I’m Rachel and I’ve worked at the NHSBSA for 10 years; starting at Scottish Life House in Newcastle as an advisor for the low-income scheme, and now I’m based at Stella House providing admin support for the Corporate Services Directorate.
I love working at the NHSBSA as there’s a strong sense of ‘family’. On a daily basis, I get to see the amazing support that’s provided to our colleagues to help improve their wellbeing – it makes me feel incredibly proud to be part of this organisation. Our current campaign, Dry January, has given me the opportunity to reflect on some of the changes that I want to make. One of these changes is to take part in the Great North Run in September, something I’ve always wanted to do.
At the end of December, I decided to take my first steps towards changing how I drink. It’s now my third week ‘dry’ and I’m starting to feel more alert and less tired. It’s such a great feeling knowing that I’m in control and I don’t need to have alcohol to have a good time.
At first, I found socialising was difficult as having a drink and seeing friends have always gone hand-in-hand! However, the key is to keep reminding myself that I don’t always need a drink to relax and it gets easier as time goes on. What helps me when I’m out? I’ve been having a tonic with a slice of lemon in a gin glass without the gin and I still feel like I’m still having a drink without the alcohol! Even if you just want to cut down and you’re not going ‘dry’, there are lower alcohol options out there to help reduce your alcohol consumption.
As part of the Dry January campaign, we were given ‘rethink your drink’ scratch cards – a quick and easy way to find out if you’re drinking too much. I’m not sure if I was unfortunate (or fortunate), but seeing that I had reached a higher risk level certainly prompted me to take action. Going forward, I’ll continue to keep an eye on how much I’m drinking and check the number of units I am having, making sure I target myself to keep within the recommendations.
Going ‘Dry’ in January isn’t for everyone but I’d encourage everyone to look into how much you’re drinking, you could sometimes be drinking more than you realise! I know that it’s definitely working for me and hopefully, I’ll see the results during my journey!
Don’t be afraid to ask your friends and colleagues for help throughout the month. There’s also lots of great advice and support available on the Dry January campaign and resources website.