Slowly but surely each month of the year is undergoing a rebrand, whether it's 'Sober October’, 'Stop October' or 'Veganuary'. As a nation we’re being encouraged to stop smoking and give up booze for four weeks, whilst raising a bit of cash for charity at the same time, which is what I’d class as a win-win.
Some people are scathing about campaigns like this, saying that they just play to our egos and give our narcissistic selves something else to brag about on social media... but while not drinking shouldn’t be seen as something heroic, surely any reason to be a bit healthier is something to be encouraged? The campaigns offer two powerful motivators, 1) a commitment to a charity or someone you care about and 2) the moral support that comes from doing a challenge with friends or colleagues, both of which makes you far more likely to succeed.
We all know smoking isn’t good for us, and being totally honest with ourselves, if alcohol were invented today it probably wouldn’t be legal. Not only are they ‘not good for you’, but alcohol is more toxic to the body than heroin (!) and the average cigarette contains more than 4,000 (cancer causing) chemicals. Clearly good quality nutrition is important for everyone, but if you drink or smoke, good nutrition is vital. Even if you have no intention of stopping anything in October, November ...or next July, cementing a good diet in place will gain remarkable mental and physical benefits.
Despite what we’re told, it only takes 3 days for all the nicotine to leave the body (regardless of how long you’ve been smoking). The irritability some people go through when they stop isn’t always due to the nicotine withdrawal itself but more the habit-loving brain, mourning the loss of its favourite crutch. The best way to quit is when you put out your last cigarette (or your last drink, or your last chocolate bar...) you need to be clear that at that moment you aren’t in the process of stopping – but that you’ve already stopped.
If you’ve decided to Go Sober or stop smoking in October, willpower will certainly be required, but here are two key tools that will make it a lot easier.
1. My first tip would be to find yourself a juicer and start making fresh fruit and vegetable juices. The toxins in alcohol destroy brain cells and we all know what smoking does to the lungs, so flooding the body with fresh, life-sustaining juices will give it all it needs to heal and repair any damage. When you start to add juices to your diet, the increase in energy, the positive changes to your body and the level of mental clarity you experience will make you feel a million dollars, so that going back to old habits will be quite an unattractive offer after a just a couple of weeks!
2. My second tip would be to learn about EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique). It takes minutes to learn and there’s no shrink involved. Most of us fell into having that glass of wine or a cigarette to be sociable, relax or de-stress. When you take it away, it won’t be the lack of nicotine testing your nerve, but your mind panicking about what you could possibly do to replace it! EFT is a simple tool that can help you take away any emotional stress or anxiety within minutes, just by tapping a handful of acupressure points on the head, face and body. Have a look on YouTube for The Tapping Solution by Nick Ortner to get started.
The Body Toolkit award-winning retreat programmes share simple, yet powerful things we can all do to nourish the body, reduce stress and help ourselves to thrive. For dates, availability and prices for upcoming retreats: www.thebodytoolkit.com/book-a-retreat