After a month of holiday parties and a New Year’s Eve that may have been celebrated with a few too many glasses of champagne, many people are looking for a refresh right about now. In fact, Dry January—giving up alcohol for the entire month—may be sounding pretty good. But is it worth it to stop drinking for just a month?
“January is a natural time for people start thinking about changes they want to make,” says Ben Atkinson, manager of nutrition, informatics and wellness at Harborview Medical Center. “There are a bunch of different changes that I think alcohol can affect.”
From your wallet to your waistline, going sans sip for a month can create a ripple effect of positive results, he says. Here’s how your body and life may benefit if you stop drinking, plus what to consider when it comes to liver health.
High roller: Stop drinking and save money
One of the sneakiest ways that alcohol can affect your life is by draining your budget, says Atkinson. The average millennial spent $461 on alcohol in 2016, while Gen Xers spent $552, according to a consumer survey. The amount you could save in a month will obviously depend on a lot of factors, like how often you drink, where you imbibe and the type of booze you prefer.
Cutting back could help you learn to be more cautious with your alcohol purchases the rest of the year, says Atkinson. And with the money you save you could potentially pay to learn a new hobby or take a trip, he says. A month of sacrificing drinks for a ticket to somewhere sunny? We’ll take it.
Shaken, not stirred: The health benefits of giving up alcohol for a month
Then there’s the impact drinking can have on your health goals. If you’re trying to lose weight or just generally improve your health in 2018, ditching alcohol could help you see results right away, says Atkinson. Just take the calories, for starters. Depending on its alcohol content, one IPA could have more than 200 calories. Throw back a few a week and it really adds up.