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5 Ways To Observe Sober October In The Workplace

10 min read
Published on 01 September, 2022

Today's work and personal life dynamics are completely different from how it was a few decades ago. In the wake of the pandemic, work culture and other aspects of life have changed drastically worldwide.

For many of you, these past few years have been quite stressful. It cannot be easy to cope with new challenges, like working from home or dealing with lockdowns.

The pandemic has led to an increase in anxiety, depression, loneliness, and boredom. Some of you may have taken comfort in alcohol to deal with these feelings.

Although there's nothing wrong with having an occasional drink to relax and unwind, regularly drinking more than your Recommended Guidelines for Moderate Drinking (two drinks a day for men and one for women) can hurt your health.

For those seeking a reason to cut out on alcohol - or reevaluate their relationship with alcohol - sober October is the perfect challenge for you.

This article aims to provide more information about what is sober October and how you can observe it at work.

What Does Sober October Mean?

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Sober October is a month-long challenge that originated in the U.K. It began in 2004 as a fundraising campaign for Macmillan Cancer Support. It is a fresher and more poetic version of Dry January which involves cutting down on alcohol for a month (31 days). It is a challenge that promotes sobriety among people for a good cause, to help raise funds for cancer support.

“Sober October for many, it’s a way of testing the waters of sobriety - trying out what it’s like to not drink in a societally approved sort of way.”

Although the primary goal of this challenge is to raise funds for the cause, it also emphasizes the importance of checking in with yourself and your relationship with alcohol. Over the years, the sober October challenge has become more of a general awareness movement worldwide.

Suggested Read : 12 Ultimate 30-Day Challenge Ideas That Will Work Wonders In 2022

How Do You Know If You're Up For The Challenge?

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Here are a few questions that you can ask yourself if you are still not very clear about participating in the challenge -

This challenge won't make any difference if you are already sober. Instead, you participate by choosing to give up on something else, probably smoking or any other toxic habit.

  • If you have ever thought of going sober?

  • You never thought of going sober until reading this article.

  • You want to take a break from alcohol.

  • You've noticed an uptick in your drinking behavior and want to look into it.

  • You want to challenge yourself.

  • You want to start fresh.

  • You're tired of getting sick and tired.

  • Your health is being compromised due to alcohol.

  • It's time to change.

How To Do Sober October? What Are The Rules?

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If you have tried Dry January, sober October is almost the same. Unlike Dry January, it doesn't mean completely cutting down on alcohol consumption but rather reducing the intake for a charity cause.

When participating in the sober October challenge, the rules aren't set in stone. Everyone can try this challenge, be it for their cause or the greater good of the people. You can do the challenge either for fun or for charity.

The one doing it for fun or a similar reason can make up their own rules. Since not everyone is into alcohol, there are other coping mechanisms that the employees or most people can seek comfort in. So instead of feeling left out because they don't drink, they can notch it up the challenge by replacing drinking with any other type of addiction like drugs, social media detox or even junk food.

But if you want to participate in the challenge officially, then you can register in the fundraising challenge to raise money for the support and treatment of cancer. It would be best if you stopped drinking either for 14, 21, or 31 days.

Taking part in the challenge doesn't necessarily mean a total abstinence but rather having a closer look into your relationship with alcohol. Not everyone willing to participate in it suffers from a drinking problem but knowing your stance on it is the key. Alcohol moderation is one of the reasons apart from the charity for cancer.

Suggested Read : 4 Self Care Programs To Foster Health At Workplace

Is Sober October Good For You? What Are It's Health Benefits Of It?

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Substance abuse in the workplace is real and sobriety is always a good choice. In addition to being good for your physical health, it is also good for your mental health. Aside from helping you go alcohol-free for a month, sober October offers many health benefits.

Going sober for a month can have long-term health benefits for you. So it is worth taking part in the challenge. One of the biggest benefits is a better awareness of your relationship with alcohol or whatever addiction you're willing to give up. It also gives you a sense of accomplishment and motivates you to lead a healthier lifestyle in the future.

