New year, new you? If like us you’ve overdone it a little this Christmas, you might be jumping firmly onto the Dry January wagon. Dry Jan is the UK’s monthlong no-alcohol challenge, which helps millions of people get back in control of their health after the heavy festive period.
Taking a break from alcohol, partying, and unhealthy eating is a great way to get your physical and mental health back to its best for the new year ahead. If you’re joining in with Dry Jan this month, good for you!
What does Dry January involve?
For most people, Dry January means giving up alcohol for 31 days, from New Years Day until the end of the month. However, there aren’t any strict rules when it comes to taking on the challenge.
You might choose to quit alcohol, smoking, unhealthy eating or other bad habits to kick start the year. Anything is better than nothing, and whether you’ll be saying no to a drink or skipping parties altogether, Dry January can be a great way to get in control of your habits for the new year.
How can Dry January help?
The results can vary from person to person, depending on how much alcohol you usually consume and how healthy you are. Many people enjoy benefits like better sleep quality, weight loss, and even better skin when they cut out the alcohol and focus on healthy habits.
- Improved health overall
Excessive or binge drinking can cause serious health problems like high blood pressure and cholesterol. When you cut out alcohol, you do plenty of good for your body, including improving your overall health and reducing the likelihood of complications in the future.
- Improved sleep quality
Though alcohol can make falling asleep easier, having a drink can harm the quality of your sleep. Whether you’ve had a little or a lot, alcohol can interfere with your sleep regulation and reduce the amount of REM sleep you get. This means you’re more likely to wake up feeling groggy and unrested even after a full night’s sleep.
As well as improving the quality of your sleep, removing alcohol from your routine can mean more cosy nights relaxing on the sofa. When you skip the nights out and go to bed on time, you’re more likely to get a good night’s rest and wake up feeling energised in the morning.
- Strengthened immune system
Giving up alcohol for January can give your immune system a much-needed boost, helping you fight off any new year colds that might be going around.
- Weight loss
If you’re in good shape and usually lead a healthy lifestyle, you shouldn’t expect to lose any more weight throughout your Dry Jan, though you’ll be healthier inside.
However, if you’ve been drinking excessively for some time and you have a little weight to lose, cutting out alcohol for a month can be a great way to shake off a few pounds.
While spirits are mostly low in calories, sugary mixers, wine, and beer are packed with them. If these are your drinks of choice, cutting them out will also mean cutting down calories. Alcohol can cause bloating, too, which means you might find yourself feeling a little slimmer after just a couple of weeks sober.
Of course, if you’re looking to lose serious weight, you’ll need to ensure you’re eating a good diet as well as cutting out alcohol.
- Save money
Easy! Whether you’re staying home or opting for soft drinks, Dry January is a great way to save a little money in the new year. Non-alcoholic options are always cheaper than their boozy counterparts, while drinks like lime or blackcurrant and soda are sometimes free.
Save the money you’d usually spend in bars or on supermarket booze or find somewhere more productive to spend it. Why not count the amount you’re saving? Putting aside just £50 each weekend throughout Dry January means you’ll have £200 saved by the end of the month. That’s enough to cover a gym membership with plenty to spare.
- More radiant skin
This is the benefit that’s really enticing to us. Anything for more radiant skin, right? Cutting out alcohol can help improve your skin’s hydration, tone, and elasticity.
What does alcohol do to the skin?
When you drink alcohol of any kind, the drug metabolises into a compound which makes blood vessels relax. This is what causes that tell-tale red flush and puffiness that often comes along after a few drinks – no thank you.
As well as affecting your skin’s tone, alcohol is super-dehydrating. When you drink, you’ll find yourself visiting the toilet more often than usual, which means losing water quickly. When you’re dehydrated your skin suffers, with fine lines and wrinkles appearing more visible too.
Need more? Alcohol also reduces your vitamin A levels. Less of the collagen-producing antioxidant can be a nightmare when it comes to your skin’s appearance. Collagen is one of our skin’s most important proteins, and when it lacks, skin can appear weak and dull.
Finally, sugar. If your drinks of choice include fruity cocktails and sweet white wine, you’re sure to be consuming an excess of sugar every time you indulge. It’s no secret that sugar is bad for our health, but did you know that the sweet stuff can also lead to breakouts?
Can Dry January make a difference to the skin?
Yes! Your skin takes around 28 days to renew itself. That’s just less than the 31 days of Dry January, which means taking the pledge will give your skin enough time to reap the benefits.
Taking a month off from alcohol allows you to experience your skin at its best, which might encourage you to say no to a drink a little more often in the future. After a month alcohol-free, your skin should feel more hydrated, plumper, and more even in tone.
How to have fun in Dry January
Saying no to the alcohol doesn’t mean saying no to the fun. Many people even find that their mood is improved after a break from the booze. Whether you’re regularly stressing about money or you suffer from the dreaded hangover anxiety, there are plenty of ways Dry January can help improve your mood.
Save the money you might have spent on drinks and plan a day out with some friends or family. You can still join in on dinners and drinking events throughout your Dry Jan, just opt for a freshly squeezed lime and soda or lemon water to replace your G&T perfectly.
Enhancing your skincare routine
If you’re diving into Dry Jan and expecting to see results on your skin, why not give yourself a boost by switching up your skincare routine?
Introducing a new moisturiser or night cream into your daily rotation can perk up your skin after the heavy Christmas period. Combined with a Dry January, adding a new product to your skincare routine is a great way to see results.
Our favourite post-festive tradition involves taking a little of the money saved in Dry Jan and splashing out on a new luxury skincare product. This year? We’re going for Elizabeth Arden’s iconic Eight Hour Cream and Dermalogica’s nourishing Special Cleansing Gel.
Searching for more inspiration? Keep exploring the Fragrance Direct blog for plenty of tips and tricks that’ll have you feeling like your best self in 2020.