Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Dry January Hints and Tips

We're halfway through the month, and the fire and energy of all those post-New-Year hangover-fuelled good intentions might be waning a wee bit. So this seems like a good time for a bonus Dry January episode, full of tips and ideas for making this sober month (or indeed whatever "month of doing something different" you've decided to take on) as beneficial as possible.

I've been doing research to make my month successful, so I've condensed down everything I've found to what I feel are the four most important tips. Here they are!

Change your mindset 
I mentioned in the last episode that one of the biggest pitfalls people fall into with sober months is their mindset - seeing Dry January as a chore or an impossible task. One of the most powerful things you can do is change the language you use, and getting rid of the word "challenge" is a great start. Focusing on the benefits and the things you will gain, such as more energy, more money in your pocket, more mornings without hangovers, rather than lamenting the things you're "missing out on" will also help hugely. 

Have a buddy
"Do you have your exit buddy?" Both in Finding Nemo and life in general, having a buddy makes all the difference. Having a friend or partner who is fully supportive of your decision not to drink, and is there to help you through the tricky times or see off unhelpful people who are overly concerned with what's in your glass is amazing. Or it could be someone else you know who's also participating in Dry January - like a gym buddy they can help keep you accountable and you can encourage and motivate each other. My exit buddies are the best - I highly recommend you get one!

Listen to your body
This can take some practice, especially since so many of us probably haven't had a conversation with our bodies that went beyond "please don't do that to me again for a really long time" in a while. But the more in tune you are with what your body and mind are doing, the more able to experience the very real benefits of being sober. The changes are often small and slow, so by really paying attention you will notice more and be motivated by what you're feeling. Ways to get that conversation going include yoga, meditation, exercise of any kind.

Be interested
This really helped me when I stopped smoking - reading, listening and watching anything about addiction I could get my hands on made the process I'm going through understandable and interesting. We're complicated, our brains even more so, and there's so much going on that it's worthwhile trying to learn about it, even if to start with it's just a distraction from cravings. On the same theme, it's also really great to be interested in your own experiences, so having a journal or making notes about what's going on for you is also very helpful. 

So those are my top tips! For more you could have a listen to Annie Grace's podcast on Dry January and have a read of our Power Of No blog post from a few months ago that has some great tips on how to embrace and practice saying "No", a word you might have to trot out a lot this month!

I have a few more ideas for you from my Month of Mediation, which so far is going pretty well. I've meditated every day and it's getting easier to make the time and fit it into my routine. Here's what I've done to help:
  • I had a clear goal at the start of the month, which was to meditate for at least 5 minutes every day, and I wrote it down.
  • I did some research, learning about different meditation techniques and practices, and downloaded some apps to help get me started.
  • I made a financial investment, by booking a 3-week yoga course with a focus on meditation, which means I'm learning a lot and have added motivation to keep going - I do hate wasting money!
  • I'm keeping track of my progress by writing down a few lines every time I meditate about what I've done and how I feel.
I reckon you could apply some or all of these ideas to just about any challenge you've set yourself. If you're doing Dry January, keep at it, and good luck with the rest of the month!


If you can relate to what you've just read, let's continue the conversation! Sharing stories is one of our most powerful tools, so leave a comment below, check out the FREEDOM junkies' facebook page, or join our group.

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