PEORIA, Ill.– The start of the new year means new goals and for many adults that includes drinking goals.
Dry January, which started January 1st, marks the time of year where people decide to take a break from alcoholic beverages for the month.
Health officials agree that taking a 31-day break from the bottle is not only good for the skin, waistline and vital organs, but it also offers mental benefits.
Luke Raymond, manager of behavioral health services at OSF Healthcare, said the benefits of fasting from alcohol offer a range of psychological advantages.
“First and foremost you might notice a little improved mood,” Raymond said. “You might notice improved energy level, better sleep, better relationships with others.”
Raymond said the month should also be used to reflect whether or not someone is dependant on alcohol.
“Before people consider doing a sober month or a dry January, for example, it’s important to really first identify that relationship you currently have with alcohol.”
He said many humans use alcohol as a short-term feel good and even as a means to fall asleep when in reality it promotes sedation rather than sleep that in turn causes people to feel less rested. Raymond said taking a step back and examining one’s behavior with a clear mind could lead to a new healthy way of life.
“The idea with this strategy is to identify and potentially harmful or dangerous that you may be engaging in [when intoxicated] and then move forward,” Raymond said.
He said a healthy way to use the month of sobriety would be substituting drinking with new activities, such as going for a walk or even taking a cooking class.