How to support a loved one who has stopped drinking

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Giving up alcohol can be a massive challenge – but also brings many benefits. So, what can you do to help a friend or loved one on the journey?

How to support a loved one who has stopped drinking

When my husband decided to stop drinking alcohol, I wanted to do all I could to help him. But worries about what to say – or what not to say – and the supportive actions I should take, made it a challenge to know how I could best be there for him.

There are many reasons why someone may cut back, or stop drinking alcohol altogether. For some, challenges like Dry January and Sober October give us the chance to rethink our relationship with alcohol, while others may be experiencing alcohol addiction.

Whatever the reason, when someone we care about tells us they are going to stop drinking, it’s important that we respond in a supportive way.

“Making changes in relation to problematic alcohol drinking, for some, can be extremely challenging and difficult,” says Andrew Harvey, a psychotherapeutic counsellor and addictions specialist. “Support from people around the person making changes can be extremely helpful, but has the potential to be difficult to do.

“Problematic drinking can be devastating for people affected by it, the drinker and those around them,” Andrew adds. “There is help, there is support, not only for the drinker but also for affected others. Depending upon the severity of the issue, recovery with additional support might be the best option.”

Harmful drinking can often impact the people around them, says Andrew. “This can range from negatively affecting people’s mental health, emotional wellbeing, and can be devastating to relationships. Equally, recovery and positive change in people’s relationship with alcohol can enable stability, hope, and a strengthening of relationships for those around them.”

Support from the start

When our loved one tells us they are going to stop drinking, we need to show them empathy and compassion. “Patience is also often important, as change doesn’t always happen in a straight line or at a pace we would like,” says Andrew. “Sometimes people’s motivations and desire for change wavers. Often asking someone how they would like to be supported in making the change is helpful to them, and then following through on that, when we can.”

How to support a loved one who has stopped drinking

Try to have an open conversation with them, letting them lead, to help you understand how you can best be there for them. While you can gently ask about their reasons for deciding to stop drinking, avoid being pushy with this, as some people may not want to go into a lot of detail about why they have made this decision. Respect that they are making this change.

And, for many, it’s a hugely positive change to make. “The benefits to people making changes to their relationship with alcohol are often in proportion to the damage that the drinking is doing,” says Andrew. “It can range from marginal health gains to saving their lives.”

It can be dangerous for some people to stop or reduce their alcohol consumption too quickly, so they should speak to their GP before they go ahead, to make sure they can get the right treatment a

5 powerful pieces of life advice you need to hear

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Want to know the most life-changing words of wisdom? Well you’re in luck. We reached out to our audience to find out the best life advice they’ve ever had, and these were their answers. Sit back, take it in, and prepare to see the world a little differently…

Thoughts aren’t facts

5 powerful pieces of life advice you need to hear

A simple yet powerful piece of advice we could all do with taking on board. When thoughts pass through our minds, we often take them at face value, believing them to be true. In reality, however, these thoughts aren’t factual. They are stories we’re telling ourselves.

Some of our stories are fuelled by fear, sending us into self-doubt spirals. When this happens, pause and remind yourself that thoughts aren’t facts. When we can distance ourselves from our overly critical or negative thoughts, we can see a more positive perspective.

This too shall pass

When times are tough and we can’t see an end in sight, we might think we’ll feel this way forever. The truth is, the only constant in life is change (and this is a good thing). It means the way you feel, the situation you’re in, will one day change. This too shall pass.

Remind yourself of this on darker days, taking a moment to think about what steps could push you closer to the light. And on the good days, this sentiment can remind you to appreciate them even more.

You can’t eat an elephant all at once, eat it one bite at a time

This is one for overwhelmed souls. Experiencing overwhelm can feel like being asked to eat an elephant – daunting, and too big a task to undertake. But the only way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time, and the only way to tackle big projects is one step at a time.

Break things down into small chunks, see if there’s anything you can delegate, and practice some radical prioritisation. Then, simply… start.

(Note: no elephants were harmed in the making of this article.)

Pace yourself

Pacing is a technique recommended for those with long-term conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome, encouraging them to balance activity with rest, and to monitor energy levels. This is excellent advice, and not only for those with chronic illness.

