Nicky Smith Wellbeing Alcohol Advisor

About Nicky:

Nicky Smith, Wellbeing Advisor (Alcohol)

Nicky Smith has worked for Adur & Worthing Councils since October 2020 and is currently an Alcohol Wellbeing Advisor.

Nicky's role is to work with adults 18+, who live, work and study in Adur & Worthing, who do not already have a dependency with alcohol. Supporting people to reduce their alcohol use and better understand their relationship with alcohol, whilst making small but positive changes to improve their overall wellbeing.

The alcohol prevention service is delivered via a blended approach of 1:1 extended brief interventions via video, telephone, walk and talk sessions and face to face.

Outside of work Nicky enjoys being creative and has a degree in fine art. Her creativity also connects her with nature and the environment, growing flowers and veggies and she is actively involved in community gardening projects.

You can read Nicky's current blog posts on this page below:

See also: Alcohol wellbeing on the Adur & Worthing Wellbeing website

25th May 2022: A body in motion is a mind at ease

Did you know that May is national walking month? With the recent good weather reminding us that summer is finally on its way, it's time to dust off the ole hooves!!

May is the perfect time to get those legs moving after the sedentary months of winter! For healthy lives, we should be aiming for 8,000 to 10,000 steps per day and to increase these if (like me) you are still carrying some of those post-covid pounds and want to achieve a healthier weight.

Photo: These are my feet

2022-05-26 - My feet

A recent report, by Active Lives Sussex (MP4 video on the Acive Lives Sussex website), has some really interesting West Sussex data which highlights that physical activity decreased during covid, notably amongst those of us who live in a town or less rural areas.

Having relocated to West Sussex, I feel genuinely lucky and grateful to be surrounded by the rolling South Downs and the sea. Just having the space to breathe and walk is truly a privilege, after living many concrete years in various parts of London, I will always appreciate the feeling of space.

Photo: Devils Dyke, East Sussex

2022-05-26 - Devils Dyke, East Sussex

There are some amazing walks and stunning views, right on our doorstep. If the last two years have taught us anything, it's that life is precious and full of the unexpected, so don't waste it, make it count. Make a walking 'to do' list and go exploring. I have a couple on my 'to do' list, such as Lancing College Chapel and Bramber Castle, but mostly I like a spontaneous day trip and to see where it goes!

Photo: A couple of bags!

2022-05-26 - A couple of bags!

Walking for Wellbeing has many health benefits, such as:

  • Maintaining a healthy weight and losing body fat
  • Prevent or manage various conditions, including heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, cancer and type 2 diabetes
  • Improve cardiovascular fitness
  • Strengthen your bones and muscles
  • Increase energy levels

I wanted to also talk about the benefits walking can have on your mental health. As they say “A body in motion, is a mind at ease” and I've noticed that walking helps to quiet the mind rubble, dull the clatterings and if you tend to wander into the over-thinker arena (like me) the respite a walk offers can be priceless!

There are many walking groups in and around West Sussex that you can join, check out A&W Health Walks. Walking is a great way to meet new people, get some exercise and connect with nature all at the same time. It's a win, win!

If you are looking for other ways as well as walking to stay healthy, the Wellbeing Team has got you covered in all areas, check out the links below…

Until next time, from me and my walking buddy Ernest

2022-05-26 - Me and my walking buddy Ernest

Nicky :)

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12th May 2022: Mental Health and the impact of loneliness

Mental Health Awareness Week: 9th to 15th May 2022

This year's mental health week is helping highlight how loneliness affects our mental health. Feeling lonely is something that all of us can experience at any point in our lives, which can have negative impacts on our health and wellbeing.

There are lots of simple actions that you can do to help others who may be feeling lonely this #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek, including:

  • Giving a friend or family member a call
  • Inviting someone for a walk
  • Reaching out to a friend for a cuppa

You might find that reaching out to someone else could help you to feel less lonely too.

