Dry January 2024: A Journey to Wellness with Riverside

Join Us in Embracing a Healthier Start to 2024

Dry January

As the festive cheer of the holiday season fades, we often find ourselves reflecting on our health and lifestyle choices. At Riverside, we understand that the start of a new year is more than just a calendar change – it's an opportunity for renewal and self-improvement. This is why we wholeheartedly support Dry January, a global movement that’s not just about abstaining from alcohol; it's about setting the stage for a year of mindful choices and enhanced well-being. Join us as we explore the significance of Dry January and how, together, we can make our journeys on the road and in life safer and healthier. By participating in Dry January, we are not only giving our bodies a well-deserved break but also fostering a culture of mindfulness and self-care within our community. It's a time for us to come together, support each other, and set a positive tone for the rest of the year.

By supporting Dry January, we're not just part of a nationwide movement for better health; we're also nurturing a culture of mindfulness and self-care that extends beyond our doors to the communities we serve.

In our blog, we talk about the benefits of Dry January, and it’s not just a simple blog, we are focused on a whole month campaign for the better of our community, family, and friends. We thought we’d do a comprehensive guide on what you could do to stay sober and hopefully for a long time! Even if you reduce your consumption of alcohol, it’s an achievement.

Dry January, which began in 2013 with just 4,000 participants, has grown tremendously over its 11-year span, with over 175,000 people taking part in 2023. The initiative started when Emily Robinson gave up alcohol in January 2011 to train for a half marathon. Her experience sparked widespread interest and conversations about the benefits of abstaining from alcohol, particularly after the indulgent holiday season. This led to the launch of the first official Dry January campaign in 2013, which has since gained momentum, attracting attention and participants each year. The campaign, supported by independent research, has shown long-term positive effects on participants' drinking habits. Dry January's growth reflects a growing awareness and commitment to healthier living and responsible drinking habits.

Riverside's Commitment to Safer Roads and Healthier Lives

At Riverside, our dedication goes beyond providing quality vehicles; we're deeply invested in the safety and well-being of our community. Responsible alcohol consumption is key to ensuring safer roads and healthier lives. Here's why we, as a dealership, are passionate about promoting sobriety and mindful drinking habits.

  1. Health Risks: Chronic alcohol use can cause a range of health problems, from liver disease to increased cancer risk, and worsen mental health issues.
  2. Addiction and Dependence: Alcoholism leads to physical and psychological dependence, impacting daily life.
  3. Safety Hazards: Impaired judgment from alcohol contributes to accidents, including serious road incidents.
  4. Social Strain: Excessive drinking can damage relationships, cause family conflicts, and lead to social isolation.
  5. Workplace Effects: Alcohol abuse affects job performance, leading to absenteeism and increased workplace accidents.
  6. Financial Strain: Habitual drinking incurs substantial costs, affecting personal finances and legal responsibilities.
  7. Legal Troubles: Alcohol is often a factor in crimes and legal issues like DUIs.
  8. Youth Impact: Underage drinking harms development and can lead to long-term addiction.
  9. Public Health: The burden of alcohol abuse stretches healthcare resources.

By participating in Dry January and promoting sober driving, we aim to foster a healthier, safer community. This campaign not only encourages individuals to reassess their drinking habits but also aligns with our commitment to overall wellness and safety on the roads.

Dry January Sober Happiness

So, all these problems, what are the solutions?

We wanted to bring attention to some issues, but we also want to help you with a guide on what you can do to stay busy during the dry month of January. We understand that changing your lifestyle can be challenging, so we empathise with you. However, every problem has a solution, and there are many things you can do for self-development. If you can accomplish this in 31 days, you will achieve soberness, feel more energetic, improve your relationships, and have the willpower to say no. You can plan more, take more action, and be financially happier! We have compiled a list of activities for all age groups to keep your mind occupied.

Charting a Sober Path: Setting Achievable Goals

Start by setting specific, achievable goals for your sobriety. Whether it's for a month or longer, having clear objectives can keep you focused. 