By pacing ourselves, only taking on what we have capacity for and recognising the importance of rest, we can all take better care of our wellbeing. Life isn’t a race, after all.

Find the good in every day

Every day may not be good, but there is good in every day – a simple saying that can help us look out for the positives. An easy way to incorporate this advice is to start a gratitude journal, noting the positives in your day. Perhaps a loved one checked in with you, or you got to do something you enjoy. Whatever it is, really notice it, no matter how big or small.

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What are the wonderful wellbeing benefits of Lego play as an adult?

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Despite the popularity of Lego for childhood play, it might not be the first hobby that comes to mind when you think of a therapeutic activity for adults. But, could this enriching and playful pastime form the building blocks for better wellbeing?

What are the wonderful wellbeing benefits of Lego play as an adult?

It’s no surprise that Lego brings wonderful learning opportunities for both adults and children, but apart from the commonly known benefits like teamwork and communication, more and more research is focusing on the wellbeing benefits that come into play as well. According to Lego Group’s Play Well Report 2022, 93% of adults regularly feel stressed, while 86% of adults claimed that play helps them to unwind, and, as a Lego fan myself, I can certainly vouch for this.

Clicking together shiny, coloured bricks for an hour after work each day was an unexpected, but welcome, joy that I’d never planned to indulge in. Don’t be fooled, I’m no pro Lego creator. And, truth be told, I was never drawn to Lego as a child like others were. In fact, it was only a few months ago that I really became fascinated by it and truly understood the appeal. I briefly mentioned to a friend that I was in need of a new hobby, and to my surprise she gifted me a wonderful 756-piece flower bouquet set. Since then, I have found it to be a great toolkit to managing stress and helping me switch-off.

Whether you’re an adult re-awakening your childhood passion, or just discovering the fun of creating and building from scratch for the first time, I’m not alone in finding joy, as well as a wealth of wellbeing benefits, in this newfound hobby. Since the launch of the 18+ Lego kits in 2020, more and more adults are heading to stores to alleviate themselves from the stressors of everyday life, and it’s pretty easy to see why.

So what actually are the benefits of Lego play, and how can it be used to rebuild your wellbeing?


We know that mindfulness can sometimes go amiss in the hustle and bustle of our daily lives, but practising mindfulness through a hobby can certainly make it that much easier. The next time you construct a Lego build, notice what your hands are doing while you interact with each brick. Consider the colour of the bricks and the shape of them. How does it make you feel? Ready to give this a proper go? Visit to read their step-by-step guide to mindfulness.

And if you want to delve further into the art of mindfulness with Lego, Build Yourself Happy: The Joy of LEGO Play, by author Abbie Headon (£9.99, DK Publishing), is the delightful self-help book with 50+ building activities and tips, specifically designed to help you find your mindful moment.


Activities like painting and crafting induce a naturally calming effect on the brain, and it’s no different for Lego. In an article by Well+Good, psychotherapist Melissa Lapides expresses the benefits of using it to reduce stress and anxiety. She says: “When you’re focusing on creating something, you’re pointing your mind in the direction of what you’re creating. This doesn’t leave room for unwanted thoughts to penetrate your brain.”

She goes on to explain that the hand-eye coordination required for this creative pursuit helps to indu

Supportive tips to help you manage your menstrual wellbeing in the workplace

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Dealing with a period at work can be a struggle, but these tips could help make it a smoother experience

Supportive tips to help you manage your menstrual  wellbeing in the workplace

Menstruation has long been a taboo topic, especially in the workplace – anyone who has had their period at work will likely be familiar with the period product up-the-sleeve trick! We have got a long way to go to break down the stigma around menstrual health in the workplace, but we are seeing great steps in the right direction. Free workplace period products for employees, the introduction of menstrual leave in some countries, and menopause policies, are all really exciting prospects.

Whatever your menstrual health experience, and wherever you are in your menstrual lifespan, there are a lot of ways you can support yourself to manage your menstrual wellbeing in the workplace.

Understand the menstrual cycle

This piece of advice comes with no blame or shame, as so many of us have been massively let down by our menstrual health education. But that can change. There are so many incredible resources, activists, and coaches out there to support your journey to menstrual wellbeing.

