Dry January has become an annual movement in which millions of people accept the challenge of stopping drinking alcohol for a month. But it's not just another challenge to solve – drinking alcohol consistently can have a big effect on a person's body and health. Long-term drinking can increase the risk of cancer. Although drinking a month can do wonders for your health, it can be very difficult to avoid the temptation to drink fast.
Doctor Clare Morrison from MedExpress offers seven tips for stopping drinking in the New Year.
Make your intentions known
To make the process of giving up much easier, you should tell your friends and family about your plan to stop drinking alcohol for a month and explain why, Dr. Morrison.
He explained: "This way you can share your success with them and they will understand why you started refusing drinks or trips to local pubs. Reminding yourself and the people closest to you that you want to stop drinking will also help you stay on track. and can even encourage other people to do the same. Likewise, having friends or friends to join in a dry January with you will also make the process easier, you can enjoy sightseeing that is not related to joint drinks. "
Try to avoid situations where you might be tempted to drink, whether it's a drink that is down in the pub, or avoid the restaurant where they do your favorite cocktail.
He said: "Also try to avoid times when you will usually drink and fill it with something else, whether it's a cinema, bowling or anything that doesn't have to include alcohol.
"Identifying triggers is also important, especially if you've tried to give up in the past – try to understand why you didn't succeed. Maybe you give up one night at the pub, or tell yourself that someone won't get hurt. Ensuring that no alcohol is available at home will also increase your success rate. "
Rather than going cold turkey on New Year's Day after a night of drinking, it might be the idea to gradually try and drink less when December is almost over, Dr. Morrison.
He added: "This might prove difficult for some people especially with the new year but weaning ourselves earlier will make the process easier. Cutting down doesn't have to be difficult, if you drink almost every night you can start by setting a few days a week as an alcohol-free day in December, this will soon become a habit and the challenge will then make your entire week alcohol free. "
It is important to acknowledge the fact that making sudden lifestyle changes like this is difficult and for some people might not be possible.
He said: "Dry January is not a small thing, so making sure you respect yourself is very important. If you tend to sit in front of the TV after working with a glass of wine, replace it with another, maybe a sweet or delicious non-alcoholic drink .
"You will also find that you have more money saved from the lack of trips to the pub – use this to shop in clothes and treat yourself to new clothes, this will make you feel good and keep your mind away from liquor."
The best way to forget the fact that you are without alcohol is to stay busy.
Dr. Morrison said: "As mentioned earlier, try to find friends who also do dry January and make plans with them so there is no temptation to go to the pub or drink at home. There are many things you can do that don't require alcohol. You can also start a fitness class or run to keep your body and mind busy. "
Manage your withdrawal symptoms
Stopping drinking suddenly can affect your mind and body in various ways, and you may find it rather difficult, especially if you drink a lot during the Christmas period.
He explained: "Psychological symptoms can include irritability, poor concentration, feeling tired, trembling and difficulty sleeping. Physical symptoms include shaking hands, sweating, nausea, headaches, and lack of appetite. Some severe side effects can include confusion, fever, and even hallucinations.
"If you experience the above in the first week, you should talk to your doctor to find out if they can prescribe medication for you with your withdrawal symptoms. However, the way to deal with it naturally is to stay fit and healthy in other aspects of your life, drink lots of water, exercise regularly, maintain a healthy diet and stay busy seeing friends and family that will benefit your mental health. "Enjoy the benefits
Although at first it might look like an old slog, there are many benefits of a month-long drinking ban, the first is money.
Dr. Morrison added: "You will find that you will save more money that you can spend on yourself in other ways. But most importantly, your health will benefit greatly from resting with alcohol, you may notice a number of improvements in how you look and feel, you may find you have more energy, you sleep better, and maybe even lose a little weight. .
"In the long run you will also help reduce the risk of alcohol-related cancer, liver disease, heart disease, and lower your blood pressure."