Reframing your approach to sobriety can make a significant difference. Here's a simplified way to set goals that focus on positive lifestyle changes rather than solely on quitting alcohol:

Dry January Goals
  1. Focus on Positive Lifestyle Changes: Instead of making "quitting alcohol" your primary goal, shift your focus to positive lifestyle changes. This could be improving your physical fitness, dedicating more time to hobbies, or enhancing family relationships.
  2. Set Health and Wellness Goals: Consider goals that promote overall health and wellness. For example, "I will exercise for 30 minutes every day" or "I will cook a healthy meal three times a week." These goals indirectly support your sobriety by improving your physical and mental health.
  3. Prioritise Relationships: Set goals to improve and invest in your relationships. This might include planning weekly family activities or regular catch-up with friends. Stronger relationships can provide support and distraction from alcohol.
  4. Develop New Hobbies or Skills: Aim to learn a new hobby or skill. This could be anything from painting to learning a musical instrument. Engaging in new activities can fill the time you might have spent drinking and give you a sense of achievement. Even engaging in books, check your local library for resources.
  5. Practice Mindfulness and Self-Care: Incorporate goals that involve mindfulness and self-care, such as meditating daily or having a weekly pamper evening. These practices can reduce stress and improve mental health.
  6. Celebrate Small Wins: Acknowledge and celebrate small achievements along the way. This positive reinforcement can motivate you to keep going.
  7. Avoid Temptation Triggers: Identify situations or environments that tempt you to drink and set goals to avoid or manage them effectively. For instance, if social gatherings are a trigger, plan alternative activities or have non-alcoholic drink options available.
  8. Seek Balance: Remember, the goal is not to create a rigid lifestyle but to find a balance that allows you to enjoy life without depending on alcohol.

By focusing on these broader, more positive goals, you're likely to find that reducing alcohol consumption becomes a natural part of a healthier, more fulfilling lifestyle. This approach can lead to sustainable changes without the pressure and fixation that often come with focusing solely on quitting alcohol.

Developing a Routine to Support Sobriety

staying sober and planning ahead

Establish a daily routine that promotes wellness. Include activities like exercise, meditation, and hobbies that keep you engaged and away from alcohol.

1. Understanding the Impact of Alcohol on Routine:

  • Routine Disruption: Alcohol can significantly disrupt daily routines. Regular drinking often leads to irregular sleep patterns, decreased productivity, and missed commitments.
  • Prioritising Alcohol: When drinking becomes a priority, it can overshadow important activities or special moments, leading to regret and a sense of loss.

2. The Power of a Structured Routine:

  • Framework for Success: A well-structured routine serves as a framework for achieving personal goals and maintaining sobriety.
  • Replacing Old Habits: Establishing a new routine can help replace the time and mental space previously occupied by alcohol-related activities.

3. Planning Your Day with Intention:

  • Morning Planning: Start each day by setting clear, achievable goals. This can include work-related tasks, exercise, family time, or personal hobbies.
  • Use of Tools: Utilise tools like diaries or digital planners such as Google Calendar, or Apple Calendar to organise your day. Seeing your schedule can provide a sense of control and accomplishment. They also are accessible on your laptop or email.

4. Simplifying Your Plans:

  • Attainable Goals: Set simple, realistic goals that you can achieve without feeling overwhelmed. This can include small tasks like a 10-minute walk or reading a chapter of a book.
  • Flexibility: While consistency is key, allow some flexibility in your routine to accommodate unexpected changes or challenges.

5. Building Positive Morning Habits:

  • Start with Positivity: Begin your day with a positive activity, such as meditation, going to the gym, waking up for sunrise and going for a walk, a healthy breakfast, or a gratitude practice.
  • Avoid Rushing: Allocate enough time in the morning to avoid rushing, which can lead to stress and negative feelings.

6. Establishing Evening Routines:

  • Wind-Down Activities: Engage in relaxing activities in the evening, gaming, such as reading, taking a warm bath, yoga, or heading to the gym, and sweat it out.
  • Limit Screen Time: Reduce exposure to screens before bed to improve sleep quality.

7. Consistency is Key:

  • Stick to Your Schedule: Consistency helps solidify your routine. Try to wake up, eat, and sleep at the same time each day.
  • Adjust as Needed: Be prepared to adjust your routine as you learn what works best for you. Allow flexibility in your plans. This allows you to stop yourself if any issues arise.

8. Celebrate Routine Successes:

  • Acknowledge Progress: Celebrate the successful completion of daily and weekly routines.
  • Reflect on Benefits: Regularly reflect on how your new routine is improving your life and supporting your journey to reduced alcohol consumption.​

By establishing and maintaining a structured routine, you create a stable environment that supports sobriety, enhances productivity, and improves overall well-being. It's about making deliberate choices every day that align with your goals and values, ultimately leading to a more fulfilling and balanced life.

