Year of Wellbeing Blog: Why change the habit of a lifetime?

Everyone has their own story to share about ways they have found to care for their own wellbeing, and the wellbeing of other people.

A team of bloggers have agreed to describe their personal journey. We hope their stories help and inspire others during our Year of Wellbeing.

 

Lisa's story...

Year of wellbeing blogger LisaWhy change the habit of a lifetime?

...Because it can do you the world of good! Lisa Coleman is a Health Champion at Warwickshire County Council, and in her blog describes her experiences of how a dry January has led to a dry 22 months, as well as sharing some of the resources she has come across along the way.

I first started carrying out Dry January back in 2018, like a lot of us do. After initial uneasiness that comes from any habit change, I started to sleep better and wake up earlier, felt healthier and calmer, lost weight, made better food choices, had more time for hobbies (reading, walking, learning to play the keyboard), and saved money. I even found time to start training as a pilates instructor and personal trainer, putting my extra energy and motivation to good use!

By the end of January, I decided that I was going to carry on not drinking because I wanted to continue receiving the many benefits. I found that the longer I didn’t drink alcohol the easier it became, until it was no longer a habit at all. I have now completed Dry 2018 and I’m over half way through Dry 2019! I can honestly say it is the best thing I have ever done.

At first, I tried some of the many alcohol-free versions of drinks appearing on the market. Some of them are surprisingly pleasant and contain much less sugar than their alcohol equivalents. I also volunteered as a Facebook administrator for an organisation which helps other people change their relationship with alcohol, called ichange21.com. I asked the owner of the group, Stephanie Chivers, if she would create some short videos especially for Coventry and Warwickshire Year of Wellbeing 2019 - so here they are (they cover facts about what alcohol is, what is a safe level of consumption, practical tips to learn new habits and behaviour change).

I personally decided to stop drinking alcohol completely. However, if you have made a decision that you want to change something about your drinking habits, other options are taking a break or drinking more mindfully.

There are lots of resources online, one that I have come across is Club Soda which is a mindful drinking movement. Their mission is to create a world where nobody feels out of place if they are not drinking alcohol (they found that many bars and events that would traditionally serve alcohol had very poor alternatives so set about to change this).

They also support individuals to take a self-guided journey to change their drinking habits. They boost people’s motivation with inspiring stories, bootcamps, recommended books, workshops, expert videos, and online courses.

Recent research has shown the following trends in drinking habits in the UK:

* Changes in drinking traditions of under 25s - over a quarter of 18-24 year olds now don't drink at all (ONS, Health and life expectancies 2017)

* Health-motivated moderation is on the increase - 8.6m drinkers will look to cut down their drinking this year (Drinkaware monitor 2018)

* Alcohol-free lifestyles - 12% of adults don't drink (Drinkaware monitor 2018)

You can read more statistics in this recent blog from Laura Willoughby, the founder of Club Soda.

Things are changing.

I felt moved to share my experience as I know how better it has made me feel and have seen lots of other people that have had the same experience. Nobody ever regrets changing their drinking habits.

There are going to be lots of people reading this who have no interest at all in changing their drinking habits. However, for those that do - hopefully this article has given you some inspiration.

Recommended reading list (I did say I now have more time for reading!)

  • There is no Magic Button: Practical Tips and Motivation to Stop Drinking - Stephanie Chivers
  • Alcohol Explained - William Porter
  • The Sober Diaries - Clare Pooley
  • The Unexpected Joy of Being Sober - Catherine Gray
  • This Naked Mind - Annie Grace
  • Kick the Drink Easily - Jason Vale

 

Click here to find out more about Coventry and Warwickshire's Year of Wellbeing 2019.

 

 

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