Every year, thousands of people bin the beers and veto the vino in the pursuit of health, but does Dry January make us anti-social at a time when we need our friends the most?
If you’re taking part in Dry January this year, we hope it’s going well. There are so many health benefits of reducing your alcohol consumption, so hopefully, you’re already feeling more energised. The trouble is, lots of people quit socialising when they stop drinking, too. Are we a nation that doesn’t know how to socialise sober?
The gloomy months
January doesn’t accommodate the social butterflies. Nobody really wants to do much in the post-Christmas slump (take it from someone with a January birthday). When you feel a bit miserable about going back to work and getting back into your normal routine, hibernating is the easiest thing to do. It’s cold and dark and the duvet is evermore enticing. We’ve come to realise that cutting out alcohol might feed this reclusive desire.
If your instinct is to shut yourself indoors until the clocks go forward, being T-total might give you a good excuse. Would you pass up on plans with friends if you weren’t drinking alcohol? We think Dry January is a great idea, but staying inside and avoiding social contact – not such a good plan.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) hits many of us in the Winter months. It’s a condition that makes us feel low and often anxious and depressed. Staying indoors by ourselves only exacerbates these feelings. So, it’s time to get back out there.
Sober socialising for your health
Seeing friends and loved ones is excellent for your health in the Winter. Here are just some of the benefits of socialising:
- Lifts mood
- Reduces anxiety and stress
- Being with people you love boosts serotonin levels (the happy hormone)
- Distracts you from the January gloom
- Gives you something to look forward to
How to socialise sober
Yes, it’s shameful that it’s come to this, but we’re a nation of boozers. Much of our socialising revolves around drinking alcohol. It’s no coincidence that the Christmas period includes lots of catching up with friends and lots of drinking. Have we actually forgotten how to socialise sober? It’s time to change this. We’ve put together five tips for sober socialising.
1. Add a bit of sparkle to life
Let’s be honest, alcohol is added to any everyday activity to make it a bit more fun. To most of us, ‘having a friend over for wine’ sounds more appealing than simply ‘having a friend over’. But, there’s other ways to add interest. For example, if you’re inviting a friend over for dinner, why not try cooking something new like sushi or Thai curry. You can make a simple meal into an exciting occasion, just by trying a new cuisine or creating a beautiful table setting to give that added sparkle.
2. Try something new
January is the perfect time to try new things. If you’ve been wanting to try a new activity, get online and search for some classes near you (as long as the activity isn’t wine tasting). Take a buddy along if you’re nervous, so you get to catch up with a friend whilst finding a new hobby. Or, if you’re feeling confident, go alone and chat to the people at the class. You could discover a new passion and you’ll add a bit of joy to your week.
3. Remember the good old days
Stretch your mind back to the days before alcohol. If you’re wondering how to socialise sober, think about the activities you loved doing as a kid. Whether that’s walking the dog, going swimming or baking cakes. There are endless opportunities to socialise by picking one of your favourite non-alcoholic activities.
4. Keep it simple
This time of year, we make excuses to stay indoors. Christmas has rinsed us of energy, drive and money. But there’s no need to plan an ostentatious gathering. Keep it simple and take time to arrange friend dates. The only goal is spending time with a loved one. The rest can be as simple or as extravagant.
5. Put yourself out
When you’re in the January slump, getting outdoors and trying a new activity doesn’t always sound appealing. You might not feel like calling a friend to arrange a catch up. You may simply want to sit on the sofa and wait out the Winter. Sober socialising requires some effort. This means getting out of your own way and exerting a little bit of energy for a good cause. We promise that it’ll be worth it, but you have to take the first step.