How to reward yourself without alcohol

January 2023 | 8 minutes

We’re really pushing on through January now and if you’ve taken on the Dry January® challenge, you’ll be well on your way to a full month alcohol free. That’s an amazing achievement, and whether or not you’ve needed a lot of encouragement from friends and family or you’ve been flying solo, it all deserves to be rewarded. If you've been inclined to reward yourself with a drink in the past, it might be difficult to think of alternatives.

To add to all of this, we’re all too aware that the cost of living is going up and up and that’s having a real impact on how we live our lives. With so many of us feeling the pinch, how can we reward ourselves without spending a fortune?

Catch up with an old friend

Whether it’s a quick phone call with a friend or being brave enough to reconnect with someone you’ve not spoken to in a while, time with companions allows us to get out of our own heads for a bit and can create a space for us to share feelings and concerns. A little time to ‘put the world to rights’ might also do you the world of good.

Look through old photographs

As corny as this one may sound, we have all experienced the powerful conjuring effect that looking at old photographs can have. Many people can flick through old albums of holiday beach snaps, graduation pictures and the like, and feel, just for a second, like they’re there in that happy past occasion once again.

Carve out a regular ‘responsibility free zone’

Depending on your circumstances, we admit this one might be easier said than done. But if you feel you can rope in the support of your nearest and dearest for the occasional childcare, dog-walking outings, or dinner cooking duties etc. you could be well on your way. See if you can find a regular slot of 30 mins or so where your usual responsibilities and stresses are held off for a little while. Whether that’s your free pass to half an hour of scrolling on TikTok, getting out for that jog you’ve been meaning to do all week or even a sneaky power nap if that’s your thing– take this time for you, to do exactly as you please with it without any guilt.

Try out self-reflexology

As much as some of us would like to book in a regular massage to help bust life’s stresses, the funds might not quite allow. Why not try out some of these self-reflexology techniques for common pressure points from the shoulders to the feet, and see if you can recreate the same relaxing effect without costing a penny? If you can, you could try to build five minutes of these techniques into your daily routine, perhaps before bed, to finish the day with some well-earned ‘me time’.

Experiment with ‘micro-hikes’

Taking regular time out of your schedule to get out in nature is probably one of the simplest but most effective acts of self-care we can do for ourselves. But we don’t all have 3-4 hours spare to get lost in the wilderness. A micro-hike can be the answer, usually taking under an hour to complete but with all the drama and mood-boosting effect of a much longer slog. Check out Walks Around Britain’s top short trails around the UK for some routes near you.

Of course, what we find rewarding varies from person to person, so use our suggestions as a bit of inspiration until you find something that works for you. Make time to reset that association of drinking as your ‘prize’ at the end of a hard week and start rediscovering the little things in life. But most of all keep on rewarding yourself in other ways for your incredible progress when resetting your relationship with alcohol. If you are enjoying the benefits and maybe considering carrying on, be sure to use the Try Dry® app to outline your new goal.

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