Breaking the bank on cocktails lately? Here’s why going Dry this July is a godsend
Aussies are known for loving a drink. Whether it's a cheeky wine while watching a rom-com with your BFF, or a beer with your Dad at the footy, our drinking culture is a huge part of our social fabric. But what if you gave up drinking for a month? Shantelle O’Riordan tells why you should go Dry this July.
With the uni sem coming to a close, your first thought may turn to a celebratory drink with your buds. Whether you’ve got an exciting holiday on the horizon or just want to take it easy, giving up alcohol for a month, especially in support of a good cause such as Dry July, can have an unexpected positive impact on your life. Need some convincing? Here are the health and emotional benefits of dodging the drink for a month.
Improve your mental health
Our lives are non-stop and balancing the pressures of work, university, family and friends, keeping fit, and then taking time out to do things you love can seem like an impossible juggling act. Personally, I have found myself desperately plotting an escape overseas on multiple occasions, only to check my bank account and be sorely disappointed. So instead I’ve found some fun coping mechanisms to help me pull through - my go-to escapes are regular Harry Potter marathons, walking my dog with my bestie, brunching or a good cry (just kidding). But the best choice, I’ve made recently is cutting out the booze. Alcohol may seem like a mood booster when you’re out partying with your friends, but it is actually a depressant that can have serious negative effects on your overall mental health. Low mood and low energy levels can be aggravated and nobody likes a hangover when they are pressed for time or want to make the most of their day. I’m not suggesting you go teetotal, but taking a break from alcohol allows your brain to level out, gives you much needed clarity and increases concentration. The importance of prioritising your mental health in comparison to giving up alcohol is a small sacrifice. It’s all about moderation.
Increase your hydration and improve your liver health
Most of us, myself included, find it tricky to reach the recommended 2-3L of water each day. When you drink alcohol, which is a diuretic, your body tends to dismiss fluids more frequently. It’s a no-brainer that a common symptom of a hangover is dehydration. Low hydration levels can also affect your concentration and energy, which impacts your efficiency at work, uni and when you hit the gym. Doesn’t sound great right? Especially during winter when our skin is dry, we don’t want to do anything to accelerate cracked lips and dry skin.
Now you’ve probably heard from your parents and teachers that alcohol is bad for your liver. Unfortunately it isn’t an old wives tale, our body is not built to process alcohol. Consuming a large amount of booze, even just a few times, means our liver has to work extra hard to process it. While my friend Mat, who thinks himself to be a doctor, tells me our liver regenerates - the liver is one of the human body’s most important organs and it’s important to keep it in good shape. So here’s to better hydration and liver health!
Extra money in the bank
Music to any uni student’s ears! The benefits of alcohol detoxing aren’t just physical, it can have major financial benefits as well. As everyone knows when you’re constantly grabbing drinks with friends or work colleagues, the cost can quickly add up. The average uni student spends around $50-60 per month on alcohol! When you stop drinking you will have some extra cash in your bank account that could be instead be spent on your next holiday.
You’ll make better food choices
Science has confirmed what we’ve long suspected - we don’t make the best food choices after we’ve been drinking. Laying off the booze could mean you are less tempted by a late night kebab or Maccas run, making it easier to stick to your healthy eating goals and save money.
I encourage everyone to give Dry July a shot - it’s only 31 days and an awesome way to start making positive health changes to your life, and there will always be another weekend at the pub or night out. If you’re signing up to raise money, you’ll also be helping people with cancer, providing them with better support programs and facilities during their cancer journey. Dry July aims to help make the lives of cancer patients, their families and carers more comfortable - you can sign up at dryjuly.com/register.
Shantelle O’Riordan is a second year Communications (Public Relations) student who’s a little bit of a perfectionist, heavily reliant upon caffeine and fashionably late to almost everything.