The month of December the world over is an endless tale of drinking and dining sprees. Even for a reluctant drinker, it is difficult to avoid alcohol, as there are revelers and merrymakers all around who believe that no festivity is complete without raising the customary toast. As the New Year dawns and one examines his/her expanding waistline and studies the reflection in the mirror that seems a pale shadow of their former shelf, devoid of sparkle, one realizes that the biggest challenge that lies ahead is undoing the effects of binge drinking from the previous year.
Staying sober then seems to be the best, but the hardest thing to do. This is why the month of January has become synonymous with teetotalers, as many people decide to go dry. During the Dry January challenge, one is required to stay off alcohol for 31 days. The advantage is that at the end of the month long sobriety period, one feels rejuvenated, recharged and fresh. Physicians consider this a good idea, as after the month-long feasting and partying; refraining from alcoholic beverages and calorie-rich food is a good way of giving rest to the body’s vital organs — liver, the kidneys and the gastrointestinal tract — overburdened by the excesses.
Some of the other advantages of staying sober are listed below.
- Stronger immune system: Alcohol wreaks havoc on the immune system. As a result, a person becomes vulnerable to viral and bacterial infections, such as flu, cough, cold and diarrhea. With a month-long abstinence, one is better able to prevent and fight such infections.
- Sound sleep: Alcohol interferes with rapid-eye-movement (REM) patterns during sleep. A person may wake up several times while sleeping and feel tired the next day. When one stops drinking, he/she can enjoy sound sleep. A good night’s sleep helps get rid of ill effects of a hangover like grogginess, nausea and vomiting.
- Reduced waistline: Unbridled drinking habit in the holiday season causes the calories to pile up primarily because alcohol is followed by accompaniments rich in sugar and carbohydrates. By taking a clean break, one can try losing the additional calories and have a thinner waistline in a matter of months.
- Healthier complexion and skin tone: Alcohol dehydrates the skin and causes zinc deficiency, which is responsible for the condition known as rosacea, characterized by facial redness and flushing, a condition more common in women.
- Significant improvement in mental health: Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant. After a couple of drinks, it is common to feel depressed and anxious. In addition, excessive drinking also results in one experimenting with harsher drugs in future.
- Improvement in functioning of vital organs: When alcohol is flushed out of the system one feels stronger and positive. The digestive system improves considerably. This is because alcohol interferes with vital body organs like kidney and liver.
While the practice of giving up alcohol for a month is effective, people who indulge in regular drinking or those with a chronic alcoholism problem should talk to a counsellor to get the right guidance about the most effective treatment program.
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