One of the scariest things about ‘not drinking; whether it be for a little while or forever, at first I must admit, is the thought of, ‘well what exactly am I going to do instead?’ I remember having this thought, let me be frank, it was a fear. Not only was I stressing out about what people would think of me, if I wasn’t drinking alcohol at every event, which for me at the time, was most of the time, I also had this added fear of not just missing out but confusion about what in fact one does with one’s time when one isn’t pissing the night away.
For days I drew a blank, and I honestly could not imagine what I would do when I wasn’t drinking, but I quickly learnt there is an entire world that opens to you when you put a cap on the bottle popping and start living your life rather than wasting it, by getting wasted. And even if you not a ‘I have a problem,’ type drinker, you’re more of a social drinker, or a wine with the girls drinker or a mummy needs her medicine drinker, either way, you’ll be amazed at what you can accomplish and experience when you don’t have a Savvy B under your belt.
Here is a list of 31 things you can do during Dry July other than drink alcohol.
1. Swap your G&T for a Tea
Drink tea, I know this sounds boring to some people, but I find that conversations with my girlfriends are more enlightening, less bitchy and involve less ‘woooo-ing’ when I drink tea with my girlfriends instead of a G&T
2. Walk It Off
Yes, that’s right nature fans, walking is the actual best, and we don’t do enough of it and walking to the bar to get another round of drinks doesn’t count. Going for a walk just for 20 mins (or for as long as your beer clanging sessions would last) will make you feel amazing. It will give you that ‘take the edge off’ feeling without the next day hangover and it will save you some pennies too
3. Do something you haven’t done since you were a kid. Rock-climbing, dance class, trampolining, fancy dress, gymnastics, go on a swing, jump in a puddle. The possibilities are endless. Stuck in the mud is a great game to play with a group of friends.
4. Crafternoon. Find anything creative that floats your boat, my personal fave is colouring in! I own a mindfulness adult colouring book (he only ‘adult’ book I own). Anything your nanna would do; cross stich, long stitch, knitting or the ironing (I think) can fall under this category.
5. Bake something in your actual kitchen
Get out those pans and that lining paper and get baking Martha Stewart. Make a cake or something from that Paleo cookbook you got from the in-laws (how lovely). Make a mess in the kitchen and come up with something yummy. I personally stay away from anything loaded with sugar and out of the packet, I try to create healthy and delicious treats like this rhubarb crumble with a twist (the twist is it’s good for you).
6. Read that book your friend recommended. (The Social Rebellion or UnEdited are also great reads).
7. Join a sport, my pick would be Ultimate Frisbee, but anything that involves you running around chasing something other than skirt will not only keep you otr of trouble but will give you a juicy endorphin rush at the end of the game.
8. Binge listen to that podcast everyone’s talking about. I’d recommend Healthy-ish, hosted by yours truly but I have some other recommendations here.
9. Puppy sit. Need I say anymore?
10. If it’s warm, find a pool or the ocean and get wet rather than wetting your whistle. I always find a body of water resets me, this might be because I live close to the beach and am a Piscean, which apparently means I’m super creative and a water sign?! Either way, jumping in the ocean and washing the day away is one of my happy places, or a cold shower will the do the trick.
11. Do your tax, let’s be real, it’s the start of a new financial year, you’re busy and you might be due a tax return, this is the ultimate time to get your tax in early nerd.
12. Clean out your wardrobe, or tidy up your floor-drobe. You will find many items of clothing that you haven’t worn in ages, this might be a good time to give your fashion house an overhaul and get rid of the clutter. I advise doing this gradually but if you want a challenge, go for a capsule wardrobe.
13. Take a friend to a new place to eat. Find out where all the cool kids are eating brunch and take a friend there for a meal. Hanging out with friends during the day, away from pubs and parks next to bottle shops, will become more normal to you the more you do it, so start with today and brunch in a new place.
14. Hangout with some old(er) people. I love hanging out with my Mum and her friends, they give me such a sense of perspective. She lives next to some grandparent aged people who I often go and have a coffee with and hear about how life was for them. I find this a beautiful way to learn and connect to people who have fascinating stories and a lot of time on their hands (and if I time it right, fresh scones out of the oven).
