ginger, and Lyre’s American Malt make for the perfect tipple to warm your soul on a cold, wintery night. Best served in an old fashioned glass with fresh cubed ice and ginger to garnish. Lyre’s Blood Orange Spritz This elegant, spritz styled drink is a nod to the flavours, attitude and colour of the Sicilian blood orange. Sweet, bitter and refreshing, this all-occasion spritz is best served in a large or stemless wine glass, with blood orange slices and a sprig of rosemary whenever you need that Apertivo feeling. Saluti! Lyre’s Lynchburg Lemonade A wonderfully refreshing American whiskey highball that’s perfect as a post-work sundowner. Best served in a highball glass with a lemon wedge and lime wheel. Libations! Lyre’s Dry Martini What’s not to love about a Dry Martini? Channel your inner Bond - James Bond - with Lyre’s exquisitely charming Dry Martini. Serve in a Martini glass (of course!) or small coupette, and top with a curly-wurly lemon twist. Lyre’s Contessa Negroni This delicious concoction is a wonderful version of the famed Negroni; the heavy bitter amaro is replaced with the lighter, orangey Italian Spritz, and the Aperitif Dry substitutes the Rosso. It’s kind of like Negroni’s groovy second cousin. Best served in an old fashioned glass with fresh cubed ice and a lemon slice to give it a little extra pizazz.