Four Things to Add to Your Life During Dry January

If you haven’t heard the term Dry January, it’s a trend that’s popped up over the past few years involving abstaining from alcohol for the month of January. Similar to New Year’s resolutions focused on healthy eating or getting in the gym, it’s a way to bring yourself back to center and recommit to healthy habits after the busy holiday season when you might have been drinking quite a bit.

health benefits of dry january

Plus, there are a lot of health benefits of Dry January from physical benefits like deeper sleep, immune support, and weight loss to psychological benefits like changing your relationship with alcohol and finding yourself drinking less moving forward.

If you’re reading this and thinking, “that all sounds great, but there’s no way I can give up drinking for 31 days,” you’re not alone. Like changing any habit, Dry January is inherently difficult. This year, try reframing it and focus on these four things you can ADD to your life where alcohol may have previously interfered.

Early morning workouts

You know that friend who’s a regular at 6am spin (even on the weekends) or hits up the Lakefront Trail for sunrise runs? The one who’s had an entire day by the time you meet for brunch and is full of energy while you’re still working off your hangover?

For Dry January, find that friend or acquaintance and suggest meeting up for an early morning workout. If you decide to skip drinks with friends Friday night (although it’s totally possible to go and not drink), you may be able to replace that social activity with a Saturday morning workout.

A new nighttime routine

Sometimes after a crazy day, it can feel so good to open a bottle of wine and watch Netflix in your sweatpants. Instead, use this opportunity to implement a new nighttime routine. It can be as simple as swapping that bottle of red for a mug of your favorite tea, or you can take this opportunity to do a complete overhaul on your nighttime routine. Get those extra zzz’s for an entire month and see how the health benefits of Dry January trickle down to the rest of your life.

New hobbies

It’s totally possible to meet up with friends for happy hour and sip on seltzer, but you may find that you don’t enjoy going to happy hour quite as often if you’re not drinking. Take this opportunity to look into activities you’ve been meaning to try out but haven’t gotten around to.

Try hosting a game night, signing up for a class, or volunteering. By mixing up your routine to be less booze-centric, you may even stumble upon something great and make new friends.


I’m not a huge cocktail person to begin with, but a few weeks ago I had one that was so good I haven’t stopped thinking about it. It had a mango lassi base, cardamom, curry salt on the rim, and yes, gin. But honestly, the flavors were so interesting and well balanced that it didn’t even need the gin.

Non-alcoholic mocktail bars have been popping up all over the place as health focused consumers show more interest in cutting down their alcohol intake. A quick google search for “mocktail bars” might lead you to a new favorite spot and a new type of night out with friends.

Want to embrace your inner mixologist? Try some of these mocktail recipes this Dry January.

One of the major benefits of Dry January is the fact that shifting your social calendar and routine away from alcohol is likely to make you drink less overall even after the month ends. If you look at the month as a punishment for all the drinks you had in November and December, you might find yourself running to the bar on February first at five o’clock on the dot. Instead, use these four ideas to reframe it as a fun exercise and add new activities to your life and you’ll reap the health benefits of Dry January and maybe even find yourself less dependent on alcohol come February.

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About Kira Schreiber

Kira grew up in the Chicago suburbs and is passionate about mental health, healthy eating, and sustainability. After spending the first part of her career working for a non profit mental health agency in Southern California, she transitioned to pursue a career in her passion for cooking. Now back in Chicago, Kira spends her days developing healthy recipes for a food tech start up. When not in the kitchen or on her laptop she loves spending time outdoors, hitting up a spin class, or watching home decor DIYs on YouTube.