Five Tips For Avoiding Alcohol This Dry July

Think about the health benefits

Alcohol takes its toll on our immune system, leaving us more susceptible to infection. It also promotes weight gain – when we drink alcohol, our body focuses on breaking down the alcohol and getting it out of the system as quickly as possible. When alcohol becomes the metabolic priority, we don’t burn fats and sugars as efficiently, and so store more of it as body fat.  Alcohol messes with our sleep, dehydrates us and promotes inflammation. Cutting down or taking a break from booze has huge health benefits!

Find a new way to relax

A lot of us are guilty of using wine as a way to unwind. It might feel like it works, but alcohol is often used as a short-term coping mechanism that can be damaging to our long-term mental health. Dry July is an excellent time to get to the bottom of the stressors in your life and really address the root causes. You can also test out some other ways to cope with stress in your life (because let’s face it, it’s unlikely we’ll solve all the world’s problems this month!). Yoga, meditation, exercise or listening to music can all be excellent stress-busters. Find something that works for you.

Catch up in non-boozy environments

Nothing makes you realise how much your social activities revolve around alcohol like a Dry July. This can make it tough, but the answer is not to hibernate at home in your jammies! Changing your catch-ups to something where alcohol isn’t expected can make it a whole lot easier. Go for a walk, try a new social sport or catch up for breakfast or afternoon tea. Pro-tip: morning walks and brekkies are a whole lot more appealing sans hangover!

Embrace the alternatives

What can you drink when you’re not drinking? Try these tasty alternatives (that are loads better for you than soft drinks)

  •      Water with a twist. Fruit and herbs are a great way to jazz up your still or sparkling water. Think sage and pineapple, strawberries and basil, mixed citrus or cucumber and mint.
  •      Tea or coffee. There’s so many types and techniques to try these days, you’ll be able to show off your knowledge at (hangover-free!) brunch
  •      Homemade iced tea. Regular, green or herbal teas are lovely chilled. Serve over ice in a fancy glass with chunks of fruit
  •      A mocktail. Yep, a lot of them are just as sweet as soft drinks, but they’re in smaller serves and feel more fancy so you’re unlikely to down them as quickly  

Pub peer pressure

It can be hard to stick to your guns when everyone else is drinking, especially if they’re pressuring you to drink too. A few quick tips to ease the pressure!

  •      Disguise your soda water as a G&T by asking for it in a short glass with a wedge of lime
  •      Let people know you’re driving and offer lifts. It can be easier if people have a vested interest in you staying sober!
  •      Practice your patter. Before you go out, remind yourself of why you’re doing Dry July. Write it down and say it out loud. Have a one-liner ready when people offer you “just one little drink”

Anne Finch is a Perth-based Accredited Practising Dietitian with a passion for food and kitchen craft. She has a Bachelor of Science (Human Science), a Bachelor of Science (Nutrition) and a Post Graduate Diploma in Dietetics.  She has been working at Cancer Council WA since 2013 on a range of programs to help people all over the state eat well and be healthy. She is currently working on a healthy lifestyle campaign called LiveLighter and challenging herself to a Dry July

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