By giving up your old friend alcohol for a mere 31 days, you will save a few quid, lose a few pounds, and feel more energised and refreshed in the process. But for some people that’s not as easy as it sounds. January has five whole booze free weekends to get through people.
To help you get through them pain free and as sane as one can expect, Edina Sipocz – head bartender at The Arch London hotel in Marylebone – has provided 10 top tips. She’s even created a ‘Virgin Vera’ mocktail made with aloe vera water especially for dry January!
1. Don’t hibernate
The worst thing you can possibly do is to hide away in your house and try to sleep through it. For once you have no hangover to sleep off each weekend, so make it your mission to get up and make the most of it. Plan activities you would never normally get round to doing, at times you would never usually be up.
2. Ditch cocktails for detoxing mocktails
Don’t settle for plain old tap water when you go out. Drinking mocktails is a great way to get through dry January, as you are still treating yourself to a luxurious drink, minus the calories and headache the next morning. The Arch London offers a ‘Virgin Vera’ mocktail made with detoxing aloe vera water, fresh lime, raspberries and fresh guava Juice.
3. Know your numbers
Read it and weep. A Pina Colada cocktail with rum has 644 calories. That’s more than a Big Mac burger. A pint of larger has 180 calories – more than a small slice of chocolate cake. And a large glass of white wine is 185 calories – the equivalent of 4 fish fingers. Calculate exactly how many calories you will save by ditching the booze – odds are you’ll be shocked by how many you can save….or by how much chocolate cake you’re now entitled to eat.
4. Plan a holiday
Planning a holiday is the perfect way to motivate yourself during dry January. Putting all the money you’ve saved on booze into a “holiday piggy bank” will be a visible inspiration to keep going, along with your shrinking waistline of course. It’s win, win.
5. Recruit a partner in crime
Your driathlon will be about a million times easier if you have at least one of your friends on board with you. You’ll have a sober partner in crime to go out with and look suitably smug alongside while your other friends are being drunken idiots around you.
6. Get drunk on love
Replace visiting your old friend alcohol with seeing real actual people that you care about. Arrange to go and see that old friend you’ve been meaning to visit, visit you parents, or make time for your partner. Booking a romantic city break is the perfect idea, as it takes you away for a weekend of relaxation with no pressure to go to the pub with your friends. The Arch London has an indulgent “Play Package”, which is perfect for couples looking to get away for some romantic alone time.
7. Try a new type of exercise
Taking up a new exercise for the month will boost your levels of serotonin and give you something else to focus on. For example, try a “ravercise” class – think daytime clubbing without the booze. This will gratify your craving for dance while you stay firmly on the wagon.
8. Think positive
Don’t picture your month of sobriety as something negative. Think of it as something great you are achieving purely for yourself. Rather than focusing on denying yourself alcohol, envision your success and how happy you will be at the end of the month when you have reached your goal.
9. Tell Everyone
By telling everyone you are never drinking ever again (well, for January), you will increase your chances of success. Why? Because your feelings of shame will be increased by about 98% if your friends or family catch you clutching a sneaky gin and tonic when you shouldn’t be.
10. Cut back, don’t cut out
If all else fails, simply cut back on your alcohol intake and set yourself an achievable goal per week. This will be much easier to sustain and will certainly alleviate any January blues. There are also plenty of other ways to improve your health, such as by upping your intake of fruits and vegetables and drinking more water.