Health & Wellbeing

Four tips for getting through Dry July

It’s no secret the majority of Australians enjoy a drink in their spare time. As Dry July creeps around for another year, we take a look at four tips to get you through a whole month of not drinking with your sanity and health intact.

It’s well documented that the societal impacts of excessive alcohol consumption can be both far reaching and tragic. And its effect on your health is just as significant.

Research from the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education suggests about four million Aussies are downing three-quarters of the country’s available booze. And that one million of us are consuming an average of eight standard drinks a day – that’s four times the recommended daily intake.

Dry July sets out to challenge our entrenched drinking habits and asks participants to take a month off alcohol to help raise funds to support adults living with cancer. In fact, over the past decade, the Dry July Foundation has raised over $26.5 million to provide things for patients that may not be front of mind – like somewhere to stay near the hospital, access to wig libraries, wellness programs, Wi-Fi and transport to and from appointments. Taking care of these little details eases the stress and anxiety for patients so they can focus on what’s most important – getting better.

And – while the brief for staying off the sauce sounds simple – you might find it harder than you think.

Let’s look at four practical tips for getting through Dry July.

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Think of the money

According to Australian Securities and Investment Commission, we spend close to $14.1 billion a year on alcohol. Which seems like a lot. And once you whip out the calculator and punch out some very loose calculations you’ll soon see why this number is so gigantic.

Let’s say in a typical week you buy a couple of bottles of wine or a couple of six packs at $15 each for home consumption. Then you spend another $50 on a Friday night out after work every few weeks. That’s a rough $2,860 a year you’re spending on booze, and that’s even before we’ve added big nights out or regular social gatherings.

So, if we crunch the numbers, giving up the grog for a month puts a potential extra $240 in your hip pocket. Just think of how you can make it rain with all that spare cash you didn’t splash at your local.

Make some easy swaps

If you’re heading out and you know you’ll be in a situation where the alcohol will be flowing, you can make some easy swaps and your mates will be none-the-wiser:

  • Lose the vodka from your vodka lime and soda or vodka cranberry
  • Swap a sparkling wine for a sparkling apple juice

Most venues that serve cocktails can throw something together for you looking equally as fancy but sans grog – just ask them.

Stay social

Drying up the booze doesn’t mean the same for your social life. You’ll realise quickly that you don’t need alcohol to socialise or enjoy yourself with your mates – it can just take some getting used to. Plus, when your brain processes aren’t muddled by drink, you’ll have a clearer head to enjoy some cracking conversations (and still remember it the next day).

Here are our tips for staying social while you dry out:

  • Broaden your horizons: Check your local newspaper or events websites to catch a local event
  • Brunch club: Invite your mates or family out for brunch – you’ll be rocking a clear mind, more energy, and of course no hangover so why not seize the day!
  • Party at home: Organise a dinner party with a home-cooked meal or an alcohol-free get-together with board games or a movie
  • Cozy nights in: Not drinking is also an excellent excuse to stay in with a movie, gather your friends and watch your favourite film or TV series in front of your trusty old friend the heater
  • Get physical: Now that your time isn’t crunched by your hangover, give a new activity a go. Try a yoga class or head out for a bike ride with a friend.

Benefits beyond your pocket

Taking a break from alcohol and freeing yourself from the life-draining fog of a hangover can have a knock-on effect. According to the Dry July foundation, going dry this July can have benefits beyond more money in your pocket:

  • Increased energy levels
  • Better sleep and less snoring
  • Weight loss
  • Sense of achievement
  • Clearer skin

Committing to Dry July is no mean feat. But with these tips you’ll glide through the month and maybe even make some positive on-going changes to your relationship with alcohol.

So, if you’d like some extra cash in your pocket, a better night’s sleep, a new perspective and you’re keen to help raise funds for those affected by cancer, you can commit to the Dry July challenge here.

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