With a new year comes the exciting opportunity to better yourself and introduce positive changes in your life. What greater way to do just that than to dedicate the first month of the year towards bettering your mental and physical health. Join thousands of others around the world and challenge yourself to a month without substance use. This month, put your health first and experience first-hand the top three benefits of Dry January.

1. Boost Your Mental Health

The use of substances can lead to the worsening of many mental health symptoms. Alcohol alone can increase the chance of depression, lower serotonin levels, increase the stress hormone cortisol, and mimic the effect of anxiety, all of which can greatly impact mental health symptoms. By removing the use of substances, you remove the extra strain on your mental health. This will allow you to experience the many mental health benefits of Dry January. These benefits include an immediate boost in your mood, energy levels, and ability to focus.

2. Strengthen Your Physical Health

The benefits of Dry January do not end with boosting your mental health. It will improve your physical health as well. By taking a break from alcohol and other substances, you will be giving your body a much-needed break to rest, recover, and reap the physical health benefits of a month of sobriety. Benefits such as better sleep, a clearer complexion, lower blood pressure, stronger immune system, and even weight loss.

3. See Long-Term Change

Perhaps the best benefit of Dry January is the lasting impact it has on those who undertake the challenge. After spending a month consciously avoiding the use of alcohol and other substances, you will be more mindful about your relationship with it. According to a study by the University of Sussex, 82% of people who participated in Dry January thought more deeply about their relationship with alcohol. Furthermore, 76% learned more about when and why they drink and 71% realized they don’t need to drink to enjoys themselves. This increased mindfulness on your substance use will help you to live a healthier life all year-round.

Tips for Staying Sober

Are you ready to start the challenge? To help you experience these many benefits that come with staying sober, here are a few tips to help you have a successful Dry January:

  • Tell your friends and family – Let them know that you are participating in Dry January. Maybe even consider asking them to join you. This will help you stay on track, since you will be doing it together and will hold each other accountable as the month goes on.
  • List the reasons you drink and find alternatives – Is it a way you try to relax, have fun, or cope with anxiety? Make a list of reasons you rely on substance use. It then can help you find other activities to accomplish those objectives without them.
  • Manage your triggers – Instead of meeting a friend or family member in an environment that may encourage substance use such as a bar, consider going for a walk, meeting for a movie, spending a day at the spa, or enjoy a meal at a restaurant.
  • Track your savings – Consider how much money you normally spend on alcohol or other substances to see how much money you saved by participating in Dry January. You may be surprised to see how much extra money you have in your budget at the end of the month.
  • Talk to a professional – If you are nervous or unsure about quitting substance use on your own, reach out to a professional. At ZVHC, we offer a wide range of outpatient programs to help you meet your goals. From group sessions to one-on-one meetings with a substance use counselor, we are here to help you through this process and live a meaningful life.

Challenge yourself to put your mental and physical health first and see how the benefits of Dry January can help you kick start your wellness journey. You are not alone in your journey. Zumbro Valley Health Center has several substance use treatment services to help you stay sober all month. Contact us today to talk more about how we can help you reach your goals this, and every, year.

In the case of a mental health crisis, please call our crisis line at 844.274.7472, text MN to 741741, or call 988.