Pressing Pause

Things can get soggy around the holidays, and if you’re like me, you may need to dry out a bit. Tipaton tammikuu translates to Dropless January. That’s right, not a drop of alcohol! I’ve been practicing it for years now. As much as 20% of the Finnish drinking age population follows the tradition, and I’ve found that many friends in the US are doing it too.

Just this year I learned the term Janopause, which I think is brilliant! As the ever-reliable Urban Dictionary defines it:


Where someone refuses to drink for the entire of the month of January, to make up for all the drinking done over the Thanks Giving, Christmas and/or New Years Eve period.

Brad: Dude, you wanna grab a drink after work?
Dave: Nah, I’m having my Janopause – I drank far to much around Christmas.

I love this term! In fact, “jano” means thirst in Finnish, so it’s putting your thirst on pause!

There seems to be controversy about actual health benefits of just a month off alcohol. But from my own experience I know that in just a few days I start to sleep better, recover from workouts faster and think clearer. My wallet benefits too, and we are actually using January to try out some new restaurants without racking up huge bills for wine and drinks.

I’ve never really had a problem following a dry January (or any other diet challenge for that matter). Turns out that I’m an abstainer. If you’ve followed Gretchen Rubin’s work, you know what I’m talking about. If not, you should! She’s the author of Better Than Before, a book about habit change. In her book she describes people as either abstainers or moderators. An abstainer is someone who finds it much easier to give up a food or a habit altogether, rather than trying to enjoy it in moderation. This is me. If I decide “I don’t drink alcohol”, I don’t need to spend precious willpower trying to decide if I should have a glass of wine or not, if I’ve earned it or not.

Moderators, on the hand, find it easier to stay in the straight and narrow by enjoying things in moderation. (duh) The thought of giving something up forever is panic-inducing and makes them crave that thing even more.

Dry January

The month is almost over and while I’m enjoying my clear-headed feeling, I’m also looking forward to having some adult refreshments on Super Bowl Sunday, and a bloody mary at brunch. Wine usually has a way of slowly making its way into my daily after-work routine. So it’s not unthinkable that I’ll take a Junopause or Octopause too.


Cheers! (soon)


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