­”I’ve never felt better”: A Dry January Round-Up

Pressing deadlines, depressing weather and the pressure of New Years’ Resolutions: if January isn’t challenging enough, the brave and the bold among us decided to take part in Dry January last month.

Cutting out alcohol for a month is quite the feat for many, but for a student? We take our hats off. This January, SCAN talked to Lancs students, to discover the benefits of such a challenge.

A Brief History

Established in 2012 by Alcohol Change UK, the Dry January campaign involves a month’s abstinence from alcohol, to raise awareness of the many ways that consumption impacts daily lives, and to encourage re-evaluation of our relationships with it. Alcohol Change UK are a charity supporting those affected by alcoholism, and promote healthy, moderated approaches to drinking. Dry January has taken the UK by storm in the last decade, and has positively impacted drinking habits nationwide, not just in January, but year-round.

Positive Effects of Dry January

Physical Health

Over Michaelmas term, the ravers of us may have drunk our bodyweights in alcohol. Add the festivities of Christmas to the equation, and our livers could definitely use a breather.

According to Alcohol Change UK, a month off does wonders for the body: lowering blood pressure, cholesterol and cancer-related proteins in the blood, as well as brightening the skin and improving sleep quality.

These affects have definitely hit in Lancaster this month. A student told SCAN, “I’ve been sleeping incredibly, I can’t lie”, while another claimed: “I’ve never felt better”!

Mental health

Being alcohol-free for a month can significantly improve our mental wellbeing. Yes, going out may not be as fun anymore, but Dry January allows for calm, quality time alone or with friends: who knows what new hobbies may emerge, or what you’ll discover within yourself from having time to breathe?

Resting and restoring is vital, particularly at this time of year – trooping into uni for an intense day of work is never fun with a hangover. Imagine how much more efficient we’d be, and how much prouder of ourselves.

Lancaster students completely agree. One told SCAN, “I’ve done it every year that I’ve been at uni. A lot of the time it’s good for me to reset for 1/12 months a year. I want to test my own self-control and see the effect that no alcohol has on me.”

Meanwhile, another said: “A night in is so precious, particularly in third-year. I’m so busy that any moment I can steal for myself for a pamper, a call home and a book in bed, makes me feel amazing.”

How to Have Fun Without Alcohol

If you don’t trust yourself to go out without having a cheeky pint or shot, what else is there to do?

  • Film night – visit Vue in Lancaster city centre, the TakeTwo Cinema on campus, or treat yourself to a chill night in, with pyjamas and hot chocolates!
  • Games nights – tell your friends to bring their favourite games and one communal snack, and you’re in for an evening of endless fun! Whether it’s a competitive tournament, or relaxed social games and quizzes, you cannot go wrong. A perfect ice-breaker for newbies, too!
  • Societies – Lancaster offers a huge array of societies that have meetings, classes and socials every single night of the week. No matter what you’re into, there will always be something to attend!
  • Mocktail Nights – you still fancy going out? Mocktails are currently on the rise in popularity and keep improving in quality too! Sold both in bars and supermarkets, they add guilt-free spice to any drinks night.

Arguably, life is hard enough without giving up such a uni staple, but Dry January proves that alcohol isn’t needed for a good time. In fact, giving it up for a while could be what students need, to prioritise our wellbeing ready for whatever 2023 has in store.

A huge congratulations from SCAN, to those who completed Dry January this year. For more information and support, Lancaster University Sober Society have created a wonderful community for non-drinkers, and those looking for a good time without alcohol.

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