Some of my personal favourites include Maisie Hill, who has a great podcast and two incredible books. Unfabled is a wellness shop based around menstrual wellbeing – everything you’ve always wanted to try in one place. The Lowdown is a fantastic resource for all things contraception and cycle information. And, finally, Lara Briden’s Period Repair Manual has become my cycle bible, and I recommend it to everyone who has a cycle.

Know your own cycle

Menstrual cycle awareness is more than fertility, it’s an act of self-care. If you don’t track your cycle already, start today. It can be overwhelming to begin with, but starting small, and noting your cycle day and a few words about how you’re feeling, is enough. As the process goes on, you will notice patterns within your cycle. You’ll get to know what’s normal for you, and how you respond to each of the different cycle stages.

Know what you need

Within menstrual wellbeing coaching, we talk about the 1% rule: how can you get 1% of what you need to thrive? You might be thinking that 1% is a really small amount, but keep adding to your 1%, and it will quickly grow. Understanding your needs around your menstrual wellbeing is really key, especially if you are dealing with menstrual health challenges.

This can be a helpful process to go through in all areas of life, but focusing specifically on the workplace, how can you get that 1%? It could be as simple as having a spare set of clothes and a drawer full of period products. Who around you can support you in this? Who are your trusted people? Reach out to them first.

Control what you can

Sadly, the way we work doesn’t necessarily support our cycles, we aren’t all able to choose where and how we work. But another step to managing our menstrual wellbeing at work is controlling what we can control.

Options to help you here could be having a different-sized work uniform to keep you comfortable as your body changes throughout your cycle. Blocking out specific days in your diary to ensure no meet

An exploration into coming out in later life and embracing your authentic self

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Accepting and sharing your authentic self is a huge milestone, and one that there should be no set timeline for – it’s all about your needs, and when you feel ready. Here, psychotherapist Bhavna Raithatha explores the journey of ‘coming out’ as part of the LGBTQIA+ community, at any stage of life

An exploration into coming out in later life and embracing your authentic self

Coming out refers to the acknowledgement and sharing of a person’s sexual or gender affirmative identity to family, close friends, and, in time, the wider world. This journey is undertaken by thousands of people around the world every year, but it is not an easy one.

This is especially true for older individuals, who may be in their 40s, all the way up to those in their 90s and above, who grew up in times when coming out as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or identifying as queer (LGBTQIA+) was not only frowned upon by their families and wider society, but, in much of the world, was illegal and punishable by law.

For this community, coming out could have meant harassment from the law, and imprisonment, even with very little evidence, as in the case of Lord Montagu of Beaulieu, who in the 1950s was publicly humiliated through the law courts because of his association with military personnel who were gay. In some countries, it could even mean a death sentence. This is still the case in many places around the world today, and alarmingly, laws are being repealed that once were supportive of the LGBTQIA+ community.

Being LGBTQIA+ doesn’t just happen suddenly; most of us know or have an inkling that we are different from a very young age, but due to our situations, including for some a strict religious upbringing, living authentically is not always safe or possible.

We are used to hearing of people coming out in their teens and 20s, however, as society becomes a little more accepting, there is a higher incidence of people coming out in later years. Recent numbers from the Office of National Statistics indicate that 3.1% of the UK population aged over 16+ identified as LGB in 2020. Unfortunately, results for those identifying as trans aren’t available.

This could be helped, in part, by better representation in the public eye, as some well-known people who came out in later life include Wanda Sykes, Anderson Cooper, Sir Ian McKellen, and Cynthia Nixon. Seeing others pave the way can be hugely helpful to individuals on their own path, too.

An exploration into coming out in later life and embracing your authentic self

But every person has a unique story, and timing for when it is right to share your true feelings can vary. Reasons for not coming out earlier can include expectations and pressure in varying degrees from family and society to follow accepted norms, or to not bring perceived shame or dishonour to the family. For many, the threat to their careers and income was the primary factor in the past. In fact, people were not allowed to serve in the Army and be LGBTQIA+ – this rule was only repealed in the year 2000.

Many in the LGBTQIA+ community have felt pressured into heteronormative lives –