Each year, plenty of people try to participate in dry January. There are many health benefits of giving up alcohol for a month, which is why dry January is often part of New Year’s resolutions. But taking part in dry January isn’t always easy, especially when you’re at university and surrounded by students, clubs, drinks and parties. But don’t worry – it’s only a month, and the festive celebrations are out of the way. So here are our tips for surviving dry January at university to help get you through.

What is dry January?

The campaign ‘dry January’ is run by Alcohol Change UK, who aim to reduce the harm caused by alcohol. It involves giving up alcohol for a month – specifically the month of January. Although new year’s resolutions can be a little bit of a marketing ploy, there’s actually huge benefits to giving up alcohol for 31 days.

What are the benefits of dry January?

Alcohol Change UK claim that giving up alcohol for dry January encourages better sleep, better skin, more energy and concentration and better mental health. These are all thing students are desperately seeking right? One of the biggest benefits is also the money factor, where 86% of people who took part in dry January saved money.

There’s not really any downside, all though you might find socialising that bit harder. But trust us, February is just a few weeks away and think of how much healthier you’ll feel reenergised and refocused. If you want to give it a try but not sure how you’ll manage, keep reading for our tips on surviving dry January at uni.

10 tips on surviving dry January at university

1. Mocktails are your friend 

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If your friends are having a drinking night, rather than joining in but with a glass of water or coke, why not spice it up? Make yourself a mocktail so that you still get the fun fruity flavour of a drink, but without the hangover tomorrow morning. Plus, this is a great way to get some vitamins in you, as most mocktails are just a mix of fruit juices.

2. Make a pact with your flatmates/friends 

One of the reasons you might struggle with dry January is your friends. If you think that’s going to be the case, why not speak to them beforehand and make a pact to all do dry January? Or, if they’re not up for it, at least tell them to not offer you a shot when you’re all at spoons, and set the ground rules up. It’ll be easier to not give in to peer pressure if your peers aren’t pressuring!

3. Try alcohol-free drinks

alcohol free drinks
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There are plenty of alternatives to alcohol now that help you to survive dry January. Big brands like Koppaberg are making and selling alcohol-free versions of their own drinks. If you’re taking part in dry January this year, it might be easier to pick some of these up! That way you get all the flavour and you won’t feel like you’re missing out.

4. Pick up some new hobbies

If you don’t think you’ll be able to turn alcohol down in a social situation, why not use the time you’d normally spend at the pub to pick up some new, fun hobbies during dry January. Try cross-stitching, or gaming, or catch up on the films you said you wanted to watch last year? There are always new skills to learn, you could even use Duolingo and learn a new language!

5. Remember why you’re doing it 

Usually, people who do dry January have a reason behind it. Whether you have known someone who struggled with alcoholism, or you’re on a health kick, either way – take that reason and treasure it. Make sure you remind yourself of precisely why you’re doing this every time you get tempted to say yes to that pornstar martini your friend’s offering you. After all, it’s only a month! You can have as many martinis as you want once it’s done.

6. Plan something to celebrate

If it’s getting to the point where this is becoming really hard for you, then make sure you’ve got something planned in early February to celebrate your success. That way, you can keep that in mind whenever you fancy a drink. But of course, don’t go too overboard when February does come around! Drink responsibly, always!

7. Keep any alcohol out of your room 

say no to alcohol for dry january
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When we’re at university, there is an inclination to keep your booze in your room. After all, sometimes flatmates just cannot be trusted. But if you’re alone in your room and get a pang of the winter blues, you’re more likely to slip and ruin your track record. Keep your drink in the kitchen, or better yet, give it away or sell it. That way there’s no temptation!

8. Get involved in sports or fitness

If you refocus your energy, you’ll have less energy to spend craving alcohol. Taking up a sport or fitness hobby is also great for measuring the benefits of giving up alcohol for a month. During this time, you’ll likely be able to notice your physical fitness improving. This can then drive you forward and keep you going throughout dry January.

9. Look to celebs

So many celebs don’t drink, so you’re in good company if you’re doing dry January. Natalie Portman, Blake Lively, Zac Efron, Bradley Cooper, Robert Downey Jr, Christina Ricci, Lana Del Ray are just some of many who don’t drink alcohol. They seem to be doing pretty well too!

9. Download the app! 

Alcohol Change UK, the campaign organisers behind dry January have a free app to help you out. It can spur you on through goal-setting and monitoring. Or, you could sign up to their coaching emails for extra support and motivation throughout dry January.