Charity Macmillan is challenging drinkers to ‘Go Sober for October’ this month to raise funds to support the work it does for cancer sufferers. This includes providing helplines, Macmillan nurses, information resources, healthcare professionals and financial support for those affected by cancer.
Since Macmillan first launched the annual Sober October campaign in October 2014, more than £33m has been raised to support the charity. Those who sign up for the campaign here ask friends and family to donate to them, with these funds going directly to Macmillan to help those living with cancer.
If you’re able to sign up and promise to go 31 days without alcohol, you’ll not only be raising money for a worthy cause, but you’re likely to personally benefit in several ways.
1) It can improve your healthStopping drinking or even reducing the amount of alcohol you consume can help you sleep better and improve your mental health.
It can also help you stay properly hydrated, as alcohol is a diuretic, and should also benefit your liver. Many people who stop drinking report that it helps them to lose weight and gives them more energy too.
If you’re able to stop drinking for longer than a month, then the health benefits are even greater. Long term abstinence from alcohol can reduce your chances of suffering from serious critical illnesses such as cancer, heart conditions or a stroke, which are the most claimed for critical illness conditions.
2) It will free up your timeSitting in the pub for hours at the weekend might be fun, but when you stop for a month, you might realise just how much else you can do with your spare time. Don’t forget those hours spent in bed nursing a hangover either.
Without alcohol in your life, you can perhaps take up that hobby you’ve always wanted to pursue or get yourself to the gym so you can focus on getting fit. Alternatively, you might decide to spend quality time with loved ones, or to learn something new such as a language or musical instrument.
3) It will boost your bank balanceMost of us are looking to reduce our outgoings given the current cost of living crisis, and cutting out alcohol for a month is a good way to do this.
Even if you only tend to spend £10 on a nice bottle of wine each week, stopping in October will give you an extra £40 in your pocket by the end of the month. If you can keep it up for a year, you’ll see your bank balance grow by £480, or even more if you usually buy a couple of bottles of wine or a few pints of beer each week.
Stopping drinking or reducing your alcohol intake can have other financial benefits. For example, if you’re buying protection insurance, such as critical illness cover or income protection, you must disclose how much you drink. If you consume a large amount of alcohol, insurers will consider you higher risk so you may be charged steeper premiums - or even be refused cover altogether.
Many protection providers are keen to help policy holders live longer and healthier lives, so often policies come with access to a range of additional benefits, very often free of charge. These can include online health checks, help to stop drinking or smoking, advice on fitness plans, and access to nutrition consultants, counsellors and other medical experts. In some cases, access to these services aren’t just offered to the policy holder, but to their immediate family as well. There are providers who even give policy holders access to discounts and rewards if they lead a healthier lifestyle, for example, discounted gym membership, free coffee and cinema tickets, so if you have protection or are considering buying cover, it’s worth checking your policy details to see what additional benefits are available to you.
To find out more about some of the ways you can protect you and your family, or for a review of your existing cover, get in touch with one of our expert advisers on 0800 073 1932.