“Let the conversations about a sobriety challenge allow you to consider the changes you might need to make to be able to reduce your alcohol use. “

However, sober October is not the same as sober September. It is similar to the latter when it comes to abstinence. Both require cutting down on alcohol, but sober September is more for a monument community cause since September marks the end of summer and going back to a hustling lifestyle, so cutting down on alcohol would be wiser. However, going sober on October is all together for a bigger cause .ie. to raise funds to support and treat cancer.

As you are probably aware of the health problems caused by too much alcohol, going a month without it might help you recover. But before going into how it is good for your health, let's take a quick look at how alcohol affects your health-

  • It damages your liver.

  • Affects your sleep hygiene.

  • Weakens your immune system.

  • It can affect your bone density.

  • Can cause severe dehydration.

  • Loss of coordination.

  • Lowered inhibition.

  • Impulsive behaviors.

  • Trouble making decisions or loss of concentration power.

  • Persistent change in mood causes anxiety and irritability.

With one in five adults drinking over the recommended upper limit of 14 units a week, according to YouGov.

It is true that detoxifying or going sober for just a month won't be a body reset. However, it does a lot of perks to it. A 2018 study published in the BMJ looked into how taking a month off alcohol could positively impact health, and the results were generally encouraging.

Here are some of the other health benefits that you can take advantage of by turning sobriety into a lifestyle -

  • Improved sleep cycle

  • Improved concentration

  • More energy and a stronger immune system

  • Better concentration power and memory retention

  • Lower risk of cancer and cholesterol

  • Better control of your emotions and feelings

  • Lower risk of anxiety and stress

  • Better lifestyle with no hangover

  • Improved social dynamics around you

  • Helps in weight loss too

A study found that people who gave up alcohol for a month (sober October) saw a drastic improvement in their health, including a 25% decrease in insulin resistance.

Challenges That You May Face While Trying The Sober For October -

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Dry challenges like Dry January, sober for October, or sober September can motivate you to cut down your drinking consumption or meet your goal of quitting alcohol or other substances altogether. But these challenges also have setbacks, which can lead to disappointment or promote nothingness. Thus, before jumping to try out these challenges, one should remember that everyone's history with drinking and drugs is different and might need different approaches.

Sober October is a wellness trend for many people, but it is not the same for everyone. Some people are struggling with severe alcohol and drug problems, and the repercussions of sober October can be very dangerous. Thus to observe sober October safely, there are a few things that you need to keep in mind before participating. Here are the do's and don't of the challenge-

1. Keep In Mind The Setbacks

While sober October sounds very motivating, like many other dry challenges, there's another side to it. It can be overwhelming for many who try it out for the first time and have a once or nothing at all attitude about it.

So, before starting your journey, you should expect a few setbacks, too, as you might start well, but there's a slim chance that you might slip into a few drinks, which can again lead you to give up the challenge altogether. But that shouldn't be the case, and you should be mentally strong not to let one setback hold you up from your journey towards a better and healthier lifestyle.

Suggested Read : Fitness Motivation: A Necessity for Healthy Living

2. Know What Withdrawal Symptoms To Expect

Withdrawal symptoms are very common when trying to quit alcohol, drugs, or addiction. Not everyone can handle sobriety easily, and it takes much more than a challenge; giving up can harm your heart, even though it sounds counterintuitive.

If you are a heavy drinker and you've been trying to cut back on it for some time, stopping it can lead to withdrawal. Your body will start showing withdrawal effects, such as trembling, insomnia, and anxiety. Since your body has become accustomed to the side effects of alcohol, so giving it up will only upheaval how it regulates depending upon your amount and duration of consumption.

So it's best to seek professional help for medical advice and instructions on starting your sober October challenge.

