10 Awesome Alternatives to Drinking in Dry July
Have you decided to take a month off the booze (and perhaps other vices) throughout the month of July? Good to hear - you're joining at least 17,000 others (according the Dry July Foundation) in giving your body and mind a nice rest for a month.
The only thing now is, what do you do on a Saturday morning when you don’t have a hangover to nurse? Here’s a list of things you can fill your time with without touching a drop…
Go for a photo walk!
Get out there and take some awesome snaps with that camera you got for Christmas a few years ago but hardly use. Didn’t get a camera for Xmas? Your phone will do just fine! (Here’s an example of how your iPhone can be an excellent camera…) Get out there with your eyes open and see how being active with your camera can help you see the world in a different way.
- Get up and see the sun-rise!
OK this might depend on where you live as to whether the sun rises or whether the sky turns from dark grey into a lighter shade. But regardless, convince a friend to set their alarm early, fill up your thermos and head somewhere nice to watch the day begin. Don’t forget to take your camera or cameraphone - you never know when the sky might burst with colour!
- Practice some yoga!
There’s nothing more challenging than doing exercise when you’re sweating out last night's vodka, but without those toxins in your system, you’ll be ready to reach for your toes with nothing holding you back. Head down to your nearest studio, sign up for an introduction month and challenge yourself. Yoga is much more than just a physical practice too, it’ll give your mind some much-needed peace and quiet, and it’ll introduce you to a community of genuine, lovely, beautiful souls. You’ll probably meet some other Dry-July-ers down there too!
A few of my favourite studios - Creature in Byron, Jivamukti in Newtown and Power Living in Bondi - all have intro months that are amazing value for money!
- Offer your time and volunteer!
It’s said that helping other’s is the secret to happiness (see this great article in Time) so why not find a local place to offer your time to? Whether it’s helping out in a soup kitchen or volunteer-run restaurant (like the amazing Lentil as Anything project in Sydney & Melbourne), or walking the dogs down at the pound, you’ll find yourself with a smile on your face for the day!
- Hike or go camping!
Getting out into the wilderness is something all of us enjoy. The fresh air on my face and the sun warming my shoulders (or pulling on my rain jacket) gets me excited. Use great apps like WikiCamps here in Aus (around $5 and well worth it) to find campsites, lookouts and points-of-interest near you. Websites like We Are Explorers are amazing at inspiring us to get out into nature. In New South Wales it’s whale season right now too - get down to the water and keep your eyes peeled!
- Enjoy some valuable quiet alone time...
This is something I feel a lot of us avoid, myself included. Spending some time alone (and that doesn’t mean being glued to your phone) can give us some much needed space from a busy and sometimes chaotic world. Remind yourself that you’re independent, that you can entertain yourself, that you don’t need much from the world around you to be happy; a bite to eat and some warm clothes is all I’d argue is necessary. Learn to be content with your own company.
- Cook something tasty with a glass of kombucha.
I love getting some mates together and cooking up a storm. A few days ago me and a friend cooked a curry each and I made some flat bread (so easy - just flour, water and salt, mixed & kneaded, rolled out, and dry-fried), before we preceded to sit around talking about how damn-good it tasted. We rinsed it down with an "all-the-rage" glass of Kombucha which kind of feels like your drinking a beer/cider, but much better for us.
- Make a fire.
My favourite thing to do! Whether you’re out in nature or in an urban area. Me and a good mate have recently created our own little fire pit in his backyard in Bondi - keeps us warm and fools us into feeling we’re out camping somewhere! Stare at the flames and chat the night away sans alcohol.
- Learn the Guitar!
One of the best things I’ve done in 2017 is learn how to play the guitar. For the price of one night out you can buy yourself a nice little acoustic guitar, then get an app like Tabs, or use YouTube tutorials to learn some songs. I love playing River by Leon Bridges - there’s only 3 chords (E, A, F#m) in the whole song and people love it! Playing music is the incredible way to bring people together.
- Get absorbed into Netflix.
If you’re not so much the outdoorsy type or if you’re just wanting to hide from the cold (like I am in Sydney right now) then look for something good and educational to watch. Netflix has plenty of awesome documentaries like Cowspiracy and Alive Inside are eye-opening and heart warming respectively. I’ve also been pretty obsessed with the Netflix show Sense8 - it has some really beautiful messages, and it’s a largely positive show that spends a lot of time celebrating all that’s beautiful in the world.
There you go! You don’t need to reach for a bottle of wine to have a laugh with friends or to feel like you’re doing something with your evenings. Saying "no thanks" to a couple of house parties throughout the month of July won’t hurt, and if you’re having a really hard time without drinking, remember it’s only for a month!
Most importantly, whatever you do, enjoy!