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Our Guide to Dry January at University

By Maddie Balcombe

‘New Year, New Me’ season is officially in full swing. We are now half-way through January and still doing our best to hold on tight to the resolutions that we set ourselves when the clock struck midnight and 2022 begun. New Year’s resolutions come in all shapes and sizes, of course, but every year there are a few challenges that the majority of the nation collectively decide to set themselves. One of these is Dry January – a universal challenge with the aim of remaining stone cold sober for the whole month of January. The Dry January movement gained momentum in 2012, and has grown more and more popular since, with approximately 130,000 people signing up to officially take part in the challenge in 2021! Taking part in campaigns such as Dry January can be extremely rewarding, but it is not without its challenges. As we know, drinking is deeply ingrained into university culture, and this makes sticking to the Dry January resolution that you may have set yourself especially difficult.

Below are some tips to make completing Dry January at university that little bit easier…

Try Some Alcohol-Free Alternatives

If you’re out for drinks with your friends, sitting with them and drinking a mundane soft-drink can feel quite disheartening. So, maybe it is time to try something new. Today, there are a plethora of non-alcoholic drinks options readily available to try in bars, pubs, restaurants and supermarkets that will make your dry January experience so much more enjoyable! From mocktails to non-alcoholic spirits, 0% beer to fake fizz, there really is an alternative out there for everyone. In fact, the non-alcoholic drinks market has an annual growth rate of 8.19%, so why not see what all of the fuss is about? Ordering innovative and original non-alcoholic drinks will make your experience of Dry January much more exciting whilst simultaneously stopping the feelings of temptation the next time you are in the pub.

Suggest Alternative Activities

Although alcohol-free drink alternatives have their place, sometimes it’s a good idea to step away from the pub and socialise in a different way. In Cardiff, us students are blessed with so many options of fun, sociable activities that don’t involve drinking. Why not go to the cinema, try your hand at bowling or crazy golf, book tickets to see a local gig, or even take a trip down to the beach. Investing your time into entertaining and stimulating activities is so beneficial for your mental health, and a great way to grow closer to, and make memories with, your friends.

Find Your Non-Drinking, Drinking Partner

As with anything that you set your mind to achieving, your goals will always be easier to reach when you have people by your side to support you. If you want to complete Dry January this year, why not get your friends involved too? In doing this, you will avoid temptations and keep each other accountable. January can be a strange month at university; everyone is drowning in deadlines and experiencing the dreaded post-Christmas comedown. So, trying to complete a resolution such as Dry January alongside your friends will make it fun and create a unique bonding experience!

Think of the Positives

Whilst you may feel as though you are missing out by partaking in Dry January, it is important to focus on the positives. January is a stressful time for a student, so staying sober will help you ease yourself back into the swing of things before the start of the new term. As well as this, now that lockdowns seem to be a thing of the past, it can be very easy to end up spending a small fortune on alcohol. Instead, you could consider setting aside what you would normally spend on alcohol each week and saving this money, or even treat yourself to something special when the month is up! Plus, think about how fresh you’ll feel on Sunday morning when hangxiety is just a distant memory.

Most importantly though, it is important to not put any pressure on yourself to stick to your Dry January resolution. This campaign should be a fun, challenging and rewarding experience, all wrapped into one. So, whether you end up successfully completing Dry January, or if you try your best but don’t quite reach the finish line, at least you gave it a go!

Image courtesy of Moritz Mentges via Unsplash

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