15. Volunteer with a local community aid project. The best way to stop obsessing over what you might be missing out on because you weren’t out last night, is to find something bigger than yourself and get committed. Giving back is one of the most instantly gratifying things we can do as human beings and I’d like to believe that being kind towards others will fill us up.
16. Start a vertical garden, or a rooftop garden, or a community garden, or just any kind of garden. I used to roll my eyes when my parents would spend time in the garden, what a yawn fest. Well now, I wouldn’t say I have a green thumb (as most of the plants I have attempted o grow have died), but I am into it! And I am getting better at it.
17. Wash your car or your cat if you have a cat and it needs a bath (I’m not a cat person so I’m just guessing they need the occasional bath?). You may as well save your sweet cash that you’d splurge on the hand wash and detail people up the road (while enduring a terrible coffee), and put your new-found freedom to good use. Wash your own car or your neighbours if you’re feeling extra generous.
18. Make your own beauty products. In my quest to rid my life of as many toxins as possible (the first one being alcohol in January 2015), I also found it a natural step to start looking into what products I was smearing on my body. My quest to stick to natural has become a way of life and I find my skins glows when I use the homemade stuff on my face in the shower.
19. Relax. Why not just have a night in and chill out!
20. Plan a holiday. Get out a scrap book and start planning your next trip, it may only be a year away if you use all the money you are going to save by not drinking alcohol! Why not dream up your ultimate trip and then put a plan in place to get there. Life is for living.
21. Research the KETO diet and then decide to just stick to what you are doing because it’s easier. To be fair I do try to stick to the KETO diet as much as possible, and I am a huge nerd, so anything that gets me onto a click hole about nutrition and the latest greatest life changing research will have me in an afternoon spin for hours.
22. Use up that random Group On voucher your distant cousin gave you last Christmas. Have you ever gone through your wallet and found old vouchers or half used gift cards? Well spend up Sally! You may as well take a trip to the shops and buy yourself a treat (a non-alcoholic treat). Dust of that old Group On experience that was ridiculously discounted and go and enjoy it, even if it is a birdwatching weekend.
23. Organise your utensils, or whichever draw in your house becomes the ‘oh I’ll just chuck that in there’ draw. Clean it out! You don’t need three whisks now do you?
24. Figure out how to put that DIY project that’s been I the corner of the spare room together.
25. Have an early night. It’s so underrated, but sleep is the number one thing you can do for your health. Get some shut-eye, don’t watch that next episode of whatever, wind down and crawl into bed. You’ll feel fresher and better in the morning. Try to get to bed by 10pm if you can, and then get up earlier!
26. Get up and watch the sunrise (not the TV show, I mean the actual sun rising) Some really smart people know why this is of benefit to one’s health and mood, so you should read more about it in this article.
27. Go for a drive in a really rich area and look at the houses, or just a drive through the closest National Park will do the trick .I know this is not the more environmentally sound advice, but a long drive through some beautiful scenery take life the burden of modern-day dilemma’s. I also understand that sitting in traffic and being caught in School Zones can make even the most patient person want to snap, so try to get on the open road and out of the burbs. Unless you hate driving, then just see Point 2.
28. Feed the birds. Make your own bird bath and leave some seed out on your porch, window sill or balcony. Before long you’ll have some fathered friends some to visit and you will more than likely end up talking to them. No judgement You do you.
29. Get a massage. Go on. Book one in! If massages are usually a once a year splurge, remember all that cash you are saving by not going to the bar every afternoon?! Use that money and book in a 90-minute tension release. Drink plenty of water afterwards.
30. Have a big ol’ nap. Unlike Point 25, having a nap is something you can do in the middle of the day and anywhere from 10-22 minutes. I’m not sure of the science behind 22 minutes being the ultimate time for a disco nap but it’ll sure stop you going to pub and smashing a champers. Here is the ultimate guide to napping. You’re welcome.
31. Make your own Kombucha. You do need a ‘scoby’ to start, so you need to find someone who already does their own brew, but once you get going you’ll have endless supplies of a healthy drink you can take on picnics and parties or drop some off for your neighbours.