Suggested Read: 12 Best Ideas For Overcoming Depression At Work

5 Ways To Celebrate Sober October In The Workplace

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Your corporate wellness program can benefit from sober October. Making noise about dry challenges in the workplace is a great way to set examples of promoting a healthier lifestyle that also supports charitable causes. Stress at work is an inevitable part of life, and burnout is common. As a result, many people turn to substances such as alcohol after work for comfort. Additionally, the weekend culture is key in adding binge drinkers to the world.

Here are five ways you can promote or incorporate the sober challenge in your workplace -

Organize A Campaign To Raise Awareness

Raising awareness about the challenge and the cause it supports at work can be a great way to motivate your employees to take part. Organize a seminar or three-day workshop to explain how the program works and how to register. In addition, you can invite a former participant to share his story about how he achieved sobriety. Real-life experiences are much more motivating and persuasive than abstract causes.

Incentivize The Challenge To Make It More Interesting

Most people would not be eager to participate in wellness challenges or trends voluntarily. Thus, incentivizing the challenge can be kryptonite for making it more exciting or compelling. By planning your own sober October challenge with fun rewards or incentives, they'll look forward to the challenge at the end.

Suggested Read : 11 Unique Wellness Campaign Ideas For Your Employees Health

Promote Wholly Non-alcoholic Alternatives

Heading home and getting a drink is like the new routine in today's world. But what happens when you register yourself in a dry challenge like sober October? Finding an alternative that can satiate your urges can be quite challenging.

Thus, to stop people from getting back to square one or help them cope with withdrawal symptoms, you can provide or promote a few non-alcoholic alternatives to help them with their journey.

Maybe sharing some non-alcoholic cocktails or healthy juice or smoothies as an alternative to help them without completely disrupting their routine. You can also spread more information about the benefits of incorporating healthy easy diets and fluids into their daily schedules through reading blogs or social media.

Encourage The Practice Of Healthy Exercise.

Exercising or promoting healthy lifestyle practices like meditation, yoga, exercises, and mindfulness sessions to keep yourself busy and distracted. Since drinking is often a chronic response to a need, you have not taken the time to articulate it. You could be hungry, thirsty, or tired, so eating a snack, drinking a glass of water, or going to bed early will produce the desired result. If you have an exercise routine, you might consider rescheduling it, so it falls across the cocktail hour.

Engaging yourself in any activity will keep you distracted and busy. Try to change your routine by adopting a new one and engaging with the world on a new plane. Talk to people on the phone or, as a last resort, in real life. These small changes can be worth thinking about every time you feel like drinking.

Breathe And Practice Mindfulness

Quitting drinking is simplest when you substitute rather than stop drinking since drinking is just a habit that can be replaced with another one. A substitution does not need to be that specific - the ritual matters. Stress is one of the leading causes of drinking and is considered one of the biggest contributing factors.

Simple breathing exercises can relieve general stress, whether sitting or standing. You can do it in under five minutes: spread your feet hip-width apart, breathe deeply into your belly as comfortably as possible, counting to five if necessary. Let the air flow out simultaneously without pausing or holding your breath. You can do this in your car before heading to work if you're not comfortable doing it in front of an audience. Health and fitness apps such as Vantage Fit have prerecorded mindful sessions to help you relax while doing your breathing exercises.

Summing It Up

Therefore, Sober October is a great opportunity to examine the role alcohol plays in your life (and raise money for charity).

Sobriety can be challenging, and there's no shame in having a harder time than expected. Talking to a professional or therapist is a good idea if you end the month with unresolved questions or concerns.

Getting the right support for alcohol use disorder is possible with the help of a trained healthcare professional. Hopefully, this article helped you prepare for the upcoming sober October challenge and gave you some insights.

This article is written by Neha Yasmin who is a content marketer at Vantage Circle. A selenophile with a penchant for discovering great meals and drinks. Is a self-proclaimed binge racer with a knack for cooking in her spare time. For queries, reach out to editor@vantagecircle.com

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