Dry January

If you tend to find your new year’s resolutions lying in tatters by the time Up Helly Aa comes around, don’t worry, because temporary, short lived bursts of healthy living can have surprisingly long term benefits.

In particular, Shetland NHS are getting behind Dry January.  2015's version of the first month abstinence campaign, organised by Alcohol Concern, had two million participants, all willing to stay off booze for 31 days, and this year it's anticipated even more will take part.

So what’s the point?  Health Improvement practitioner Lucy Ward said, “Stopping drinking for a whole month gives your liver a major rest, reduces your weight, lowers your blood pressure, clears your skin up, improves your sleep patterns and boosts energy – and at this time of year we need all the energy we can get to fight off colds and sniffles and the winter blues.  But there is a longer term benefit, which is that when we do go back to drinking, we tend to drink less than before.  Two thirds of Dry January participants report still drinking significantly less six months later.”

And that lower level of drinking can have dramatic long term impacts on everything from your waistline to your bank balance.

If Up Helly Aa is a big event in your calendar, with plenty of drink involved, never fear, because a Detox February, Milk-Only March or Alcohol-free April is just as good.  The challenge is to give alcohol a miss for a month – any month.

You don’t have to enrol in official campaigns, you can do it yourself or with friends, but check out the site here:  http://www.dryjanuary.org.uk/