This global tradition of Dry January is more popular than ever. I’m curious as to why January and not any other month. Is it because a lot of people over-indulge during the holidays? From candy at Halloween, to pies and stuffing at Thanksgiving, to cookies, holiday cocktails, and carb overloads in December, we are ready to start clean.
No doubt New Year’s resolutions play a big role in swearing off alcohol for the whole month of January. Alcohol doesn’t go so well with a cleanse, a low-carb diet, or new fitness goals. It really is the perfect month to make drastic changes. Join in on the movement and leave alcohol behind for a few weeks.
When you know many others are doing the same thing as you, there is comfort in this. Many of us felt a sense of community during 2020, even though we stayed at home more than ever. Those homeschool parents from 2019 and earlier must have loved seeing our struggles and triumphs, as they were not alone in this anymore. Teachers all over the world saw our appreciation for the hard and brave work they did in the classroom each week with our little ones.
When thousands of people all over the world are also not drinking wine, it can give us a feeling of empowerment. Deprivation doesn’t feel good. Empowerment, on the other hand, is badass!
Making Better Choices
Quitting alcohol is a better choice than drinking more alcohol, I’m sure we can all agree. However, when we stop partaking in spirits, we are also more likely to make better decisions about our health, overall.
People tend to eat more when they are drinking. Take out the alcohol and we are now making sober food choices. Sober eating is conscious eating. Even if we choose something unhealthy, we do it with a clear head.
If you typically exercise in the evening but you’ve been drinking, forget it! I’ve been known to take a walk if I’ve been drinking. I’ve danced around my living room while semi-drunk. But completing a full exercise regimen isn’t going to happen if I’ve been drinking. I’m going to be eating some salty carbs. That’s what is going to happen.
Alcohol increases bloating. This is a fact. Bloating can leave you feeling sluggish and uncomfortable. Bloating may give you an excuse to eat more. Bloating will make your clothes not fit. Bloating is the worst!
Giving up alcohol may be hard for a few days, up to a week, depending on what your consumption levels were. But once the cravings go away, you are likely left feeling very proud of yourself. This strength can extend to other health goals as you vow to eat better and exercise more. Perhaps you will start a regular yoga and meditation ritual to encourage yourself to connect within.
With any new health goal, I set out to do, I write it down. I make lists with boxes to fill in daily. I spell out my goals and I write down my successes. I journal how I feel when I have cravings, and when I cheat. Then I move forward and continue. Journaling helps me to feel accountable. When I write it down, I am admitting my strengths and weaknesses. It serves as a daily report card, that only I can see.
There are two journals that I recommend buying if you would like to be guided on your journaling path. One is Feminism: A Journey to Equality -this workbook is a wonderful tool that can help you deeply discover yourself. Equality and feminism are the themes with journaling exercises to encourage personal growth. Written by Jennifer Vollbrecht and Danaelle Rodriquez, this workbook gives us permission to tune in and play. The other journal I recommend is 100 Day Goal Journal by John Lee Dumas. This book can be used for whatever goal you are working towards, whether you are focusing on your health, business, or personal goals.
What Do You Drink Now?
If drinking alcohol was a habit, it will be helpful to fill that spot with a different habit. Check out our past articles on tea latte, warming drinks, and having less wine and more tea.
If you enjoyed a glass of wine while you were cooking, fill that chilled wine glass with another bubbly drink. I enjoy kombucha, a fermented and bubbly tea. Sparkling water with grapefruit juice (or any kind of juice) is delightful out of a wine glass.
If drinking on the couch with a movie was your habit, enjoy a mocktail or a tea latte. I recently made a virgin sangria for my 12-year old daughter. She watched a friend of mine enjoy a white sangria at an outdoor restaurant recently and wanted to try it. We started thinking of ways to make a non-alcoholic sangria. Today she enjoyed a beautiful virgin sangria in a blue mason jar. Below is the recipe I created.
Fill mason jar half-way with kombucha (you pick the flavor).
Add ¼ glass of sparkling water (flavor or your choosing).
Add berries, frozen peaches, and mint (experiment with sliced apples, oranges, pineapple, frozen cherries, etc.).
Seal the cover on top.
Let sangria sit in the fridge for 12-24 hours for best effect.
REMEMBER to not shake it unless you want an explosion!
Gently stir when you are ready to drink. Add a metal straw to keep the fruit from floating to your mouth with each sip. Then eat the fruit.
If you want a caffeine-free tea to drink in the evenings, this lovely combination of Mint, Chamomile, Lavender, and Moringa is delicious and soothing. Full of health benefits, this tea is good for your immune system, heart health, and adds digestive support. Steep this tea for 4 to 30 minutes to come up with the perfect flavor for you. I love adding lavender syrup to this creamy latte, with almond or oat milk. Almond and dairy milk froths very well on the stove with a hand-held frother, to give you that coffee shop vibe.
For more delicious drink choices, read my past articles on tea latte, warming drinks, and having less wine and more tea. For more inspiration on reaching your health goals, check out A Feminist New Year, Why Do I Eat So Much Sugar, and Help Me Sleep Naturally.
Anastacia Elizabeth Walden is a writer, editor, and owner of Walden Writes For Women.