Go dry this July: give up alcohol for a month and see the benefits!
Do you fancy sleeping better and having more energy? What about losing weight, having healthier skin and clearing your head? There’s one simple way to achieve all this – take a month off alcohol for Dry July.
Dry July is a fundraiser that encourages you to give up the booze for a month to raise funds for people affected by cancer. So you’re not only helping yourself by improving your health, you’re helping others too – it’s a win-win!
If you’d like to take part but have a special occasion or two coming up this month, you can also have a Dry(ish) July – just choose 21 or 14 days dry.
How taking a month off drinking benefits your body
While alcohol can be enjoyed in moderation, drinking too much can negatively affect your wellbeing.
Chloe Mcleod, a professional sports dietitian, nutrition consultant and Dry July ambassador, says that Dry July is a great way to reassess your relationship with alcohol. She lists a range of reasons your body will love a month away from alcohol, including:
- Improved mental health – while it may make you feel good for a short while, alcohol is actually a depressant that can affect your mental health.
- Improved hydration – alcohol is a diuretic (think about how dehydrated you feel when you have a hangover!) that can affect your skin, concentration and energy.
- Healthier liver – the human body isn’t built to process alcohol and your liver bears the brunt of the work. Over time, it gets exhausted.
Read more about what happens to your body when you give up alcohol for one month.
It’s possible to change your habits
Has being stuck at home during COVID-19 made you drink more or less than usual? For some of us, being unable to go about our daily lives as normal has meant an increase in alcohol intake, as we catch up socially online or manage the stress of pandemic life.
While you may feel that drinking is embedded in the way you socialise, interact or de-stress, there are ways to change your behaviour. The Better Health Channel lists 10 tips to cut down on alcohol, including:
- keeping track of your drinking habits
- drinking more slowly
- making every second drink non-alcoholic
- opting out of shouts.
So next time you’re socialising – whether in-person or online – why not change the focus from booze? Challenge your family or friends to games, share your baking fails and triumphs, or take your book club online. Another trick is to serve your non-alcoholic drink in a wine glass – you still enjoy the feeling of a drink, without the downsides! Check out these delicious mocktail recipes for inspiration.
We’re committed to creating a more positive social culture
With alcohol one of the top 10 avoidable causes of disease and death in Victoria, we want to prioritise an alcohol culture change, both here at Deakin and in the wider community. Alcohol culture change recognises that shifting the social norms that support risky drinking is key to changing the drinking culture in Australia.
With funding from VicHealth, in 2017–18 we ran a two-year Alcohol Culture Change Project. We have since worked closely with DUSA and Deakin Residential Services (DRS) to promote alcohol-free events and embed cultural change across the University.
We’ve also developed a three-year Student Health Promotion Strategy, with reducing harm from alcohol one of the key priority areas. Across the University, we’ll continue to create physical and social environments that positively influence drinking culture and reduce the risk of harm.
Ready to tackle Dry July or considering a lifestyle change?
Visit the Dry July website for all you need to know about signing up to the challenge and supporting this worthy cause.
Support is here if you’d like to improve your health and wellbeing:
- Make a free and confidential telehealth appointment with one of our doctors at a Deakin Medical Centre or chat to a Deakin counsellor.
- Visit our Ask Counselling blog, which contains questions asked by Deakin students and answered by CAPS counsellors. All questions and responses are anonymous.
- Access a range of mental health resources in the eWellbeing section of DeakinSync.
- Visit the Australian Department of Health or Hello Sunday Morning for helpful information and resources on changing your relationship with alcohol.
- Contact the National Alcohol and Other Drug Hotline on 1800 250 015 for free and confidential advice.