Cheers to 31 days towards a healthier, happier you.
Ah, Dry January is finally upon us! It’s a month many of us sort of look forward to, but also sort of dread: when we commit to staying off the booze for 31 days. Dry January ends up on the ultimate high note, as accomplishing it feels great mentally and physically! But getting through it has its highs and lows, like any lifestyle revamp does. Here are four ways to feel your best throughout the inevitable rollercoaster:
1. Savor your ambition.
It’s awesome that you’ve embarked on this undertaking! And you’ll be fully rewarded in February, if not sooner. It always pays off to get out of unhealthy ruts. Now is the time to seize your motivation and run with it. What benefits are you looking forward to? Write a letter to your future self about it. Create a vision board of photo clippings and post-its about what inspires and motivates you most. Write your top five reasons for doing Dry January on your mirror so you see it every day. Shout that inspiration loud and proud so it can sustain you for the next 31 days!
2. Accept ambiguity.
It’s one thing to have initial ambition, but then well, life sets in, and with it, ambiguity. Addictive behaviors like drinking alcohol are called “addictive behaviors” for a reason: they tend to suck us back in unless we put in some sustained effort to kick them. Remember that your honeymoon period of gusto towards your goals might not last. That’s totally normal! But it doesn’t mean you can’t make your goals.
Here’s where “urge surfing” becomes key. What’s that? It’s waiting out periods of not feeling sure or committed to staying sober, and knowing they will pass. It can help to remind yourself that this is only a month. Take it one day or even one hour at a time if you have to; commit to sticking with it just for the rest of that time period. Think of Dry January as a grand experiment. You want to know you can achieve what you set out to do. And if you slip up? Go from “dry January” to “damp January” … meaning get back on the wagon and celebrate your rebound! The benefits of curbing alcohol, just like the detriments of drinking, are cumulative. It’s not all or nothing. Better a damp January than a soaking wet one!
3. Set yourself up to succeed.
Make it easy on yourself. Plan your schedule to keep yourself on track. Socializing, for example, is one of the most common things people find challenging when cutting out a substance (along with sleep, discussed below). Be your own best friend and coach this month, and pull out all the stops to win! It’s just this month, not forever, so adjust your social life accordingly. Consider postponing or rearranging social events as needed to avoid pressure, or put yourself in a more comfortable environment for not drinking. If you decide you want to stick with dry January for longer, you can worry about long-term strategies next month. At the very least, prepare in advance to make sure things go smoothly (our surviving holiday parties sober guide has some great tips that can help you out 365 days a year!).
Sleep is another big issue that trips people up, because so often substances can become a part of our come-down/relaxation routines for the night. Focus on getting rest and relaxation, and not stressing about whether you fall asleep as usual or not. Your body will adjust and get you back to sleeping like a baby sans substances in a shorter time than you might expect. You’ll get a higher quality of sleep, too.
4. Treat yourself, celebrate yourself.
We’re all about treats and celebrations at Workit, and with good reason. Part of setting yourself up to succeed is making sure you put in place treats for yourself. There is a big juicy treasure box of pleasures for you out there to enjoy sober. Some are simple, like naps and Netflix and sunshine and music. Some are intellectual, like reading a good book or visiting an art museum. And some are social, like finally being able to have a deep conversation with a partner and remembering it clearly the next day, or spending time with your kids without worrying about making a tipsy, poor example out of yourself. Whatever you find rewarding or pleasurable, now is the month to make time for it!
Same goes for celebrating yourself. ‘Tis the time to give some praise to numero uno. Try writing down 10 things you’re proud of doing in the last year, or 10 things you love about yourself. You’ve made a goal and are going for it. Bravo!