Living the Dry Life for the Canadian Cancer Society
Is it just us or does January feel like the longest month of the year? Holiday excitement is over, New Year’s resolutions have set in, it’s bitterly cold and winter has just started. For some, January first also means the beginning of an alcohol-free month.
The popularity of Dry January has been on the rise in recent years. It makes perfect sense; who doesn’t feel like a break from alcohol after the boozy holiday season? It can be a bit tricky at first (we are creatures of habit after all) but there are so many benefits to not drinking that you get into it pretty quickly.
For those of you who cherish your post work beer or your glass of wine with dinner, and think there’s no way you could give up drinking for a month, especially in the middle of winter, you’d be surprised how quickly a month goes by (even January). It also helps that you feel amazing! Since we’re social creatures, as well as habitual ones, it’s always nice to have some support when embarking on a challenge, and these days there’s no shortage of sober folks in January.
If you missed the boat on Dry January but you’re starting to get curious, there’s some good news: Dry February is on the rise. The Canadian Cancer Society is challenging people to go (or stay) dry for February and raise money to help the lives of those affected by cancer. So if you missed Dry January, or if you just want to keep living the dry life, join Dry February and help raise money for the Canadian Cancer Society.
If you’re not fully convinced that an alcohol-free month in the dead of winter is worth it, take a second to read over the benefits of going dry.
You Look and Feel Better
Alcohol is dehydrating, which definitely isn’t good for your glow, especially in the winter when skin is already prone to dryness and redness. It’s also been shown to decrease REM sleep, disrupt circadian rhythms and deplete sources of vitamin B. By giving up alcohol you’ll experience better sleep, healthier looking skin and an elevated mood.
It’s no secret that alcohol is poison. We spend so much time worrying about toxins in the air and in our food, but what about what’s in our glass? Not only does alcohol add empty calories, but processing it is hard on your body. Excessive or regular alcohol consumption can affect your metabolism, cardiovascular health, immune system and liver function. It’s also been linked to an increased risk of cancer. The vast majority of people who do a dry month report better performance at the gym, heightened focus and increased energy. It’s also pretty standard to lose a few pounds.
More Confidence, Less Anxiety
I know that seems counterintuitive, especially to those with social anxiety who need a little bit of liquid confidence to even think about going to a party. But, as uncomfortable as it might be at first, not leaning on alcohol in social situations helps people genuinely connect with others and ultimately build social confidence. Plus you can kiss “shameovers” goodbye.
For those of you not familiar, a shameover is that overwhelming feeling that something horrible happened the night before; that you embarrassed yourself in some way, even if you can’t quite remember what it was. In reality, shameovers are just alcohol withdrawal, something we all experience after drinking. As the relaxing effects of alcohol start to wear off, our GABA receptors start neuron firing at an increased rate. For a lot of people, this experience is simply uncomfortable, or goes completely unnoticed, but for those with anxiety, the experience can be pretty excruciating. The great thing about not drinking is that you are 100% guaranteed to have zero shameovers and zero alcohol induced anxiety.
Whether you decide to accept the challenge of Dry February or not, the benefits of going alcohol-free are always there when you need them. Stay warm, green beauties!