Happy New Year! I hope your 2021 is off to an incredible (or at least moderately hopeful) start, especially in your inner world… The only world you have control over.
If you’re feeling anxious, you’re not alone. As uncertainty continues into 2021 with the lingering pandemic, unsettling political climate, and ongoing quarantine feelings of stress and anxiety are at an all time high. It’s super important to double down on your self care practices and make feeling good top priority.
On that note… Let’s talk about Dry January?
I know, I know… That’s a terrible segue but then again there is no good segue to say: “Hey, have you considered ditching your (insert beverage of choice) for 31 days to better manage stress?”
What is Dry January
Dry January started with 4,000 people back in 2013 as an initiative by Alcohol Change UK, a British charity, to “ditch the hangover, reduce the waistline and save some serious money by giving up alcohol for 31 days”. To say this initiative picked up momentum is an understatement, it has grown to include over 4 million people taking part in 2021.
While I don’t think there is anything inherently wrong with a having a drink, I do think it’s important to investigate why you are having that drink, and how it’s impacting your wellbeing.
With rising rates of alochol consumption during the pandemic, for many, it’s become a go to coping strategy for stress and anxiety.
Whether you are an avid wino (like I was) or an occasional cocktailer …
I invite you to get curious about your relationship with alcohol this month. Trust me, you will gain more wisdom through this process than a million yoga and meditation sessions combined (those help to though).
How to get started
You might have started at the beginning of the month, or maybe you’re feeling settled in after the holidays and ready to begin now. Maybe you just want to do 15 days maybe you’re ready to take on a 90 day exploration.
Honestly, the number doesn’t matter. What matters more is your attention to the behavior. The mere fact that you are reading this is a huge step in examining your relationship with alcohol.
To get started with going dry you’ll want to focus on doing the following two things:
- Identify your why
- Identify new beverages of choices
I encourage you to approach this less as a challenge and more as an exploration. The goal here isn’t to eliminate alcohol from your life for good, though that may happen, but rather for you to examine your relationship with alcohol and asking some tough but necessary questions: How is it serving you? Are you mindlessly or mindfully consuming it? Are you self medicating with alcohol?
Journaling is a great way to process all of these questions and other thoughts that may come up along the way.
Identify your why
Whereever you are in the Dry January process make sure you have identified your reason for taking on this exploration. Your WHY is key to creating any type of change in your life.
A few common reasons to go dry could be:
– Mental clarity
– Lose weight
– Tired of hangovers
– Better manage emotions
– Save money
The list can go on and on. Identify a “why” that really resonates with you, write it down on a post it and stick it somewhere you keep your beverage of choice.
Top 5 alcohol free beverage alternatives
You also want to identify new AF (alcohol free) beverages to replace your current beverage of choice.
Below is a list of 5 alcohol free beverages I regularly enjoy:
Guyaki is the brand I drink. I love yerba mate because of it’s slightly bitter taste and heavier mouthfeel. Also, I’m avoiding coffee so yerba mate serves as an alternative.
Cacao has been used as a potent mind and heart elixir for thousands of years dating back to the mayan and aztec civilizations. Consuming pure drinking chocolate is becoming more and more accessible these days with more brands popping up. I came across the Cacoco brand at a local farmers market a few years ago and have been a loyal customer ever since. This flavor contains stoneground coffee as well which provides a balanced dose of caffeine.
Gingerade kombucha has a zesty bite to and a bold flavor which is why I love it (I like bitter flavors). The natural effervescent gives you a beer like feel when you drink so it makes for a great AF alternative. Please note because of the fermentation process of how kombucha is made it contains trace amounts of natural alcohol. Also this is not hard kombucha.
Mushrooms are all the craze these days and I’m not talking the magic kind though these have a magic of their own. Similar to cacao, mushrooms elixirs have been around for ages. Many cultures brewed mushrooms like chaga or turkey tail in lieu of coffee to get a powerful boost of immunity and energy. I like the Four Sigmatic brand, they have a number of flavors and a great story.
Next time you wander into your local bev mo take a detour to the AF section, yup there is an entire section, there you’ll find dozens of alcohol free options ranging from IPA’s to stouts. In all honesty I never was a beer girl, but when I found a good beer I loved, I would be that beer girl. If I had to pick a beer I enjoyed it would be the rare Belgian or an IPA. That being said this AF alternative by Athletic Brewery hits the spot when I’m wanting that bitter IPA taste.
Those are my top AF alternative recommendations to get your started. There are a lot of new elixir products emerging that support the nervous system without disrupting it. I’ll be experimenting with them as they come my way and will certainly report back when I do.
You can find a current list of AF beverages that I’ve experimented here.
Do you have any AF beverages you enjoy? Share your recommendations to the comments.
Peace & Love