Freshers Week: seven days of drinking, partying and all-round debauchery. While October would usually mean the continuation of this excess, this year, students and non-students alike are taking the opportunity to detox.
Across the country, thousands are ditching the booze in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support as part of their Go Sober for October campaign. Participants are sponsored by their friends and family, helping Macmillan support those facing cancer. In 2013 alone, the campaign raised over £2m for the cause. It’s not just the charity that benefits though; Macmillan estimates that the average Brit spends 315 days of their lives hungover, with one in 14 people struggle through 3000 hangovers in their lifetime. Who wouldn’t benefit from some time off the demon drink?
It’s not just alcohol that people are forgoing this October though; over 250, 000 Brits are giving up cigarettes for the 28 day Stoptober challenge, created and funded by Public Health England. As part of the annual stop-smoking campaign, smokers are given the support they need to kick the habit for good. Indeed, it is estimated that those who can abstain for a month are five times more likely to give up nicotine permanently. Not only does a former smoker’s lung capacity increase by a massive 30% after just three months without cigarettes, but the average smoker would save £4,745 a year.
It’s not all fun and games though. While there are many benefits to these two campaigns, they are undoubtedly difficult, especially for students at university where socialising tends to revolve around nights out. However, there are a few trusty techniques that everyone can implement to make October 2014 a successful month.
Spend your time wisely
Nights out are a huge part of university life for most people, and being the sober friend is not necessarily the most fun pastime. Rather than struggle with the temptation found in a club, or with your paralytic friends, use your time to its best advantage. Join a sports club, focus on your studies or raise some cash for charity- so much is possible when you are not wasting your Sundays in a fragile state on the sofa.
Find other people on campus who are taking part in the campaigns. it can be difficult to face a big change to your lifestyle on your own, so support from others going through the same thing can be really helpful. Not only this, but you can go out together when everyone else is partaking in their vices!
Recognise your achievements
Going a week without cigarettes or alcohol when you are a regular smoker or drinker is a big deal, and if you don’t celebrate it, it can be hard to find the motivation to continue. Treat yourself with every milestone achieved, even if it’s just a slice of cake at lunchtime, or a trip to the cinema – it can really help.
Flash your cash
Fags and booze are expensive – even if you only spend £25 a week on cigarettes and £10 on alcohol, you would save £140 in October alone. Rather than waste it on something that is detrimental to your health and appearance, spend your newfound money on something that is healthy and will help undo the damage you have done to your body in the past. Join the gym or treat yourself to a day at the spa, basking in the realisation that you dedicated a whole month to bettering yourself.
If you would like to get involved in Stoptober, visit the Public Health England website, while more information can be found on the Go Sober for October campaign on the Macmillan site.