As we step into the New Year, I suspect many a resolution has been broken, whilst others tenaciously clutch on to their promises of a healthier lifestyle, the avoidance of procrastination and to stay in and save more money.
Personally, I have given up on making big promises of change to myself at this time of year, only for them to fall by the wayside, though my avoidance of clickbait is still going strong. I think the significant adjustments to lifestyle that work best are those made out of genuine self-realisation or need, rather than simply because we are at the turn of the year and “it’s tradition”.
One New Year trend, which is becoming a regular fixture is “Dry January”, where people decide that a month’s abstinence from alcohol will make up for the excesses of the festive season.
Dry January looks to improve the health of the population, as well as change the drinking culture, where it is found. The potential to lose weight and improve sleep patterns is tempting to many of us, I am sure, but how many people actually maintain a healthier lifestyle, come February 1st, and how many simply return to their own normality?
In a recent article, for TheConversation.com, Ian Hamilton, Lecturer in Mental Health at the University of York, wrote: “Unfortunately, there is no evidence that Dry January achieves lasting change in consumption or in our beliefs and behaviour in relation to alcohol.”
He also highlighted concerns that for some people with a dependency on alcohol, the shock of a sudden abstinence can have a detrimental effect on their health.
Consistent advice from the Government is to have two dry days a week, so perhaps we should be looking at a message of moderation, which, for many, is a much easier leap to make, and a promise that can more feasibly be kept.
This also has the potential to allow people to engage with the increasingly popular counter trend, Try January. This is a great opportunity to support local pubs and brewers.
For those who are already fans of ale, it’s encouragement to try something new. For others, it’s an “excuse” to take a leap into a whole new world, that is ever expanding with fantastic new beers.
It’s been great that Hamilton’s message seems to be getting picked up in regional and national print and broadcast media, as his thoughts have been balanced and reflect a moderate view that can be embraced by everyone. We can enjoy a nice ale and still have a healthy start to the year. What’s more, it can lead on to a whole new level of discovery in 2016.
I’m 44, I don’t (always) have a beard (partly because when I try it is patchy, has gaps, with ginger and grey bits) and don’t take a clipboard to the pub. So, I’m not the stereotypical real ale fan of old, in the style that I was always told to look out for...read more