20 Sober Delights: Fun Activities for a Fulfilling Dry January

Sober Hiking

Exercise Regularly: Physical activity is a great way to boost mood, reduce stress, and keep your mind off alcohol. It could be anything from yoga, running, and cycling, to gym workouts.
Healthy Eating: Focus on nourishing your body with healthy foods. A balanced diet can improve your physical and mental health during sobriety. There are plenty of recipes you can find online, especially TikTok, YouTube or Instagram.
Stay Hydrated: Drink plenty of water. Sometimes, cravings for alcohol can be misinterpreted as signals of dehydration. Carry a 1-litre bottle with you, staying hydrated is the key to controlling your impulses and ensuring clear thinking.
Seek Support: Join support groups or communities where you can share experiences and receive encouragement from others who are also staying sober. If you can’t then there are communities such as Reddit where people speak about addictions and it’s anonymous. If you want a social experience, then join the Dry January Facebook Group
Mindfulness and Meditation: Practice mindfulness to stay present and reduce stress. Meditation can help in managing cravings and maintaining a calm state of mind. Breathing exercises help to reduce stress. Even going for a walk can be a form of meditation, go out in your local nature areas.
Explore New Hobbies: Discovering or rekindling a passion for hobbies is a rewarding way to spend your time during Dry January. Whether it's hiking, painting, writing, or any other activity, immersing yourself in a hobby can be incredibly fulfilling. Remember, it's said that mastering a skill takes over 10,000 hours – consider this a challenge to embrace! And if your new interests take you on adventures far and wide, having the right vehicle can make all the difference. Imagine easily loading up your golf clubs, gardening tools, or art supplies into a spacious car and heading off to your next destination. At Riverside, we understand the importance of supporting your lifestyle choices, whether it's a trip to the Peak District or a local art class. Your journey to mastering a new skill is an adventure, and we're here to support it in every way we can.
Educate Yourself: Spend time reading, especially about sobriety and personal development. Knowledge can be empowering and motivational. Take something you’re interested in learning; this can help you develop new skills and share the knowledge with your friends and family. If reading, isn’t your thing, watch videos to keep engaged. Many videos on YouTube have digested books for you to easily absorb. You can also listen to educational podcasts, which have taken off in recent years as more people tune in to listen.
Volunteer Work: Get involved in community service or volunteer work. Helping others can provide a sense of purpose and satisfaction.
Practice Self-Care: Prioritise self-care activities like taking long baths, practising skincare routines, or simply having quiet time alone. Life can be stressful at times, sometimes you need time to yourself just to recharge your energy. This allows you to develop more willpower and have the energy to tackle any issues.

    Get Adequate Sleep: Sleep reduces cortisol levels and if you drink in the evenings ensure you get enough restful sleep, as good sleep is crucial for mental and physical health. Cortisol is a hormone that plays a role in stress response, and its levels naturally fluctuate throughout the day. Poor sleep can affect cortisol rhythms, potentially leading to elevated cortisol levels, which can be associated with stress, anxiety, and other health issues. Be aware that consuming alcohol in the evenings can negatively impact the quality of your sleep, leading to potential disruptions in your sleep cycle and overall, less restorative rest.
    Attend Workshops and Seminars: Look for workshops or seminars focused on personal growth and development. These can be inspiring and educational. Check Eventbrite and see what’s in your local area.
    Creative Expression: Use creative outlets like journaling, blogging, or creating art to express your feelings and document your journey. Even make your own Facebook group, start writing and exploring your mind. People will appreciate your creativity; they just need to find it.
    Stay Connected with Loved Ones: Maintain a strong support network of friends and family who respect your choice to stay sober. It’s crucial to get support from those who can support your goal. They can remind you to keep striving for improvement.
    Limit Exposure to Triggers: Avoid situations, places, or people that trigger the urge to drink. Be mindful of your environment and the company you keep. If you can’t avoid it, then read our section on what to do in social situations.
    Practice Gratitude: Keep a gratitude journal. Focusing on the positive aspects of your life can shift your perspective and reduce the urge to seek solace in alcohol. When we are more thankful, we are happier. It’s easy to focus on negatives, but a change of perspective can help you view life differently.
    Seek Professional Help if Needed: Don’t hesitate to seek professional help from a therapist or counsellor, especially if you struggle with underlying issues related to alcohol use. Sometimes it’s not easy to speak to loved ones with the fear of being judged. Seeking professional help can support you in navigating your issues.
    Celebrate Milestones: Celebrate your sobriety milestones, no matter how small. Acknowledge your progress and reward yourself. Keep progress on this, even write it down. It acts as a reminder; that you can accomplish great things.
    Reflect on Your Journey: Regularly reflect on your journey and the changes you’ve experienced since staying sober. Acknowledge the challenges you’ve overcome. Focusing on positive changes and being proud of what you have accomplished allows the feel-good effect. Even if you have reduced your consumption by a lot then that’s also an achievement. We want you to feel proud and know you can achieve in creating a successful journey.
    Plan Alcohol-Free Social Activities: Organise or participate in social activities that don’t involve alcohol, like game nights, go-karting, go ape, visiting the zoo, movie marathons, or group sports.
    Learn Stress Management Techniques: Develop strategies to manage stress effectively, as stress can often lead to relapse. We can sometimes feel overwhelmed and that causes relapses. Check out the British Red Cross for understanding & dealing with stress. There is a guide on how to manage stress.

