Annie, Student Intern tells us more about her experience of dry Jan so far, and why it’s not too late to join in …
Stop-tober, Dry Jan, it’s not uncommon for people to pledge they are going to give up something, usually alcohol, for a given period of time. Being a student this was a slightly ambitious goal of mine, but none the less I am 12 days into Dry Jan and not missing alcohol in the slightest (lies). I personally decided to embark on a dry January for health benefits and to give my liver a break after a rather wet December.
Why I think Dry January is a great idea – Annie’s story
Christmas is without a doubt one of those times of the year where we all let down our guard and start congratulating each other on how much wine and prosecco we have drank, not to mention the mince pies we’ve munched down. I love indulging over Christmas, especially when it comes to alcohol, and I’m sure this was the case for most students.
I think Dry January is a great idea, but perhaps people don’t get involved as there’s too much emphasis on having to go completely alcohol free for the whole month, to deserve any real praise. This is NOT true. For students I appreciate it’s extremely hard to go without alcohol for a month, especially when surrounded by friends who are still waiting for wine a clock every evening. The important thing is trying to give up alcohol for any period of time. If you slip up, that’s fine, just try get back on track. Even if that’s committing to just drinking on weekends during January (if you are a weekday binger).
I have had a couple of temptations so far, the most recent during bowling this Friday gone. Bowling might seem like an innocent activity that would not involve alcohol, but do not be fooled at the ability of students to find a reason to crack open a bevvy. I ordered a Latte, which received a look of a cross between pity and irritation, after my guy friends had just ordered jugs of beer (clearly the coffee machine hadn’t been used since Thursday afternoon). As the night went on my boyfriend continued to chug down the pints, occasionally turning to me and saying ‘I think I’m quite drunk’. I knew that line, it meant I was going to be out late, and I was right. 2 hours later, I’m sat in The Taf drinking water and lemon, realising that the hard bit about dry January isn’t no alcohol, its tolerating drunk students while you are stone cold sober (has my boyfriend always been this annoying?). The next day I was hangover free (yay) and felt pretty much 100%.
5 reasons why you should start Dry January now
Keeping an eye on what you drink can have a positive effect on your overall health and well-being. It can help you:
1. Watch your weight – Alcohol is heavy on calories. And with 682 calories in an average 13% bottle of wine, cutting down is a great way to stay in shape.
2. Sleep soundly – Drinking less means that you get more high quality shuteye because alcohol interferes with the normal sleep process.
3. Reduce stress – Some people say that they drink to relax, but in fact excess alcohol can actually make you feel more stressed because it’s a depressant.
4. Avoid hangovers – Keep to the daily unit guidelines and you can kiss goodbye to a sore head, dry mouth and that dreaded “what on earth was I thinking last night?” hangover feeling.
5. Stay healthy for longer – Cutting down can be great news for your long-term health. Drinking less alcohol reduces the risks of alcohol-related cancers, diabetes and heart disease. It puts less pressure on the liver too.
For some great alternatives to alcohol, try these mocktail recipes.
Things to do other than drink alcohol
Glee Club – If you haven’t’ already, you need to hit the glee club. The comedy, admittedly outrageous, is hilarious and something everyone should do at least once. They also do music events if that’s your thing. Tickets for students are reduced to as little at £5 compared to the usual adult price of £16.95. You can also get great food and drink there, so don’t hesitate, book now.
Crazy/Mini Golf – A great alternative to drinking. It’s easy to find and is located in St Davids 2 Dewi Sant, Level P3. It usually costs £7.50 for 18 holes and £12.50 for 36 holes. This may sound expensive, but do not fear they have a great student deal Monday – Wednesday, where if you show a valid student ID you only have to pay £5.50 for 18 holes and £9 for 36 holes (bargain). To top it all off they also have a bar and café serving variety of food and drinks, from cocktails to hot chocolates! .
These are just 2 suggestions from me, check out these sites for more suggestions:
Contacting Alcohol Concern
For user-friendly and non-judgemental advice on drinking, please go to Alcohol Concern’s Drink Wise Wales website. If you think you or someone you know might need help with an alcohol problem, contact e-das, the single point of access for alcohol services in Cardiff and the Vale.
Contacting Counselling, Health & Wellbeing
We have friendly and approachable staff who are able to listen to you non-judgmentally, in a safe and confidential space. Please access our drop-in from Monday-Friday 3-3:45pm for a non-bookable, 10-15 minutes appointment to have an initial chat with us or, alternatively, please refer into our service by completing our referral questionnaire.
If you are worried about your health, we strongly advise you to make a GP appointment to discuss this. If you do not already have GP please contact Park Place Surgery.
Annie, Student Intern
Your Student Life, Supported.
The Student Support Centre has a range of services dedicated to helping students make the most of their time at University, including: Advice & Money, Careers & Employability, Counselling, Health & Wellbeing, Disability & Dyslexia and International Student Support.
For further details of services, events, opening times and more find us on the University Intranet.