Every January, health nuts and skeptics alike come together and focus their energy on resolutions to better themselves. Whether or not these resolutions last (or if they're even that good for you!) varies, but once that clock strikes January 1st there are diets and detoxes and exercise regimes that commence. While it's pretty common knowledge that fad diets may not be the route to take for sustainable health, there are some little "reboots" that are actually helpful. Choosing the sober life is one of them, whether you're embracing Dry January or deciding to put away your wine glasses forever!
1. Saves you $$$
First things first, cutting out that brew with your burger will save you some of the cash you inevitably spent too much of this holiday season. Help your bank account reboot as your body does the same!
2. Hydration nation
If you're drinking a cocktail with dinner, chances are high your water is getting ignored to some degree. Bringing hydration back to the forefront of your mind will help you drink up the stuff that's actually necessary for your body to thrive!
3. Say "goodbye" to grogginess
Although you'll hear people swear that a glass (or two, or three) of wine is necessary to help them relax, their alcohol of choice is probably carrying that grogginess into the next day as well. Avoiding alcohol may take the grogginess that tends to become a norm — the reason you need extra coffee after a night out — out of your life.
4. Extra energy
The opposite of grogginess? Energy! Welcome to the secret weapon for meeting your 2020 goals — extra energy is an automatic benefit of a sober month. You'll be shocked how much get up and go your body has when you're not watering it with happy hour drinks every afternoon.
5. Better sleep
Your grogginess is gone, your energy has returned, what's the final step? Better sleep! Especially if you're accustomed to drinking alcohol later in the evening, you'll be shocked at how well you sleep when you don't finish your dinner with a nightcap. Since alcohol raises the body's level of epinephrine — the stress hormone — drinking it can result in random nighttime awakenings. Leveling out your epinephrine assures a better night's sleep.
6. Improves digestion
You know how you always feel a little bloated and "bleh" after a night out? Part of that is because your stomach is inflamed. Your body does it's best to get rid of toxins that enter it, and when you drown your digestive tract in alcohol, your body has good reason to freak out. If you're looking to help your digestive system function smoothly, saying goodbye to alcohol is a great first step.
7. Improves your overall physical health
The list of "reasons to cut out alcohol" is long when it comes to internal health benefits. Reducing or cutting out the alcohol in your diet can lower your chance of heart disease, breast cancer, and liver damage. It also boosts your immune system — an incredibly desirable trait as you continue to carry on through cold and flu season.
8. Improves your mental health
Alcohol is a depressant, meaning that it "brings down" your body. This includes slowing down your vital functions (the reason many experience slurred speech after one too many), impairing your memory, and increasing your stress and anxiety levels. Especially if you already find yourself experiencing anxious or depressive tendencies, alcohol tends to just boost those tendencies up. Cutting it out of your diet can help your mental health improve greatly.
9. Helps you realize how fun you actually are
I don't care who you are, the lie "I'm more fun when I'm drinking" is an excuse to go overboard and not face people as you really are. Generally speaking, social anxiety plays a huge part in this. While it may be a little out of your comfort zone, being 100 percent yourself is a great way to recognize the strengths that are genuinely yours without a drink in your hand.
10. You can still socialize!
Just because you're not drinking does not mean your ability to socialize has decreased! Any good bartender will have a solid mocktail list with drinks that are just as pretty and fun as the beverages with alcohol in them. If they don't have as many options as you'd like, just sub a cocktail's alcohol with soda or sparkling water.
11. Say "no" to a common coping mechanism
"Man, I really need a drink" is something that has slipped out of everyone's mouth at least once. While it's almost always said in a joking manner, drinking can easily become a "need" if the comment is taken literally. Drinking to drown out pain, sadness, or to just "feel better" after a long day teaches your body to cope in this less-than-healthy manner. Choosing sobriety helps you avoid dangerous coping and recognize healthy methods of dealing with stress.
12. Practice mindfulness
By not reaching for the wine bottle every time it's socially acceptable, you're able to observe your own drinking habits in what you would normally be doing in each situation. If you find yourself having to remind yourself that oh, no, you actually don't need that beer with dinner, you can see where you maybe go a bit overboard. Observing your drinking habits that aren't happening while you're sober will help you enter back into the alcohol-consuming world a healthier and more conscious individual.
13. Reboots your world
It may seem a bit extreme to go cold turkey after a month of celebration, but no one said it's forever! If anything, you'll experience a healthy lifestyle that you may actually come to enjoy.
Everyone's reasoning for choosing sobriety is different. Some are looking for a month of healthy reboot after too many office holiday party hangovers, while others are making a committed lifestyle change. No matter where you fall on the spectrum, you're sure to enjoy the health benefits sobriety brings into your life.
If you or someone you know needs help with substance abuse, call 800-662-HELP (4357) for the SAMHSA National Helpline.