Photo by Danielle MacInnes

The Sober Month Challenge is a mini-timeout from drinking alcohol. As a time for reflection or a wellness challenge, it has risen in popularity over the past few years. Whether you are taking the time to reevaluate your drinking habits or participating in a competitive challenge amongst coworkers for fun, the ‘Dry January ‘is the perfect little project. It is four weeks in the year when you can practice self-care and review your relationship with alcohol.

You begin by committing to one month and remove alcohol entirely from your daily routine; in turn, you can explore your habits as a whole. The following are five tips to help set you up for success during your next alcohol-free challenge.

Tip 1: Reframe your thinking surrounding the challenge.

When entering a 30-day booze-free plan or creating a new habit program, you may be a little overwhelmed at times about the concept of not drinking for one whole month. I recommend viewing your sober project as to what you can gain from this experience. When you enter into your four-week health and wellness plan, view it as a positive practice. Think about how good you will feel at the end of your month sobriety challenge. It is time you are allotting to yourself to focus on eating well, moving daily, creating a stress management plan, adopting a good night’s sleep, as well as embracing new habits.

Tip 2: Develop a plan for your sober month challenge.

Following a schedule will add structure to your alcohol-free program and keep you busy during former boozy times. Some individuals may be joining a sober month challenge for fun, while others take the time to address their alcohol relationship seriously. Either way, it is good to adhere to a routine.

One of the goals for a booze-free month is to give your body a rest from alcohol. You want to reach the end of your challenge rested and feeling energized. Maintain a regular sleep schedule. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day, even on the weekends. Have a daily practice—a chosen project you have to show up for each day. Replace your pub time with a class where you can meet new people outside of drinking. Create a routine that will keep you moving and engaged in scheduled tasks.

Tip 3: Take care of the basics.

It’s straightforward; eat well, move more and practice self-care. Make sure the foundation of each meal is protein, vegetables, and greens. Drink your recommended daily amount of water, practice some form of movement each day, and take care of your sleep. Create a stress management plan; you will have stressful days. If alcohol is your usual bandaid, have a new solution in place for your problem. It can be as small as journaling daily, practicing yoga, or going to a kickboxing class. Be prepared.

Tip 4: Chose a short-term goal—something you would like to achieve by the end of your sober month challenge. Replace your drinking time with a new habit project and practice it daily. Perhaps there is a new skill you want to learn or a movement class you would like to take; this is your time to embrace a new craft. By committing to an actionable program for four weeks, you will develop a new healthier habit while shifting your focus from your old drinking habits.

Tip 5: Do not be concerned with the thought of others.

Everyone has an opinion on other people’s drinking habits. It’s usually a reflection on how they view their own. You are dedicating four weeks to you. Enjoy it. Just because you chose not to drink does not mean the end of fun. Socialize with others. We live in a great time. There are so many amazing masters of their craft, creating phenomenal booze-free beverages. Stick to your commitment, and do not worry about the opinion of others.

Overall a sober month challenge can be a lot of fun. It’s all about your approach. Let go of the idea that I am not allowed to drink and embrace the concept of what I can learn, who will I be four weeks from now.

If you feel you struggle with long-term addiction, please talk to a medical health professional before practicing a sober month challenge. You will go through withdrawal as you detox from alcohol, which could have severe consequences on your health. Please know, it’s ok, not to be ok. Always reach out to others if you need help. Take good care of yourself!