Find out how you can help lift someone out of loneliness

2022-05-12 - Mental Health Awareness Week - 9th to 15th May 2022

I remember when I first relocated to West Sussex, I felt very out of my depth. I'd always had a very romanticised image of relocating to the seaside, none of which played out by the way. The reality was a far cry from the version I had always imagined.

There were definitely times during relocation that I experienced loneliness, doubt, panic and in those moments whether brief or extended, I remember just feeling very alone and overwhelmed, and of course, it impacted on my mental health.

When I really sit here and think of the impact of loneliness on mental health, it affects everyone at different ages and stages of their life, from childhood onwards and it's easier now to feel loneliness as it is more prevalent now partly due to more and more services going online.

Our mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social wellbeing. It affects how we think, feel and act. Everybody has mental health and everybody's mental health fluctuates depending on their experiences and what they are going through. When elements of human connection and interaction are missing, loneliness can be difficult to manage.

Sometimes it can feel easier to reach out to someone else who may be feeling lonely. There are plenty of simple actions you can take to help lift someone out of loneliness and in doing so, it might help you to feel less lonely too.

Here is some practical advice and tips on how to help yourself or others if you or they are feeling lonely.

  • Keep in touch with those around you
  • Join a group
  • Do things you enjoy
  • Share your feelings – but do not compare
  • Help someone else feel connected

If you cannot reach out to friends or family, if you want to talk to someone in confidence, or if you know someone who may need some support, these National organisations are here to help.

At Adur & Worthing Communities and Wellbeing Team, we offer a range of support services, which can help you connect with your local community and join groups.

Plus we also offer a range of health prevention services that cover all aspects of physical and emotional wellbeing.

Nicky :)

Check out below Adur & Worthing free to access Wellbeing Services, helping you on the way to Wellbeing:

Local Mental Health Support:

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5th May 2022: It’s good to talk

Dying Matters Awareness Week is an opportunity to encourage communities to get talking about death, dying and bereavement in whatever way, shape or form works for them.

The COVID-19 pandemic meant many more people experienced the loss of a loved one, many at home and without access to the emotional and practical support they needed. Never before has opening up conversations about death and talking to friends, relatives and loved ones in advance been so important.

The theme of Dying Matters Awareness Week is the importance of being in a good place to die – physically, emotionally, financially, spiritually and digitally and it is important for families to think about it, to talk about it and to plan for it.

Raising awareness of bereavement and loss, As part of the Compassionate Communities West Sussex approach, West Sussex County Council has produced two short videos to raise awareness of bereavement and loss and to support people in having conversations about bereavement and loss, and commissioned Citizens Advice to undertake engagement with ethnic minority communities about their experience of bereavement and loss.

Talking about bereavement and loss animation - Talking about bereavement and loss animation. A short introduction to a journey through bereavement and loss, highlighting how friends and people in the community can connect with someone who has been bereaved, and offer help and support.

Supporting someone who is grieving - Supporting someone who is grieving. Nicky Hitchcock from the As you Are Centre in Southwick talks about how people experience bereavement and loss, and provides some ideas of what you can say or do to support someone who is grieving.

Citizens Advice in West Sussex (North South East) have published their community engagement report Supporting communities through bereavement and loss - supporting communities through bereavement and loss, about the experience of bereavement and loss in ethnically diverse communities.

The report identifies five community-led recommendations to improve the experience of bereavement and support available to ethnic minority communities in West Sussex: developing an integrated approach to improve access to services; ensuring information resources are accessible, centrally available and widely promoted; sharing information amongst local trusted sources; increasing Equality, Diversity and Inclusion training, and widely promoting a culture that supports talking about death more openly.

There will be local events and seminars taking place across West Sussex, and to mark this national awareness week, organisations in West Sussex are holding a range of events and seminars. Events are free to access and will help residents to develop knowledge, skills and understanding around death, dying, bereavement and loss.

