What is 'damp January' and why are people trying it this month? 3 weeks ago

What is 'damp January' and why are people trying it this month?

By Fiona Frawley

Trigger warning for those still haunted by the term 'wet pubs' - 'damp' January may evoke similar sensations.

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For many of us, the festive season and January follow a similar structure year after year. You're inundated with nights out, dinners-and-drinks and work parties for the month of December, which inevitably take their toll on your mind, body and wallet. January rolls around and you swear everything off - with booze nearly always at the top of the list. Once the novelty wears off (usually sometime around week 1), you remember that January is a miserable month, only made worse by the fact that you can't enjoy a glass of whatever it is you're into after a difficult week at work. You count down the days til 1st February when you can get on the pints again, a binge ensues, and the cycle continues.

This is why you may have heard of some people taking a different approach this year, and only slightly dampening their January rather than drying it out altogether.

The definition of Damp January is kind of in the name - a lesser version of Dry January where you don't give up alcohol altogether. There are no fixed rules - maybe you decide you'll still have a drink if there's a special occasion or get-together scheduled, or on the weekends. Maybe you decide you'll still drink whenever you fancy it, but will cap it at one drink.

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While everyone knows the benefits to Dry January - better sleep, more energy, a clearer head, less anxiety - what people may not know is that Damp January could actually be a healthier approach. Cutting back without giving up altogether can help you to practice moderation and healthy drinking habits. There are also actual health benefits to moderate drinking - it raises good cholesterol, can lift your mood and may help strengthen your bones.

Obviously, if you're a non-drinker there's no need to start just for health benefits - you're definitely fine without - but if you do drink and don't see yourself giving up, January could be a good month to practice a bit of moderation. You may end up with a new approach to drinking, and find that you don't need to consume as much or as often.

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