Avoiding alcohol for a month has many positive effects

Benefits of a dry January

The dry January trend is something many people do after indulging in too many cocktails over the holidays.

NYC neuropsychologist Dr. Sanam Hafeez is familiar with the benefits associated with taking a month off of drinking alcohol.

One of the benefits is saving money.

“Think of the stress you could take off your back by cutting back on the money you spend on alcohol during January,” says Dr. Hafeez.

“An average person could hit the bar twice a week, spending about $30 to $75 dollars depending on what drinks you are purchasing. Add tip, and your expenses for a night of drinking could reach or surpass $100 easily."

Taking time off of alcohol is good for your skin.

Alcohol is proven to destabilize hormones and immune functions which can make an individuals skin breakout, become dull, flushed and puffy. 

“A part of being successful when reducing alcohol intake is the compliments you receive, the energy you feel, and the changes you see in the mirror. These can all be fuel to help you live a healthier life in the new year,” says Dr. Hafeez.

Not drinking can help you achieve weight loss.

According to the Journal of Obesity, people who drink will eat more because alcohol stimulates the senses and can numb reasoning. In addition to this, alcohol itself has lots of calories.

“Any person seeking help with weight management has heard the advice ‘don’t drink your calories,’ alcoholic beverages are some of the drinks that most easily overwhelm your caloric consumption," says Dr. Hafeez.

"Drinking less or not at all for a month will leave you with improved blood sugar and cholesterol levels and help optimize your organ function, which will help you be more active and in a better mental state.”

Another reason to quit the booze includes having more energy, creativity and endurance.

“One great benefit of going alcohol-free is renewed energy. You will not be giving up your day to recover from last night’s drinking. Waking up earlier will help you establish better morning habits that prime your brain for productivity and creativity,” says Dr. Hafeez.

“You will also see improved concentration and endurance as the day goes on because your energy level will not be in a deficit before the day even begins."

Alcohol is a depressant.

“The problem comes when depression and anxiety even at the mild levels begin to be alleviated momentarily with alcohol. This can become dangerous because it will work in a negative cycle. Alcohol intake will get worse which will heighten the depression which will cause the person to drink more,” says Dr. Hafeez.

“Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that helps us feel joyful and stabilizes our mood. Drinking alcohol can temporarily boost serotonin levels, therefore making you feel upbeat, but the long-term excessive consumption of alcohol can actually lower serotonin levels, and therefore either cause or worsen depression."

Taking a break from drinking will allow for better sleep.

“REM sleep is incredibly important to the quality of your rest. When blocked by alcohol, you could lose out on the most restorative part of your sleep, which can affect the way you think, concentrate, and process information the next day,” says Dr. Hafeez.

Lastly, your time with yourself with improve as well as the relationships you have with your friends.

“It is important to note that when our friendships and relationships rely on social drinking. A booze-free month can affect how those interactions happen. While we have more time and energy, we might need to invest it in ourselves or new friends," says Dr. Hafeez.

“Self-care is important yet often neglected over a good night out for drinks. Suddenly, happy hour is not an option, but a fitness class after work is, or a workshop on a topic that interests you. The time will add up, and you can use it to promote your self-confidence and personal development."

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