“Yes, I like pina coladas and getting caught in the rain. I’m not much into health food, I am into champagne” are lyrics many of us can relate to, especially me. The Pina Colada song has become my own personal anthem over the past few years. However, I have decided to give up alcohol for the month of January. I have cut out alcohol completely. I’ve waved goodbye to fruit cider, said bon voyage to Prosecco and bid farewell to pina coladas.
I’m not the only one that has decided to cut out on alcohol this month. Many people across the country and around the world are taking part in Dry January. The Irish Heart Foundation are encouraging people to take part in their ‘On The Dry’ campaign. As well as raising awareness and fundraising for a good cause there are many personal benefits you will experience if you decide to give up alcohol for a month.
One of the biggest highlights of Dry January so far has been saving money. Throughout the month I haven’t been checking my bank balance with the crippling fear that I spent €14 euro on a swanky cocktail. Feeling financially stable after Christmas is such a great feeling. I’ve even had the chance to put the money I would have spent on alcohol into a savings account. Another thing you can do is to channel your inner Donna and Tom from Parks and Rec and “treat yo self.” Instead of spending €60 on a night out why don’t you put it towards your Electric Picnic ticket or a new pair of boots from Topshop.
Another great thing about Dry January is how healthy you feel. Alcohol may boost your confidence or make you believe you can dance like Beyoncé, but there are a tonne of negative side effects. Alcohol is a massive dehydrator which causes your skin to turn dry and leaves it looking pasty and dull. It is also a vasodilator which means that it causes redness and bloating in the face.
As well as having a damaging effect on your skin alcohol can also have a negative impact on your mental health. Alcohol is a depressant which means it can alter the chemical balance in our brains. Many people experience feelings of aggression, depression, anxiety and anger when they drink too much. By cutting out alcohol I have experienced a variety of positive effects. Over the past few weeks I have had a lot more energy, my skin has started to clear up and my mind feels clearer and I feel a lot more upbeat.
Being questioned about not drinking
Even though Dry January has been a positive experience for me so far I do find it hard from time to time. However, I have picked up a few tips and tricks along the way to help. One of the biggest difficulties was dealing with people’s reactions when you tell them you’ll just have a water or a diet coke whilst they’re ordering a round of pints. “Have you not got enough money?” “Are you pregnant?” “Don’t be such a bore” “Are you on antibiotics?” are just a number of different responses people will use when they hear you’ve given up drink. The easiest thing to do when people react negatively to your new lifestyle is to simply smile and don’t let their silly reaction bother you.
Tips if you’re finding Dry January difficult
If you’re struggling with sticking to Dry January find a friend or family member who is also taking part to support you. Building up a positive and powerful support network is essential when making a big change to your lifestyle. If you’re finding it extremely difficult I’d highly suggest that you avoid going to pubs, bars or clubs. Ask your friends to meet up at the local cafe, go on a cinema date with your significant other or go visit your family instead of meeting up in the local pub. You’ll get to see and experience new places as well as staying away from any temptations.
Many people strive to take up a new hobby in the new year so why don’t you join your local walking group or learn a new language. You’ll have plenty of free time so why not spend it wisely and improve your lifestyle by taking up a hobby that has always tickled your fancy. Challenge yourself and experience all the positive effects cutting out alcohol has to offer. You can wave goodbye to Sunday mornings where you curl up in a ball with an excruciating headache with nothing but a plate of cold pizza to dine on.