Participating in Dry January? Here are Five Things to Motivate You

Happy New Year! Over the bubbly and holiday cocktails? After indulging during the holiday season, many people participate in Dry January (aka not drinking for the month) to get a healthy start in the new year. 

This January, people may have more reason to holdoff on booze. Over the past year, the rate of binge drinking has increased significantly since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. While we may laugh at memes about drinking more wine or cocktails, overall alcohol consumption has gone up 23% (yikes) during the pandemic and is no laughing matter. Dry January is an excellent time to reset this trend and help kick off the new year on a healthy note.

If you are participating in Dry January, we have five facts to help motivate you throughout the month and finish booze-free. 

1. Your overall health will improve

Eliminating alcohol from your day to day can have many health advantages. Saying goodbye to drinking for just one month can reduce your cholesterol, lower glucose levels, help with weight loss, and reduce liver fat by 40% for moderate drinkers

Excessive drinking can also increase your risk for certain diseases, including breast cancer, heart disease, stroke, and liver problems. While holding off on margaritas for a month won't treat or prevent long-term health problems, it does not hurt to give your body a break.

2. Your mood could improve

It's easy to pour a glass of vino after a lousy day but could make you end up feeling more blue over time. Alcohol is a depressive, and regular consumption can change our brain's chemistry by lowering serotonin levels. A night out can cause some "hang-aixty" or anxious feelings that you may experience as part of a hangover.

While participating in Dry January may not be a resolution for depression, cutting back on some after-work drinks can help you boost your mood.

3. You will get more Zzzzz's

Some people may think that drinking makes them sleep better, but alcohol can mess up your sleep cycle. After a night of having a few drinks, you may be able to fall asleep quickly, but your body does not get the chance to reach REM sleep or the deep period of rest that allows your body to replenish itself and make you feel refreshed the next day. As you take a break from drinking, you'll sleep better as the month progresses and feel more energized in the mornings. 

4. Your skin will look healthier 

The day after you drink, your skin can get dehydrated and blotchy, but just after seven days of not drinking, your skin will look healthier and have a youthful glow due to restored hydration.

5. Your immune system can get stronger

Drinking can weaken your immune system and make you more vulnerable to catching the flu and cold (the one thing we are all trying to avoid right now). Just one night of drinking can impact your body's reaction to fight up infections up to 24 hours later. Not only can it impact your immune function, but the impact alcohol has on sleep (see point 3) can make it harder for you to fight off sicknesses. 

As always, if you need to speak with a medical professional anytime, please reach out to your primary care doctor or find one through our provider search. You can also speak with a medical professional anytime for $0* with Teladoc. Download the app and fill out your profile today

We hope these facts can help motivate you throughout the month and help you achieve your resolution. While Dry January is a great reason to say no to alcohol, it also a great way to have a healthy start to 2021. Here’s to a healthier you! *Per ACA guidelines, if your doctor does additional tests or provides treatments, you may have additional costs.

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Wellness, Health
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