1. Listen to music
Get out your old vinyl, dust off your mix tapes, polish your CDs, fire up Spotify, sit back and just listen. Music is so often the backing track to our lives that we don’t think to stop and make it the main event. Why not spend an evening putting a playlist together? It might be a collection of calming tunes, or an evening of nostalgia with the soundtrack from your life. Either way, listening to music is a great way to relax.
2. ...Or make music yourself!
If you already play an instrument, you could spend an evening getting back into practice. An hour or two a couple of times a week will soon have you strumming, drumming, blowing or twinkling the ivories like a rock star. If you don’t already play but have always wanted to, you can pick up a bargain instrument on eBay, watch a few ‘how to’ YouTube videos and off you go. After all, that’s just how Justin Bieber got started.
3. Garden glory
This is one of those things that you either love or hate. If you’re a passionate gardener, you’re probably out there already on a regular basis. If not, I’m not suggesting you get all Monty Don; just plant a few bulbs in a window box or sprinkle some herb seeds in containers. If you don’t have the space or a garden of your own, why not get involved in a community garden near your? Remember to water your seedlings regularly – they do moist, not dry – and by the time your dry month is over, you should see your plants starting to grow. Symbolic isn’t it?
4. Pamper yourself
Why not treat yourself to the whole shebang. Give yourself a manicure, a pedicure, face-mask and a mineral soak in the bath. Stick an intensive moisture treatment on your hair and let your worries drift away. You could invite a friend over for mutual pampering and a chat whilst you sip herbal ‘detox’ tea. Believe me, blokes, this is for you too.
5. Get creative
Maybe you can knit, maybe you like to whittle, maybe you’ve never tried either but would like to give it a go. You don’t have to be brilliant at it, you just have to enjoy the process. There’s something deeply satisfying about creating something from scratch, and I don’t mean a vodka martini. Try out different creative arts to see what you enjoy.
Don’t fancy something creative, but do like the idea of learning? Check out the wide range of (free) courses available online.
6. Plan a holiday
Long gone are the days of just picking up a brochure, choosing a hotel and leaving the rest to the package-holiday touts. These days it’s all about creating our own bespoke experience. The plethora of holiday website can take a bit of wading through so why not commit an evening to planning the perfect getaway? It doesn’t have to be a long-haul extravaganza (beware the ‘all-inclusive’ option), just getting excited about a weekend away is a fun way to pass the time.
7. Spring cleaning
OK, not everyone will find this relaxing but it can certainly be cathartic and rewarding. If you’ve got a cupboard, loft or room that could really do with a sort out, it’ a useful way to spend an evening. Not only are you creating extra space, you can donate anything you don’t want to charity for that feel-good factor or raise a bit of cash selling it online. Time passes quickly once you start delving into your hoard of forgotten items and you won’t even think about drinking once you’re up to your eyeballs in old lampshades, bicycle chains and inflatable dolphins.
For more Dry January support, listen to the Try Dry podcast below with special guest Dr Rangan Chatterjee, author of The Stress Solution and The 4 Pillar Plan to discover the health, lifestyle and financial benefits of cutting back on booze.