Just one month after the new year, February is still filled with fresh starts and optimism. Perhaps a second chance to stick to your resolutions, or perhaps you’ve started new hobbies, fitness goals, or a new diet. For some of you, the journey to sobriety or at least a break from alcohol or a challenge with Dry February.
No Alcohol for a Month 😧 At Least it’s a Short Month! – Whether you are on your journey to sobriety, sober-curious, or taking this month off in solidarity with the Dry February challenge alongside the Cancer Society of Canada, it can be daunting. It’s hard to know where to begin or how to execute your plans accordingly. Whether you’ve taken a break from alcohol before or this is your first time, here are some tips to better navigate this experience.
SET YOUR GOALS
You hear this a lot I know, but it’s very important. Set some clear goals and think about the ‘why’ as much as the ‘how’. Some questions to consider are:
- Why are you taking a break from alcohol?
- How long are you doing it for?
- Are you cutting out alcohol completely or just cutting back?
- What do you hope to get out of a month (or longer) of sober living?
- How will you hold yourself accountable? Come up with a plan!
By having a clear understanding of what your motivation is along with your desired outcomes, you’ll be more inclined to stick to your plans and stay away from temptation.
SURROUND YOURSELF WITH LIKE-MINDED PEOPLE
Misery loves company…well so does positivity! Being around people who have the same goals and mindset as you can be very motivating. It’s just so much easier to stick to a new diet or challenge when we have someone else doing it with us. So try to get some friends and family to join in on this Dry February challenge!
But, if your peeps don’t plan on cutting out the booze with you, make sure they at least respect and support your decisions. This will also make saying no to alcohol much easier without any dreaded peer pressure.
AVOID TRIGGERING ENVIRONMENTS
Bars and clubs are fun, but they can also be a huge trigger for some people, especially if just starting your sober journey. I’m not saying that you can’t be social, but within the first week or until you feel confident enough to stick to your guns, perhaps a small hiatus is recommended.
Instead of the bar, try spending your time doing activities and going places that match your new lifestyle. Filling this gap with exercise is a win-win! Since you’re not consuming alcohol, which means reducing all the sugar, you are already on a health journey! So, reducing toxins and changing up your lifestyle means this is also the perfect time to start that fitness routine or a firmer commitment to the gym. You’ll come out of the month feeling that much better – both mentally and physically!
START A NEW HOBBY
So, no bar hopping or clubbing at night, but that also means no hangovers! This might free up some time and you’ll have so much more energy to put towards new hobbies😉. And, this new distraction means you will have less time to sit around and crave a drink. Maybe you’ve always wanted to take a painting class, or you bought a new book that has been sitting unread on your desk for the past two months. Whatever it is, give it a try. The world is your oyster!
EAT NUTRITIOUS MEALS
Ready for the trifecta? A healthier diet will round out this month quite nicely. Sticking to healthy, nutrient-rich whole foods will help you fight off any cravings, as well as help with any mood changes that can result from cutting out alcohol. Keep a balanced diet full of fibre, lean protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates, as these work together to help regulate blood sugar, improve digestion, and support brain chemistry1 – all things that will fast track you on your way to feeling your best.
BE KIND TO YOURSELF
We all know how easy it is to slip up, after all, we are only human, and it can take a few tries before a new habit sticks. In fact, this is something you should probably plan for. So, if you do slip up, it doesn’t mean that all your progress is wasted. Small progress is still progress, so shake it off and pick up where you left off. You can still finish off the month strong and feel good about yourself for not giving up!
Take time at the end of the month to look back and reflect on your experience. After your Dry February is over, give some thought to:
- How do you feel after this month?
- What went well and what was challenging?
- How could you improve further?
- What have you learnt about yourself?
Really assessing the month and taking stock of what worked and what didn’t will help you to see the progress you’ve made and give you an idea of what you could do better for next time. It may also give you some much-needed insight into yourself, a side of you perhaps you never really knew before!
With DRNK launching this spring, by the next monthly challenge or to help you continue on your path to sober living, we’ve got two amazing mocktails that will help you stay on track, and enjoy yourself at the same time:)