Alcohol is so engrained into British culture, that the idea of going dry, even for a month, can feel like blasphemy. What would you do on a Friday without your favourite tipple? How would you unwind after a long day at work? Where would you ever find the courage to tell that someone how you feel?
Believe it or not, there are answers to all of these that don’t involve alcohol, and having a dry month, whether that’s October or any of its 11 other counterparts, can be the ideal way to find those answers.
So, for everyone who’s considering going dry for October, or has ever wondered ‘why on earth would I do that?’, here’s 10 reasons to try going alcohol-free.
1. No hangovers!
This might seem like stating the obvious, but the simplest, most immediately noticeable effect of not drinking, will be that you won’t start the day feeling like someone’s running a drill in your head, which is nice.
2. Magic weight loss
For everyone that’s ever thought there’s no simple way to lose weight, there is: cut out alcohol. According to the NHS, one pint of 5% beer is equivalent to a Mars bar (239kcal), a 175ml glass of 12% wine is like eating 3 Jaffa Cakes (133kcal), and even a double measure of gin (50ml) is equivalent to eating 1 standard size Milky Way bar (95kcal).
By the time you’ve totted up a night’s drinking, that’s a hell of a lot of empty calories that most of us probably wouldn’t even consider.
3. A better headspace
Alcohol triggers the release of our happy chemical; the neurotransmitter, serotonin. This is great, to begin with. The temporary chemical highs give way to pretty big lows, which can leave you feeling depressed and anxious the next day.
Cutting back on your drinking will help remove the negative effects of alcohol on your mental wellbeing, and could be a major step towards reaching a better headspace and improving your self-confidence.
4. Sleep better
There’s no denying that alcohol can help you get to sleep, but that’s about all it’s good for as far as your night’s rest goes.
Alcohol inhibits your ability to get the kind of deep, restful sleep that you need to repair and refresh yourself. Without this sleep, you’ll be left without that ‘get-up-and-go’ that you need in the morning, and feel generally lower in energy throughout the day.
5. Save some cash
It’s no secret that alcohol on the whole isn’t cheap. If you totted up everything you were spending on alcohol in a month, you’d probably be surprised. The simple maths here is that the longer you go without alcohol, the more money you’ll save. Imagine what else you could do with that money!
6. The secret to better skin?
Chances are, you’ve had those mornings after drinking a few too many the night before where you wake up with a mouth like sandpaper, desperate for a glass of water.
Alcohol dehydrates your body, which doesn’t just leave you gasping, it dries out your skin, keeping you from reaching that healthy glow you might be looking for.
As well as dehydration, you may have noticed that alcohol even makes your face appear puffy; trust us, look at a picture of yourself after drinking and then again at one after a month of not drinking, you’ll notice the difference!
7. A stronger immune system
Booze will weaken your immune system, so reducing your intake, even for a little while, can help make sure that you don’t pick up every little cold that goes around. Plus, if you are unfortunate to come down with something, your recovery time will be less!
8. Give your liver a rest
So much of your day-to-day functioning relies on your liver, it’s arguably one of your most important organs, and regular alcohol consumption can do it some real damage. However, it can heal itself, provided you give it a breather once in a while.
9. Healthy habits
Sadly, alcohol is associated with a whole host of health complications, the risk of which increases the more you drink. Your beloved tipple could increase your risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol and cancer.
Reducing your intake, however, will reduce your risk of all the above.
Alcohol can also have an impact on your ability to conceive, should you ever feel the parental urge, and can cause harm during pregnancy, leading to a range of health implications including Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). So, if you can #HaveYourNOments now, and establish healthy habits, you’ll stand a better chance when or if the time comes for you.
10. An opportunity to raise money for charity
Why not use your alcohol-free month as a way to raise money for charity? You can do a sponsored dry month, which, besides being its own positive, can be just the motivation you need to keep you going.