These Could Be The Potential Benefits of Dry January

By Nadia Murdock

Ahem, did someone say Dry January?  This goes hand and hand with picking your New Year resolutions. Both promises are often made together at the start of the new year but are they always kept?

 Dry January is a public health campaign that encourages people to abstain from alcohol for the month under the premise that a ton of overindulgence took place during the holidays the month prior.  Originating in Europe, it’s practiced in the United Kingdom, France and Switzerland. This untraditional holiday made its way to the US around 2014. 

As interesting as this sounds, is this challenge worth trying? If you are up for it then definitely! Perhaps you found yourself drinking a bit more than usually during the holidays? Then it might be a good idea to put down the wine glass and get ready to detox. “While drinking alcohol in moderation may be ok for some people, drinking too much alcohol is very harmful to the skin. By cutting alcohol out of your lifestyle, your skin may show significant visible improvements. Alcohol is extremely dehydrating to the skin, so when you give it up, you may notice that your skin feels more hydrated, and retains its moisture better throughout the day,” explains Rachael Pontillo, Healthy Skin Media Expert and Bestselling author. 

Excessive drinking can lead to a number of health issues. If in addition to the holiday soiree you are also drinking more than 7 glasses of wine a week you it might be time to take a pause. Pontillo shares that “alcohol consumption frequently can over work the body including the liver. As a result hormones become out of whack which can show up in your skin via breakouts and uneven skin tone. By removing alcohol, your skin cells will receive more nutrients from the blood flow, so they will be more likely to function optimally as they rise to the surface. This leads to a more radiant complexion, and more resilient skin,”.

Another reason to kick the habit? Alcohol can disrupt your sleep patterns and mood. “A daily drinking habit can negatively impact sleep, mood, and cognitive function. Alcohol also packs a lot of calories, and it changes how your liver metabolizes calories in general, so you might even notice a little weight loss. But simply switching to a “mocktail” or flavored seltzer water for 30 days isn’t going to be life-changing, unless you do a little work,” explains Kimberly Daly, Health Coach and founder of Mama Love, LLC

Most importantly, this fun challenge could help you dig deeper and learn more about your relationship with alcohol. Daly says “In order to see big benefits from a month without alcohol, you need to dig deeper and get a better understanding of your current relationship with it,”  She goes on to say you may want to ask yourself some questions for some precise self discovery. For example, why are you reaching for that glass of wine every night? Why is beer a must for Sunday night football? Is it an urge? Uncontrollable habit or something you can do without?

There is a fine line between drinking for escapism versus enjoyment.  Many of us might use drinking as a way to provide a quick escape from stress, boredom or loneliness. Putting your drinking habit on the back-burner this month might help you notice a void you are trying to fill with a cocktail. Kimberly says you would be much better off finding a new solution for coping with the feelings you’re trying to get away from. 

Sure, ditching the at-home happy hour or wine Zoom party is great for the skin and your overall health. However you might unpack some deeper discoveries about yourself too; don’t forget why you are doing it and what you might learn from this entire experience.