    Dealing with Social Situations

    In social settings, choosing not to drink alcohol doesn't have to mean feeling left out or isolated. Many people find empowerment in their sobriety. A recent BBC Radio 4 discussion on “Will you be drinking alcohol over Christmas?” highlighted how numerous individuals have embraced an alcohol-free lifestyle, even in social contexts where drinking is common. Their experiences demonstrate that abstaining from alcohol in social situations is not only feasible but can also be fulfilling.

    Social Settings

    Just remember, you're not the only one. There are many people who either don't drink or are currently participating in challenges like Dry January. A simple "No, thanks" will suffice when faced with the offer of a drink. There is no obligation to anyone to explain your personal choices. Adopting this mindset can transform your social experiences, making them more about the people you're with and the conversations you're having, rather than what's in your glass.

    If you're worried about peer pressure or feeling out of place, prepare ahead. Bring your preferred non-alcoholic beverages to gatherings or explore the venue's mocktail options. This approach not only keeps you on track with your goals but also shows others that enjoying social events doesn't require alcohol.

    Ultimately, this journey is about taking control of your life and health. It's a personal choice that contributes positively to your well-being. As highlighted in public discussions and personal testimonies, living an alcohol-free life is not only achievable but can also enhance your social experiences, offering clarity and presence in every interaction. Remember, your decision to abstain is a powerful statement about your priorities and commitment to yourself.

    There are some great stories on alcohol change so you can read their experiences.

    Embracing the Lifestyle Beyond January

    Taking a month off from alcohol can be a real eye-opener. It's not just about proving you can do it; it's about feeling the benefits and deciding how to move forward. As January ends, take a moment to reflect on how the month went. Did you sleep better? Did you feel more energised? These are significant wins! Now, think about how you can keep some of these positive changes going. Maybe it's about limiting alcohol to weekends or special occasions, or perhaps you've discovered a newfound love for mocktails and non-alcoholic beers.

    Building on the habits you've developed during Dry January can have long-lasting benefits. It's about creating a lifestyle that prioritises wellness and balance. You've started this journey – why not continue exploring it? Keep testing new non-alcoholic drinks, plan more sober social gatherings, and enjoy the clarity and health benefits that come with reduced alcohol consumption. We would love to hear from you about the changes you’ve made. As it will inspire others to reduce their alcohol consumption.

    life after january

    Riverside's Role in Promoting Dry January

    At Riverside, we're not just about cars; we care deeply about the wellness of our customers and team. That's why we're big supporters of Dry January. We believe in the power of this initiative to spark positive change and promote responsible habits, including safe driving practices.

    During Dry January and beyond, Riverside is here to support you. We're committed to raising awareness about the importance of responsible alcohol consumption, especially when it comes to driving. We believe that by making small changes in our habits, we can make a big impact on our overall well-being and safety on the roads. Let's dive into the new year with a focus on health, safety, and community. Join us in making Dry January more than just a month-long challenge – let's make it a stepping stone to a healthier, more mindful lifestyle.

    Here are some great resources you can use or share with your colleagues, friends, and family:

    1. Alcohol Change UK: This website provides information on various types of support available for people who are worried about their drinking habits. They also offer a drinking quiz to help you assess your drinking habits and provide a list of NHS services directories that you can use to find support and treatment services near you.
    2. With You: With You is a UK-wide treatment agency that helps individuals, families, and communities manage the effects of drug and alcohol misuse. They offer online support for drugs and alcohol and provide a list of online support groups that you can join.
    3. NHS: The NHS provides a list of alcohol support services that you can access in your area.