Cheering in the New Year at the stroke of midnight with liquor may seem the ultimate ‘happy hour’, but some are having a rethink. As 2019 beckons, a University of Sussex research involving over 800 volunteers in January 2018 offers hope to those wishing to recalibrate their relationship with alcohol and control spending. The buzzword is ‘Dry January’, a challenge to stay off the bottle for the entire first month of the New Year. According to the study, participants were drinking less up to August; in addition, 58 percent lost weight, 70 percent had generally improved health, 71 percent slept better and 88 percent saved money. “The simple act of taking a month off alcohol helps people drink less in the long term: by August people are reporting one extra dry day per week,” said researcher Richard de Visser. But how to keep this abstinence ‘simple’? According to doctors, it helps to keep in mind the health costs of party boozing — hangover and mood swings, irritated bowels, bulging waistlines, loss of key vitamins, body’s immune system playing truant. It might also do well to reconceptualise ‘happy year’, keep away temptation by changing one’s routine, or indulge in an alluring but harmless substitute like an elaborate fruit drink or mocktail!

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