For some, the idea of not drinking for a month sounds appalling. But after the holidays — the season of countless parties, family dinners and high school reunions, all of which involve LOTS of alcohol — it really doesn’t seem so bad.
Cue ‘Dry January,’ the term given to forging the first month of the new year sans booze.
If you’re not doing it (and by ‘doing it,’ we mean not drinking) already, you can start now and still reap the benefits.
Which are, what, exactly? Well, studies show that giving up drinking, even short term, can reduce liver fat, which can cause liver damage, by at least 15 percent. Taking a break from the bottle can also lower blood glucose levels by an average of 16 percent, which is good for your fight against diabetes.
You’ll also be consuming less calories, which is good if you want to lose weight, or just want to feel pretty damn good, like, all of the time.
To help you pass the time while you’re sober (we know, we know, so dramatic), here are 20 ways to distract yourself from the boring, black hole (but super healthy!!) that is Dry January.
1. Start binge watching something — anything! — on Netflix. I heard Friends is, like, all the rage.
2. Make your very first DIY Pinterest project. It’s actually empowering. Here’s one to try.
3. Learn how to cook — or if you’re already a master chef, master a new recipe. Like these!
4. Read a book. Already reading? Join a book club. Like Zuckerberg’s!
5. Go to the gym more — or at least, run outside. Isn’t the whole reason you’re taking time off from the bottle to improve your health? Try looking up deal sites for cheap fitness options.
6. Take the money you’re saving by not buying booze and go out to a fancy dinner, or see a show. Do something luxurious that costs the amount of a night (or several nights) out partying.
7. Host a sober game night. The childhood memories will come rolling in.
8. Go out to a bar with all your friends. This one is tricky, but DON’T be tempted to drink. Instead, stay sober and watch the train wreck that unfolds. Remember this once January is over.
9. Try a juice cleanse. You’re already not drinking, so why not reap the full benefits of detoxifying your system?
10. Write down everything you’re doing differently, or have been improving while without booze. Read it over before you return to your old lifestyle.
11. Go see a movie. Or 5. Do you often neglect going to the movies because you’d rather spend $20 at the bar? Now you don’t have to sacrifice your night.
12. Offer to be someone’s DD. Maybe once you’re back to downing tequila shots, they’ll return the favor.
13. Remember what sleeping in is like. Sans booze. Remember dreaming? Yeah, that’ll come back.
14. Reorganize your apartment/room/closet. Pick a task and a day, and get rid of everything you’ve hoarded that you obviously don’t need. You can regift or donate, but don’t keep that extra small sweater you’ve been trying to fit back into for three years.
15. Become a morning person. No booze means no hangovers, which means you can attempt to become a morning person for the very first time in your adult life. Go to events or see sights you normally wouldn’t have time to see in the morning. Sure, you may still hate it, but at least you’ll know that it’s not because of your late night boozing anymore.
16. Drink more water. Keep yourself super full (and hydrated) by drinking lots and lots of H20. Maybe your skin will even start to look better!
17. Volunteer. Now that you have Saturday and Sundays without that gnawing, stale-headed feeling of being hungover, maybe you can put your efforts to good use by volunteering for a local charity or cause.
18. Plan your next vacation. Think about all the money you’re saving NOT on booze or alcohol. Put it towards a vacation.
19. Schedule a physical. At the end of your dry month, you can check up on the healthy progress you’ve made!
20. Get a side job, or help out a friend. Put your sober efforts to good use by taking on more responsibilities, like helping a friend move or writing a column.
In the end, it won’t matter how many sips of booze you actually took during your dry month, but how many sips you refused. In this day of age, going even a week without drinking is an attempt that not many can accomplish.
But if you fail this month, don’t worry—you can attempt a sober month any time of the year. I believe in you, which isn’t saying much, but it’s saying… well, that I believe in you.
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