What Is Dry(ish) January?
It's Dry(ish) January! Are you participating? “Dry what?” you ask? Dry January is shorthand for going alcohol-free during the month of January. It’s a chance to better understand your relationship with alcohol, and how alcohol might affect your daily life.
Why the “(ish)” in Dry(ish) January?
First off, we are all imperfect humans, and we can only try our best. This challenge is certainly not about perfection, because changing or breaking habits can be especially difficult. If you’re doing the challenge but you have a drink or two during the month, THAT’S OKAY! We in no way want to discourage or discredit anyone who is putting in the effort to take this month off alcohol seriously. You can start again the next day.
Also, we recognize that classes don’t resume until the 8th of January, which means some students might not know about this campaign before returning to class. Even if you drank alcohol before the 8th, YOU CAN STILL PARTICIPATE!
Lastly, we recognize that there could be a special occasion where you might want to drink. Having a planned night or two during the month is also not the end of the world. Dry(ish) January is about removing alcohol for a brief period so you can examine the parts of your life (social, health, financial, etc.) it may be affecting, so you can plan to create healthier changes if you choose. You can still reap all the benefits of participating, even if there is a change of plans one night. Hence, the (ish).
Slips ups are okay, they happen to the best of us. If you started late, or skipped a few days somewhere in the middle due to an event, your participation is not negated in any way. This Dry(ish) January campaign is about revisiting your relationship with alcohol to make sure it is serving you, and not the other way around.
31 Days of Dry(ish) January
Jan 1: Today, write down your personal reasons for participating in the challenge and what YOU want to accomplish - nobody else should tell you why abstaining from alcohol for a month is important.
Jan 2: What goals do you hope to accomplish by participating in an alcohol-free month? Today, make a plan for how you can accomplish them.
Jan 3: Decide how you will communicate your participation to friends and family. Are there folks who might be more resistant, and how can you signify your dedication to the challenge? Consider downloading a “Dry January” app tracker/support.
Jan 4: Happy Friday! Treat yourself to a “mocktail” to celebrate.
Jan 5: Happy Saturday! Why not get outside today and exercise - hike/bike/walk, etc. Let out some newly present energy! If you have friends with drinking plans tonight, offer to be the designated driver. Being a DD is an easy and responsible way to stay off the booze and still socialize.
Jan 6: Go on an afternoon coffee/tea/etc. date with a friend. Find time to socialize in situations where alcohol isn’t typically present, and this should help you better manage the times where it is present.
Jan 7: Got a bad case of the Monday grumps? Don’t worry, it will pass. Irritability is a very common experience when we take away substances our bodies became familiar with. Just try to make it through today. Enjoy your last day of winter break!
Jan 8: Welcome back, Western students! Stop by Red Square today for a nice warm cup of hot chocolate provided by ADCAS! We will be tabling every Tuesday from 1:30pm to 3pm, and we'll have warm alcohol-free drinks, Dry(ish) January buttons, and words of encouragement!
Jan 9: It’s Wellness Wednesday! If drinking was normally your go-to, make other plans! Catch up on a show, or read a book at home. Whatever you chose to do, remind yourself that you are a strong and capable individual, and you can stick to your goals.
Jan 10: You are about 1/3 of the way there! Any noticeable changes so far?
Jan 11: How about a fun night out at our Brrrlesque show to celebrate? Come show your love and support for our Body Empowerment group!
Jan 12: Looking for something fun and social to do? How about making tonight a workout night with friends at the Student Rec Center, and then go home, kick back together with a good movie or board game, and relax.
Jan 13: Today is a great day to practice mindfulness. Studies show that when we take a break from regular alcohol use, we can become more focused and clear headed. As you go through your day today, be extra aware of yourself, your overall well-being, and your surroundings. Try to practice mindfulness for the rest of this challenge and see what you discover about yourself.
Jan 14: It’s been two weeks since we launched Dry(ish) January, and it's a great time to evaluate what has or hasn’t been effective so far. Keep what’s working and ditch the rest. Remember to stop by Red Square today and enjoy a warm beverage, courtesy of ADCAS!
