Councillor champions ‘Dry January’

Councillor Clare Paul will be taking on the ‘Dry January challenge’ – and is encouraging others to join her!

Cllr Paul, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member with responsibility for health and wellbeing, will be doing her best to abstain from alcohol in January –and sharing her experiences on social media, along with tips on zero-alcohol alternatives such as mocktails.

“Like many, working remotely and therefore being at home so much this year has resulted in my alcohol consumption creeping up. Not needing to drive during lockdown, and so no designated driver duties and no risk of being over the limit the next morning, offered opportunities to have an extra cider,” she commented.

” I am looking forward to the challenge of not drinking for a month and the benefits that will bring but I know it is hard for some of us, so be kind to yourself and allow yourself to set your own Dry January challenges and goals.  Whatever your personal motivation for wanting to drink less, I encourage everyone to join me.”

It has been a difficult year for all of us, and in a year of extraordinary change and uncertainty many people drunk alcohol to help manage stress, anxiety and depression – it has been said that drinking is the UK’s favourite coping mechanism.

At a time when adopting a healthy lifestyle has never been more important, many of us have found ourselves slipping into habits we know we should change.

Dry January 2021 is an opportunity to reset our drinking habits. According to research, the Dry January campaign helps people to drink more healthily year-round. Evidence shows 70% of participants still drink at a lower level 6 months later, it helps us to reset our relationship with alcohol.

Many of us know about the health risks of alcohol – liver disease, mental health problems and even several forms of cancer amongst others. However, we are often, unaware that drinking less has great immediate benefits too; including better sleep, feeling more energetic, saving money, losing weight and building a stronger immune system. Dry January helps millions of people to experience those benefits and to make a longer-lasting change.

Those who take on the official Dry January with support are twice as likely to stay dry throughout the month and to enjoy all the benefits, compared to those who try to do it alone. Search online for ‘Dry January’, where you can sign up for the brilliant Dry January coaching emails or download the free app, Try Dry. Through the app you can track your units, calories and money saved throughout the month and set your own goals year-round.

If you drink very heavily regularly, Dry January may not be for you, check with your GP or local alcohol service before you start – help is available locally at: www.turning-point.co.uk/services/sdas  

If you experience physical symptoms when you stop drinking (which may include but are not limited to shakes, sweating, restlessness, insomnia, nausea, stomach cramps or hallucinations) you should seek medical help urgently.