Lifestyle

10 Brilliant things to do instead of drinking

With the winter nights now drawing in, it's all too easy to reach for a glass of wine to help get yourself through another cold, dark night.

Dry January is a great opportunity to give up alcohol for a month. It allows you to think about the amount you’re drinking and break any bad habits. Here are ten simple things you can do to improve body and mind during January (or indeed any month):

1. Join an evening class

If current COVID-19 restrictions allow, an evening glass is a good way to get out of the house. It's a great way to meet like-minded people as well as opening yourself up to new ideas and hobbies. Why not try joining a sewing or bread making class or even learn a new language?

2. Take up baking

Like many during lockdown, you could try your hand at baking. It’s great for calming the mind and helping you to switch off. “Explore healthy alternatives like beetroot brownies and banana pancakes,” says TerriAnn Nunns, founder of the TerriAnn123 Diet Plan (terriann123dietplan.co.uk)

3. Volunteer

Local councils are always looking for people and not only will it give you a purpose and make you feel involved, you’ll be helping others too. Please check your local restrictions to see if you can do this at the current times.

4. Join the local gym

It doesn't have to mean sweating it out on a boring treadmill. Most modern gyms offer a wide range of facilities and classes. Get your friends to sign up too so you’ve got some moral support. If your gym is currently closed due to COVID-19, why not get out in the outdoors for an hour or two?

5. Leave reality behind

For an hour or two at the cinema or theatre. Many venues offer cheaper tickets on certain days and evenings of the week.

6. “Make lists”

Says Laura Willoughby, campaigner and founder of mindful drinking movement Club Soda (joinclubsoda.co.uk). “The experience of putting it all down on paper will provide you with a template for what to do the rest of the month and is a distraction from drinking.”

7. Go for a walk

January’s cold, crisp days are ideal for wrapping up warmly and stretching your legs. If you can’t get out into the countryside, visit your local park on a sunny day.

8. Visit a new place

“Travelling is a wonderful way to explore and learn about other cultures.” says TerriAnn. As there are restrictions on travel at the moment, why not pick somewhere closer to home that you may not have realised was accessible? 

9. Go to the library

“It’s free and allows you to pick up books you might not want to take a chance spending money on,” says Helen Foster, author of Quit Alcohol (For a Month). “My rule is to choose the first five books that catch my eye no matter what they’re about. If you don’t enjoy them you just take them back.” Please check your local guidelines before visiting.

10. Drink something else!

If you don’t want to miss out on a treat, swap your evening glass of wine for an alcohol-free option. There are a wide range of brands and labels on the market that look and taste like the real thing, but without the negative effects on your health.