Jan 15: OOOOOoooohh! In the wise words of Bon Jovi, you’re halfway there! Treat yourself to another “mocktail”!
Jan 16: How has your sleep been affected by not drinking this month? Studies show that when we refrain from alcohol use, or drink very sparingly compared to regular use, we experience better sleep and digestion.
Jan 17: Hopefully this Thursday will be an easy, relaxing day for homework or binge-watching your favorite TV show. Remember to be patient with yourself today. Rewriting habits can be especially hard, because the use of any psychoactive substance (YES this includes alcohol) hijacks our brains reward/pleasure pathways, so our brains have a hard time telling us not to drink or use, when it has learned that drinking or using is a pleasurable means for survival.
Jan 18: Yay! It’s Friday. What do you have going on tonight and through the weekend that supports your effort in this challenge?
Jan 19: It’s your third weekend in Dry(ish) January! How has your challenge been so far? Remember, if you had any slip ups before today, be kind to yourself and focus on what you've accomplished. This isn’t about perfection, it is a learning opportunity. One day at a time!
Jan 20: You have just about a week and a half left of this challenge. Remember why you are participating, and continue to motivate yourself in whatever way you can. Talk to a friend today for support if need be. But remember that you are in control of your life.
Jan 21: It's Day 21 of Dry(ish) January! They say it takes 21 days to make a habit. How are you feeling today? Are you noticing a difference in how you view alcohol? Remember that this challenge is not an excuse to detox our bodies and binge for the rest of the year. It's an opportunity to take a break from a habit, evaluate what works and what doesn’t, and make the changes necessary to be the healthiest and happiest versions of ourselves. Write down your thoughts today, and take pride in the journey so far. Also, enjoy your Monday off classes as we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.
Jan 22: ADCAS is giving out free hot chocolate again from 1:30 to 3 pm! Be there or be …. (RED) SQUARE!!
Jan 23: You have about a week left! Hopefully by this point, the challenge is becoming a new normal and you are cruising through. Use mindful self-care today to honor your efforts.
Jan 24: Studies show that refraining from regular alcohol use can strengthen our immune system. How has your health been affected by Dry(Ish) January?
Jan 25: Having more than three drinks in one sitting temporarily increases your blood pressure, and heavy, frequent drinking can lead to long-term increases in blood pressure. If you've been participating in Dry(ish) January, at this point in the month, you might see a healthy lowering of your blood pressure. Why not do something that makes your heart happy to honor it!
Jan 26: Have you been working on any other resolutions or challenges this month besides refraining from alcohol? If so, how did the two (or more) efforts work together? Did giving up alcohol make it any easier? Harder? No effect?
Jan 27: You are so close to reaching the end of January. Great job! If you're just hearing about the challenge, you can still jump on board for the remaining days of the month! Or, you can start your own Dry(ish) February (or March or April ...) challenge using the tips listed at pws.wwu.edu/dryish.
Jan 28: Have you noticed how your spending habits have changed during this challenge? Did you save money, invest in yourself, etc.? Make a note of positive changes, and see how you can use this alcohol-free challenge to inspire more positive changes throughout 2019.
Jan 29: Who has been your biggest ally for Dry(ish) January? Reach out to that person today to say thank you. If this has been a bit of a solo month, reflect on your efforts with gratitude, and thank yourself for being patient, determined, and courageous.
Jan 30: It’s almost your last night of the Dry(ish) January alcohol-free challenge! What has been your favorite memory of this month? Do something special for yourself tonight.
Jan 31: It's the last day of Dry(ish) January - WAY TO GO! Reflect on your accomplishment today. What have you learned or gained from this experience? How do you think your relationship with alcohol might be different from here on out? Finishing the challenge presents the opportunity to continue the healthy habits you've established, rather than heavy drinking in response to being done. Moderation is always the safest bet. Be proud of yourself. You set a goal and you accomplished it!