»

How to make an alcohol free January possible

Could you go for a month without booze? If you've spent December with a glass of wine permanently clutched in one hand or are simply feeling the after effects of one too many nights out, pick up some tips for a healthy, alcohol free January.

Enjoy yourself without alcohol. Credit: Getty

Don't be boring
You could find yourself tearfully staring at yet another glass of water if you don't stock up on non-alcoholic drinks before you start your detox. Don't give in to the craving for a glass of red - try mixing fruit juice with sparkling water, experiment with hot and cold herbal teas, or make your own smoothies.

Treat yourself

If you're giving up booze, don't be too hard on yourself. Unless you're a hardcore detox expert, trying to cut out alcohol, sugar and caffeine for a whole month could lead to desperate binges on leftover boxes of Quality Street. Not drinking can help you to lose weight, as you won't be consuming the empty calories you usually do, so eat a normal, healthy diet to ensure you stick to it.

Go out
Don't let your social life suffer as a result of your alcohol detox. Arrange a gentle night out with friends, such as going out for a meal and a cinema trip, and prove to yourself that you can still have fun drinking cranberry juice minus the vodka. Heading out clubbing or for a dinner cooked by your wine buff buddy is best avoided until February.

Save your skin
If you normally spend £5 on a bottle of wine and drink three bottles a week, you could save £60 a month. Use the money to have a massage or facial during the last week, as a reward for saying no to the demon drink. Giving up alcohol can often have a dramatic effect on your complexion and you may notice you have softer, clearer skin by the end of the month.

Sweat it out

If you're more used to sitting in front of a DVD with a bottle of wine, your normal pleasures might lack their usual sparkle. Introduce something new to your routine, such as taking up a dance class or starting a walk/jog programme. The endorphin rush you feel after exercise will keep you motivated to continue your detox.

Write about it
Keep a record of how your alcohol detox makes you feel. If you use those few glasses of wine or a night out as a way to escape from stress, writing about your feelings every day can offer a less destructive way of dealing with them. At the end of the month, re-read your diary and think about ways of changing what you're not happy about.

Keep going
If you're a regular drinker, experts recommend you have at least two or three alcohol free days a week to help your system recover. When January ends, your month without booze should help you to abstain for a few days each week without too much of a problem.