Health

Sober October: 6 Top tips on how to stop drinking and stay sober


Sober October takes place this month and is aimed at getting Brits to think about their health. Here’s how you can give alcohol up for the duration of the month

Sober October is here — a whole month aimed at making sure not even the tiniest drop of alcohol passes the lips of those taking part.

As though the cold and the rain wasn’t enough to be getting on with already, the annual campaign to stop drinking has come around once again, having started in 2014.

But it is for a good cause, and one besides your general health. Sober October began as a fundraising campaign for Macmillan Cancer Support.

It is also a good opportunity for those people wishing to cut back or stop altogether – for whatever reason – to have a go when many others will be attempting the same thing.

So here are six tips on how to stop drinking this month.

Spot your ‘triggers’








Finding different ways to relax in the evening is one way of breaking up the drinking routine
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Sometimes, our natural routine causes us to drink without really thinking about it. We have common ‘triggers’ that cause us to drink

Finding different ways to relax in the evening is one important step, for example.

Drinkaware offers excellent advice on counteracting our triggers, advising: “Being aware is important because your decision can be automatic. You might pour a glass at the same time each day without thinking about what you’re doing.



“Watch a film, read your book or chat to your partner. You’ll appreciate these things better having drank less or no alcohol.”

Pursue better sleep








Alcohol limits our ability to sleep properly
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Alcohol limits our ability to sleep properly. We need sleep for our mental and physical health. A lack of it affects our work day and personal relationships.

As the Sleep Foundation explains: “Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant that causes brain activity to slow down. Alcohol has sedative effects that can induce feelings of relaxation and sleepiness, but the consumption of alcohol – especially in excess – has been linked to poor sleep quality and duration.



“People with alcohol use disorders commonly experience insomnia symptoms. Studies have shown that alcohol use can exacerbate the symptoms of sleep apnea.”

Seek help for mental health problems








Don’t rely on drink to help you share your worries
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You may or may not have a drinking problem, but we do know that excessive amounts of alcohol can hinder your mental wellbeing.

This is a particularly big problem for people who use the drug to numb any feelings of mental distress.

Eventually, drinking too much can cause these feelings to come back and an individual may attempt to quash them with yet more alcohol, and thus a spiralling effect takes place.



The site Drinkaware explains: “The brain relies on a delicate balance of chemicals and processes. Alcohol is a depressant, which means it can disrupt that balance, affecting our thoughts, feelings and actions – and sometimes our long-term mental health.”

It helps to talk about your feelings, you may not feel so reliant on alcohol if you are seeking professional help.

Get fit








Exercise is good for our mental health and helps when kicking the bottle
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There are endless sports science studies on how drinking impacts on a fitness drive. It’s why you will never see the likes of GB Olympic stars Laura Kenny and Alex Yee downing a cold pint after a race in their respective sports.

Exercise is good for our mental health.

It is far easier to lose those extra pounds if you give up the booze. Consider having a weight goal you want to get down to by the end of the month. You can always reward yourself at the end.



Non-alcoholic alternatives








There are a range of non-alcoholic beers, spirits and cocktails that can be found online that may be a suitable alternative to your normal drinking habits
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A refreshing drink does not have to have alcohol in it. There are plenty of online recipes where you can make your own mocktail.

There are also a range of non-alcoholic beers and spirits that can be found online that may be a suitable alternative to your normal drinking habits.

alcoholfree.co.uk has plenty of options for you to explore.

The site, Healthline, advises the following:

  • infusing plain or sparkling water with chopped fruits or herbs
  • adding cinnamon sticks or spices to tea, apple cider, or hot chocolate
  • mixing juice or lemonade with sparkling water

Health-wise, water is always your best option, however.



Consider your bank account








The average person in the UK spends around £17.60 on alcohol per week
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We’ve all done it. So many of us have gone out for ‘just a couple’, only to find one severe headache later that the weekly shopping trip might just be a little bit more of a squeeze.

Perhaps you could give yourself a goal of something to save up for.

The average person in the UK spends around £17.60 on alcohol per week, according to insurance company Nimble Fins. If you are aged between 50 to 64, this number shoots up to £22 .30.

Times that by four and those are the holiday flights nearly booked.


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