It’s that time of the year, after a well deserved week of festivities, wholesome family gatherings, turkey sandwiches and… maybe a little too much to drink?

A tipple here and there can be a lovely thing to enjoy during the festive season, but for those who want to rid themselves of the negative impacts of alcohol on their health, it may be worth thinking about going cold turkey for Dry January.

Other than not having to deal with a hangover, good reasons to try Dry January can be:

- You can support your gut health - alcohol disrupts the delicate balance of bacteria in your gut, which serve many purposes including - helping you digest your food, to help protect you from bad bacteria, viruses and other microorganisms, support your immunity and much more.

- Strengthening your immune system as alcohol suppresses immunity and depletes the body of immune supporting nutrients

- You help your liver detoxify other substances better

- You can avoid drinking the empty calories

- You can get better sleep as alcohol reduces your REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep phase, which is important for learning, memory consolidation and mood.

- To have better mental health, as alcohol is a depressant and can alter moods. Short term drinking can certainly make you feel merry, but long term dependence on alcohol can have negative impacts such as depression and anxiety.

- You can reduce your risk of diseases such as Heart Disease, High Blood Pressure (Hypertension), Fatty Liver Disease and various Cancers

Now we’ve convinced you to go tee-total for a month, here are our top tips for staying on track:

- Write down the reasons why you have to do Dry January and stick it somewhere visible, like your fridge. Having this reminder reinforces your intentions.

- Plan events that don’t need to involve drinking such as: arts and crafts workshops, going to museums and art galleries, seeing a musical, play or film, hiking, bouldering, boxing, ice-skating or salsa dancing.

- Try non-alcoholic spirits - with more people kicking the booze, the non-alcoholic spirits market has boomed in recent years. Try Caleno, Three Spirit and Seedlip.

- Have a go-to drink which you can make at home and one you can order when you’re out socialising. Here are some examples:

No-jito : Crushed mint leaves and fresh lime juice with soda water and crushed ice (my favourite, and it’s zero sugar and zero artificial sugar!)

A non-alcoholic strawberry daiquiri: basically a strawberry smoothie with lime juice and ice

Kombucha - a healthy fermented probiotic drink, full of good bacteria. It tastes light, it’s fizzy and it could be likened to a rose lemonade or a cider. There are plenty of good brands available in the supermarkets now, just stay away from the ones that add extra sugar

What are your go-to tips for making it through Dry January?

Hayley Appleford