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05th Jan 2023

What is ‘damp January’ and why are people trying it this month?

Fiona Frawley

several half-poured pints of guinness lined up on a bar

Trigger warning for those still haunted by the term ‘wet pubs’ – ‘damp’ January may evoke similar sensations.

For many of us, the festive season and January follow a similar structure year after year. You’re inundated with nights out, dinners-and-drinks and work parties for the month of December, which inevitably take their toll on your mind, body and wallet. January rolls around and you swear everything off – with booze nearly always at the top of the list. Once the novelty wears off (usually sometime around week 1), you remember that January is a miserable month, only made worse by the fact that you can’t enjoy a glass of whatever it is you’re into after a difficult week at work. You count down the days til 1st February when you can get on the pints again, a binge ensues, and the cycle continues.

Learning to moderate your alcohol consumption could be the healthier approach. 

This is why you may have heard of some people taking a different approach this year, and only slightly dampening their January rather than drying it out altogether.

The definition of Damp January is kind of in the name – a lesser version of Dry January where you don’t give up alcohol altogether. There are no fixed rules – maybe you decide you’ll still have a drink if there’s a special occasion or get-together scheduled, or on the weekends. Maybe you decide you’ll still drink whenever you fancy it, but will cap it at one drink.

You could limit drinking just to special occasions, or cap it at one drink.

While everyone knows the benefits to Dry January – better sleep, more energy, a clearer head, less anxiety – what people may not know is that Damp January could actually be a healthier approach. Cutting back without giving up altogether can help you to practice moderation and healthy drinking habits. There are also actual health benefits to moderate drinking – it raises good cholesterol, can lift your mood and may help strengthen your bones.

Obviously, if you’re a non-drinker there’s no need to start just for health benefits – you’re definitely fine without – but if you do drink and don’t see yourself giving up, January could be a good month to practice a bit of moderation. You may end up with a new approach to drinking, and find that you don’t need to consume as much or as often.

Header image via Shutterstock 

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