Autumn – the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness – a season for reflection and preparation for the winter ahead.

October – the month to Stoptober, Go Sober and look out for #scpnswaptober

There is never a wrong time to quit smoking, reduce or quit alcohol and make changes for a healthy lifestyle. October is as good as any month to reflect and review, and this year there are even more reasons to do everything we can to build our resistance to illness. Lots going on with the Nation’s emotional and mental wellbeing, but being able to make one important change (whether it is stop or a modest swop) provides an opportunity to remember we do still have some control in our lives. 

Smoking and excess body weight means an increased risk of severe COVID and should be a major motivator for getting a bit more active (swap the sedentary for movement) and giving the lungs some good exercise (swap the saunter for the brisk/fast walk)   

Quitting smoking is the best action for improving lung health and there are now lots of nicotine products that can be swapped for tobacco to help make a headstart in the quit direction (see here for more ideas). For smokers and non-smokers alike it’s never too late to swap in more movement for everyday activities. Many people with lung conditions are anxious about what is safe but the answer is that lots of physical activity is good. For example, the British Lung Foundation provide some excellent guidance for getting started and how to keep going

Weight management is a much bigger challenge than can be handled in four October weeks but taking the swap challenge makes a start in the right direction. Food Standards Scotland provide some great basic ideas for snack swaps… add them up and they can make a big difference.

As for going sober in October (or indeed dry in January), it looks like government action to reduce the spread of COVID 19 could help us to stay sober for at least 2 weeks – let’s make the best of it. Lots of great ideas for how to cut alcohol out here.

Stop, swap. Go…. For October!

Annie S. Anderson