Diet & Nutrition

Top tips to help you go dry this July

Giving alcohol a miss will not only benefit your health and bank balance, but you’ll be doing good for others in the process
A hand holding a wine glass in a spotlightImage: Getty

It’s time to put a cork in it! Set yourself a challenge, make some healthy lifestyle changes, and break up with booze for Dry July to raise money and help improve the lives of people affected by cancer. To participate in the fundraising campaign, sign up for free at dryjuly.co.nz, ask family, friends and workmates to donate, then give up alcohol. Here are our top tips to tackle it with gusto!

1. Define your ‘why’

Understand why you’re participating. Whether it’s for health benefits, supporting the cause or personal reasons, having a clear motivation will keep you focused. Then outline what you want to achieve, such as improved sleep, better health or a specific fundraising target.

2. Plan ahead

Avoid triggers! Identify situations or environments that may tempt you to drink and stock up on alternatives. Keep a variety of non-alcoholic beverages at hand, such as sparkling water, mocktails or herbal teas.

Woman doing Dry July holding a coffee carry cup and her phone

3. Stay social

A break from alcohol doesn’t spell the end of your social life. Suggest alcohol-free activities and organise outings that don’t revolve around drinking, such as movie nights or coffee dates. Want support? Get a friend or family member to complete the challenge with you to share experiences and encourage each other.

4. Track your progress

Document your daily experiences, cravings and feelings in a journal to help you better understand your relationship with alcohol. Celebrate milestones and reward yourself for small achievements throughout the month to stay motivated.

5. Educate yourself

Read up on the perks of reducing alcohol consumption, such as mental clarity, increased energy levels, better sleep, a sense of achievement and extra cash in your pocket!

6. Stay occupied

Engage in activities that keep you busy and distracted from alcohol cravings. Crave a glass of wine in the evenings? Turn your hand to creating Lego masterpieces, devouring a new book or finally completing that craft project you’ve been putting off instead. Take time to exercise regularly – physical activity can boost your mood.

7. Manage your stress

Practice mindfulness and use relaxation techniques. Yoga or meditation can help you stay centred and manage your stress without resorting to alcohol – so too can deep-breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation or listening to calming music.

Close up of woman's hands holding a cocktail in a glass
Out for the night? Order mocktails instead.

8. Communicate

Tell your friends and family about your participation so they can support you and avoid offering you alcohol. Be honest about your struggles – if you find it challenging, talk to someone you trust.

9. Stay positive

Concentrate on the benefits you’re experiencing rather than what you’re missing out on.

10. Be kind to yourself

If you slip up, don’t be too hard on yourself. It’s essential to approach it with compassion and a positive mindset.

  • Recgonise that you slipped up. We’re all human and cravings or social situations can lead to unintended moments of indulgence.
  • Avoid self-criticism or guilt. One slip-up doesn’t negate the effort you’ve put in so far.
  • Reflect on why it happened to learn from it. Was it stress, social pressure or habit? Understanding the trigger and adjusting your strategy can help you avoid similar situations in the future.
  • Get back on track and immediately recommit to your alcohol-free goal. Don’t let one slip derail your entire month. Continue to focus on the positive changes you’ve experienced so far.

Help is here

There is support available to help you cut down or stop drinking for good.

Alcohol Drug Helpline (alcoholdrughelp.org.nz): 0800 787 797

Alcoholics Anonymous: 0800 229 6757

Salvation Army Alcohol and Drug Support: 0800 530 000

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