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What I Learned During Dry January

This year, I decided to start things off a little differently than previous years. On the morning of January 1st, I started an alcohol fast.

For many of us, the holidays are filled with good times, good food, and plenty of boozy drinks. I love to enjoy all of those things — especially with my friends and family. This holiday season was the first time in almost two years that I wasn’t pregnant or breastfeeding. Of course those years will always be some of the happiest of my life, but I missed having wine with my Thanksgiving meal, Christmas mimosas, and (off topic) dairy. It was so nice to let loose and fully indulge in all.the.things. this year.

Once that was over, however, I was on a bit of a holiday hangover. Toward the end of December, I felt sluggish, bloated, and ready for the holiday cheer to be over. I knew I wanted to do something about this so I decided to do a Dry January.  It wasn’t like I was drinking all day everyday, and it never interfered with my parenting. But I was enjoying a little more wine than usual. So this was my way of refreshing for the new year. I started on the morning of January 1st, and basically? It was no big deal. Abstinence felt like old hat at this point. Ha!

After about a week, I was feeling so much better! My energy was up, and my clothes weren’t as snug. I felt this totally validated my choice — and it certainly made it easier to pass on things like boozy brunch or happy hour. It really helped me see clearly on a couple of things:

My Body

My body was feeling great! I felt less bloated and had more energy than I did in November/December.  And my skin loved me for this whole thing. I replaced my usual night cap with water — always a good choice. Water works miracles. It even gave me the little kick I needed to start start a diet and join a gym. I’m healthier just for that this year.

dry januaryOur Culture

Parents winding down with a drink is a pretty typical scenario. We basically encourage each other with funny memes, in pod casts, and really just regular conversation. I am not at all against the “Treat yo self” attitude many of us have when dealing with parenting. However, during my dry January, I found a few other ways to chill after a stressful day.

  • Yoga: I’m no yogi, but I love a good stretch — and the calmness.
  • Coloring: I love to color, and of course we have more crayons than necessary. So I bought myself an adult coloring book. It was a great decision.
  • Dancing: I took a tip from two of my favorite (fictional) people — Meredith Grey and Cristina Yang — and decided to release my stress with a good ol’ fashioned dance party. Sometimes with my hubby, sometimes with the kids, but mainly by myself. Because it’s fun!

My Wallet

I am so excited about the money saved. I am no wine snob as my ideal bottle is the big one I can grab for $11. However, we go out to eat at least once or twice a week, which can start to get pricey when you add up alcoholic beverages. For the whole month, I put aside the money I would normally have spent and ended up with almost $100. I planned on using that to buy all.the.wine, but instead I ended up with some CUTE shoes and a pair of jeans. YAAAAS!

This dry January proved to be a good chance to recharge after a busy holiday. It showed me how to reach outside my comfort zone and find new hobbies that I have learned to love. I am back to enjoying adult beverages again on occasion, but I’m keeping what I learned in the back of my mind.

How do you wind down after a stressful day? Have you tried a Dry January?

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