Forget Dry January—TikTok Swears By “The One Week Method”

one week drinking method"
one week drinking method
Graphics by: Caitlin Schneider
Graphics by: Caitlin Schneider

If Damp January is Dry January’s more laid-back cousin, then The One Week Method is its distant uncle who comes around every so often (once a month, to be exact). As the name implies, the viral take on cutting back on alcohol asks that you go seven days off without imbibing per month for an entire year. Sounds easy enough, especially compared to going cold turkey and holding the booze for all of January, right? It also may come with some major benefits. As the brains behind the new approach, Bridget Stangland—a wellness influencer and yoga teacher—swears she experiences less brain fog, quality sleep, and improved skin. Whether you’re over Dry January or living a sober-curious lifestyle, read on for everything you need to know about The One Week Method, including how to give it a shot.

What is The One Week Method?

After realizing how much of her social life centered around alcohol, Stangland sought to create a small change that felt easy and could help others as well. In a now-viral TikTok video, she expressed that she felt like there were no alternatives to the all-or-nothing mentality when it came to drinking alcohol, and she wanted to prove that you can build healthy habits that don’t have to be so drastic to make you feel good. Thus, The One-Week-No-Booze Method was born. The Method entails taking one week off of alcohol every single month. By the end of the year, you have a total of three months of no drinking. This serves as an enticing alternative to Dry January, when one week at a time feels much more manageable, but you’ll end the year with three months alcohol-free rather than one.

For those ready for a greater challenge, you could do two weeks each month (resulting in half the year alcohol-free). Stangland shared that many use The One Week Method as a starting point to limit alcohol even more; some in her community are now taking three weeks off per month, while others (including her) felt so good that they kept the alcohol-free week going and haven’t drank in a year.

What are the benefits?

Beyond limiting hangovers, The One Week Method delivers other perks. The physical and mental health benefits of taking a break from imbibing can include supple skin, weight management, stronger immunity, better sleep, and better concentration and mental clarity. “I just feel so present,” Stangland expressed to TODAY. “And then driving myself home and not having to spend on an Uber, climbing into bed and feeling that clear-headed feeling… I’m like, this is amazing.” Your wallet will feel the positive effects, too. Bottles of wine in your grocery haul or cocktails during a night out can add up quickly. Stangland shares The Method has helped people save hundreds of dollars every month just by skipping margaritas and mimosas.

Aside from financial and health advantages, taking a break from booze can help shed light on your relationship with alcohol and give you the insight you need to set healthy boundaries. Are you often peer-pressured into having “just one more drink?” Do you go to a glass of wine when you’re stressed? How does drinking affect your sleep, exercise, and nutrition behaviors?

Tips to try it for yourself:

Be strategic about which week you pick.

You can start The One Week Method at any time—you don’t have to wait for January or the start of a new month. But make sure you pick the week carefully to set yourself up for success. As she explained to TODAY, Stangland recommends starting The Method during a week you’ll be less tempted to drink (think: when you don’t have a lot of social commitments, rather than a big event like a birthday party or wedding). Look at your calendar a month in advance, determine which week you’ll abstain from alcohol, and follow through with your plan of action.

Listen to your body and progress throughout the year.

Once you master a timeline that feels manageable for you (such as the one week), check in with your body and allow yourself to progress throughout the year. For example, try going booze-less for two weeks at a time after you’ve mastered one week, or if you want a challenge, pick the week to intentionally overlap with an activity that typically involves drinking alcohol (looking at you, Super Bowl party). Or, as some of Stangland’s devotees practice, perhaps you adapt the approach for special occasions only. Maybe you keep extending “the week” and eventually give up alcohol entirely. “Small changes lead to big results,” Stangland conveyed to TODAY. “Pick a small goal, go from there, and see what you can achieve.”

Focus on joy, and don’t be too hard on yourself.

The key to nailing The Method is to focus on joy rather than viewing it through the lens of a restrictive plan you can fail or succeed at. Instead, it’s about supporting your body throughout the process. Stangland recommends having go-to “natural dopamine boosters” that you can reach for to replace alcohol habits. For example, if you tend to have a glass of wine after a stressful day, what are some other ways you can destress? Is it a bubble bath, calling a friend, or drinking calming tea before bed? If your friends typically enjoy a bottomless mimosa brunch, what are other ways you can have fun with your social circle, such as going for a hike, grabbing smoothies, or hosting a game night? The point is not limiting or restricting but replacing the joy you found through alcohol in other ways.

Most importantly, don’t be so hard on yourself. The benefit of The One Week Method over another challenge, such as Dry January, is that you can start again any time. “If you do slip up, there’s no reason you can’t start again the next day, week or month,” Stangland said.

Please consult a doctor or a mental health professional before beginning any treatments. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical or mental health condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read in this article.