Dry January Sound Too Daunting? Damp January Might Be Right For You



Jan. 11 2024, Published 8:00 a.m. ET

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People enjoy setting goals at the start of a new year because of all the promise it holds. You might be one of the many people considering drinking less alcohol to improve your health but switching entirely to nonalcoholic beverages might not sound very fun. Instead of struggling to get through an unenjoyable dry January, try a damp one instead.

What Is Damp January?

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Damp January is a month-long commitment to drinking less alcohol and being more mindful when pouring yourself a drink. It’s an alternative to dry January, which is when people stop drinking any form of alcohol until February 1. 

In addition to avoiding hangovers and feeling less bloated, people who drink less alcohol enjoy better cognition, according to research from Neurology. You could gain the focus and energy you need to achieve your other goals instead of having booze muddle your thoughts.

Ways To Enjoy Damp January

The idea of enjoying fewer alcoholic beverages may seem intimidating at first. Use these ideas to make the transition easier during your damp January experience.

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1. Explore the world of mocktails.

Sober-curious Gen Z and millennial consumers are a significant reason why the world of mocktails is so expansive. Due to the expansive health benefits, the “no and low” alcohol drink market continues to grow in popularity.  

You’ll find them in stores and through online retailers, so browsing potential flavors is easy. Bring a canned mocktail box to enjoy alcohol-fee cosmopolitans or margaritas during your next winter get-together. You’ll sip on the flavors you love without the adverse health effects of imbibing too much alcohol.

2. Set a reasonable drinking goal.

People tend to start damp January because they know eliminating alcohol for an entire month isn’t a realistic goal. They might not want to quit their nightly glass of wine or weekend whiskey entirely.

Even if you don’t stop drinking alcohol entirely, you might still set a lower goal. Consider damp January rules like cutting your drinking by half or limiting yourself to a specific amount each day. When you do indulge, you’ll know when to stop and continue sticking with your health goal for the month.

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3. Use a mindfulness tool.

A new notebook or a journaling app could be an excellent addition to your damp January. You’ll have specific space to reflect on your drinking habits, like what emotions you feel while pouring a glass or after imbibing. You could learn more from your experience by reading your entries when the month ends. You’ll know if you discovered something new about yourself, enjoyed the experience or want to continue.

Journaling is also a helpful tool in other aspects of your life. While noting your damp January experience, you could save space for writing about your therapy appointments or conversations with friends. It’s easier to support and learn about yourself when you can see and reflect on your thoughts.

4. Join a ‘Damp January’ group.

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Source: Pexels

Quitting something can be challenging when you’re alone with your self-critical thoughts. Find a damp January group online or ask a few loved ones to join you for the month. You’ll have sources of external support while you stick with your goals and people to vent with when your new routine feels daunting.

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5. Alternate your beverage options.

Cocktails and mocktails aren’t the only fun beverage options at your disposal. You could explore other drinks to distract your mind throughout the day. Start your morning with dandelion tea to reduce your inflammation from drinking the night before. Chamomile tea in the evening could produce the same relaxing effects as a glass of wine.

Other great options include sparkling waters, healthy sodas, and homemade fruit or veggie juices. Explore potential recipes and products to expand your beverage world beyond the bar.

Improve Your Health This Year

Drinking less often during damp January is an easy way to improve your health this year. Set a reasonable goal and find alternative beverages for fun during this dark and chilly month.

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By: Mia Barnes

Mia Barnes is a health journalist with over 3+ years of experience specializing in workplace wellness. Mia believes knowledge is power. As the Editor-in-Chief of Body+Mind Magazine, Mia's goal is to cover relevant topics to empower women through information.

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