You need to enable JavaScript to run this website.

Healthy Alternatives to Dry January

Holly_Johnston contributor

You’re out to dinner with friends; it’s been a long week. You’re ready to unwind and relax and have a few glasses of wine. But – uh oh! All of your friends are participating in DRY JANUARY. they’re clinking their soda waters, staring at your glass of pinot grigio like it’s 90-proof moonshine.

The pressure is on. Should you also be participating in Dry January?

Then you watch as one of your friends eats skittles out of her purse by the handful, the other friend keeps checking her phone to see who watched her boomerang video of the clinking soda glasses, and the third friend orders a double espresso at 9 pm.

You realize we all have different ideas of what constitutes a healthy lifestyle- we all have things we don’t want to give up and things we would. Sure there are benefits to cutting alcohol out of your life, but dry January isn’t your only option for incorporating healthier habits in 2023. Keep reading for some great Dry January Alternatives:

The Dry January Experience

If you are participating in Dry January this year, there’s a chance you’ll find the experience of our staff member, Jenn Ng, relatable:

“January typically inspires people to reset their daily habits as the result of a popular “New year new me” mantra. It was late in the afternoon on December 31st with a full pour of Sancerre swirling in my glass when a friend uttered the words “Dry January”. It wasn’t about a reset or a healthier lifestyle, but more as a challenge to see how socializing as an adult in the advertising industry felt without any libations.

Being just shy of 2 weeks into the month, I will tell you that brunch feels a bit different without a mimosa. The meal almost feels incomplete. On a dinner out with my husband, I couldn’t help but notice the acoustics of glasses clinking, but to look the part I ordered a mocktail and suddenly felt like I didn’t stick out like a sore thumb.

While I haven’t made my conclusion on what the experience has been like, I will say that I don’t miss the taste of wine and cocktails as I do miss the feeling of having a glass in hand as conversations among family and friends take place. Maybe it’s because it feels more adult or simply a habit that I didn’t know I’ve developed. Social events hit a lot differently without an adult beverage in hand. In a world where advertising defines the 3 martini lunches or discussing a job offer over a bottle of Pouilly Fuisse, the notion of dry January is difficult to maintain without replanning one’s social calendar. More to come on this as my January continues to evolve with some birthday gatherings sandwiched between a Lunar New Year celebration.”

But if you’re not interested in this lifestyle change, there are plenty of other ways to enhance your health and wellbeing in 2023.

Dry January Alternatives

Set boundaries with your screens

Limiting screen time is a great way to improve health and mental well-being. Apple now offers features for setting timers on apps (especially social media), silencing notifications, and scheduling downtime. Consider keeping your phone on the opposite side of your room, instead of under your pillow to avoid the harmful effects of blue light on your sleep quality. Replace doom-scrolling with journaling or doodling. This video contains different journal prompts for reflection and self-discovery. An extra challenge: don’t bring your phone into the bathroom. (scary to imagine, I know!).

Boost your well-being with breathwork

Incorporating breathwork into your daily routine is a great way to relax, feel energized, and decrease stress. It’s incredibly simple and hugely beneficial to one’s overall health! A few breathwork techniques to try: inhale for a count of 4, exhale for a count of 6, repeat 3 times, or try box breathing, alternate nostril breathing, and 4-7-8 breathing.

Connect to your mind with meditation

Before checking your email, grab a pillow, yoga mat, or chair and give yourself a few minutes to focus on your breath. Meditation helps develop an awareness of the present moment and

sharpens focus and attention. Even as little as three minutes can have significant benefits. Try journaling after meditation for some extra self-discovery. There are many different meditation techniques you can try: mindfulness, visualization, body scan, mantra, and vipassana.

Enhance your daily routine with a workout

By now the benefits of exercising are no secret: better mood, enhanced focus, better energy, and the list goes on! A morning exercise routine can increase daytime alertness and regulate sleep patterns. But if you’re not an early bird, evening workouts have their own benefits, stress relief after a hectic workday, and improved physical performance. Not sure where to start? Try a virtual fitness program like Noom, Future, Nike Training Club, or Sworkit. For yoga, try Alo Moves.

Improve your mood and sleep with caffeine moderation

There are many health benefits to caffeine but it’s a good idea to moderate consumption. Ideally, between 300-400 mg a day, or less than that if you have a caffeine sensitivity. It’s recommended to drink in the early part of the day, to prevent sleep disruption. Consider opting for decaf when drinking coffee late at night.

Fuel your body with healthier sugar

Cutting down on sugar is also a great way to improve your health in 2023. To satisfy your sweet tooth and add some extra nutrients, swap out candy with berries and switch to dark chocolate.

Nuts are also great for satisfying sugar cravings, especially pistachios. And don’t forget to stay hydrated! Ideally, 8 glasses of fluids a day are recommended.

Be healthy in your own way

If you’re not interested in participating in Dry January, there’s no need to worry! There are so many other ways to improve your health and well-being, from reducing screen time to boosting nutrition, and learning breathing techniques. Clean living doesn’t have to look the same for everyone. So clink your wine glass with your friends’ soda glasses- celebrate how you are each getting healthy in your own way.

Got any health and wellness hacks? Share them below! :)