22 / 1 / 2015 12.33pm
Staff across the NHS are gearing up for the end of Dry January 2015.
Organisations across England have been encouraging their staff to stay alcohol-free in January, providing them with an opportunity to reflect on their relationship with alcohol and make healthier choices about their consumption for the rest of the year.
Are you still alcohol free?
If yes, then you should now be reaping the benefits this sustained period of time off has on your health and wellbeing. At this stage in the month, you might:
- sleep better and your eyes and skin seem brighter
- feel more alert and better able to concentrate at work
- have more energy when you spend time with family and friends
- have more money to spend on the other things that make you happy
- start to lose weight and have fewer headaches
- suffer less from stomach complaints
- feel more in control, helping to reduce the risk of serious alcohol-related illness in the long term
The final furlong
As we enter the fourth and final week of Dry January 2015 many people will be thinking about how they are going to celebrate at the weekend. Alcohol Concern experts have come up with a few top tips for maintaining a sensible and healthy approach to drinking once you've completed your 31 days of being alcohol free, they are:
- Make a plan each week – pre-plan what days you’re going to drink, how much you’re going to drink on those days, along with a budget on how much you’re going to spend on alcohol.
- Tell your friends and family - if you let your friends and family know you’re cutting down and that it’s important to you, you could get support from them.
- Have a smaller drink or have a lower strength drink - try bottled beer instead of pints, or a small glass of wine instead of a large one. Also remember to keep hydrated and drink plenty of water before, during and after you’ve been drinking alcohol – and eat sensibly.
Have you seen our freelance mixologist shaking up tasty alternatives to alcohol cocktails? This week he mixes up a non-alcoholic twist on the classic Bloody Mary.
If last year's research is anything to go by...
Participants who took part in Dry January 2014 demonstrated that a significant period of time alcohol free had a positive impact on their alcohol consumption during the rest of the year. The statistics showed that:
- 72 per cent of participants had sustained reduced levels of harmful drinking six months after completing Dry January 2014.
- 23 per cent of people who identified as having harmful levels of alcohol consumption when they started Dry January 2014 are now in the low risk category.
- 4 per cent of participants were alcohol free six months after completing Dry January 2014.
Remember your limits. Men are recommended to have no more than three to four units a day (that’s a couple of pints of normal strength beer) and for women it’s two to three units a day (roughly an average sized glass of wine). Also, it's recommended that everyone has at least two or three days off alcohol a week.