For further information on events and seminars and online events, as well as useful resources you can download, please visit:

Local charity Dementia Support has been working in partnership with West Sussex County Council and The Selsey Community Forum to purchase 200 steel forget-me-nots from Chi-Africa. The aim is to help provide a space for communities to come together to share their grief in a meaningful way after lockdowns prevented them from doing so at the time, with many not getting the chance to say goodbye.

The installation will visit Crawley, Horsham, Burgess Hill, Worthing, and will end the week at Chichester Festival Theatre on Friday, May 13th. The forget-me-knots will then be distributed to the communities for permanent installation.

For more information, see the Sussex Local Magazine website.

Until next time, Nicky.

2022-05-05 - Dying matters Week

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21st April 2022: Public Health funding to help your wellbeing

“Wellbeing offers up to six sessions with a Wellbeing advisor, where you can discuss in confidence any health or emotional matters that you feel are currently holding you back.”

Spring has finally sprung and this is my first Wellbeing blog for what seems like an age, having recently taken some time off due to ill health, but I am back now and I wanted to give a brief update and refresh on A&W Wellbeing support services.

We were lucky to have secured grant funding from Public Health for the next five years which enables us to continue providing key prevention services for residents and workplaces, with a renewed focus post-Covid.

We really want to spread the word that all our services are completely free, private and confidential and accessible to all aged 18+ who live, work or study in Adur and Worthing.

The Wellbeing team is a preventative service focusing on key health issues such as stopping smoking and alcohol reduction, healthy eating and getting active, as well as improving both physical and mental health. As services are now beginning to open up again, I wanted to give a brief overview of some of the services that are currently operating under Wellbeing.

Wellbeing offers up to six sessions with a Wellbeing advisor, where you can discuss in confidence any health or emotional matters that you feel are currently holding you back. All our Wellbeing advisors are trained in using a variety of evidence-based techniques working with you on a one-to-one basis and recognise that it’s important to work with clients at the right time and at their own pace.

Wellbeing advisors work with you and support you to get back on track and can easily connect you to our Wellbeing specialised programmes, such as NHS Smoking Cessations, Weight Management, Get Active, Alcohol Wellbeing and Pre-Diabetes awareness workshops as well as NHS Health checks and other specialist services.

Our Wellbeing advisors are trained to deliver NHS health checks for adults aged 40 to 74. The NHS health check is primarily designed to spot early signs of stroke, kidney disease, heart disease, type 2 diabetes or dementia. However, within the appointment, blood pressure and cholesterol levels are checked, BMI and overall health and wellbeing is monitored. See:

Wellbeing will also continue to provide Workplace Health support for small local businesses throughout Adur and Worthing. The role is currently being redeveloped to offer a renewed focused local approach, to assist small businesses around Wellbeing for work, as we recognise that a healthy workforce makes for a stronger business. See:

For further information on any of Adur & Worthing Wellbeing Services, you can speak to a member of our team at the Wellbeing Hub on 01903 221 450 or check out the links below for free to access Wellbeing Services, helping you on the way to Wellbeing.

Until next time!

Nicky :)

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2022-04-21 - Support - Scrabble letters (Pixabay - 2355701)

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2nd February 2022: So dare I ask that dreaded question? ... How was it for you?

With February underway, I thought it would be good to reflect back on Dry January for myself and my colleagues Tyler, Lucy, Therese and Tom, who all took on the challenge.

This is my second time taking on Dry January and I found it a lot easier, last year was much more of a struggle. This time, being alcohol free hasn't bothered me and I can feel there has definitely been a shift for me around alcohol. I am much more aware and considerate around alcohol. Doing this solely for my own health and wellbeing, has given me confidence in myself, which has felt empowering.

2021-12-24 - Dry January - no more hangovers, get your energy back (ACUKM)

Tyler Slade said:

“I decided to take up the challenge of zero alcohol throughout January (and onwards even maybe?!). If I'm honest, I wouldn't say I'm a big drinker, I do however often use it as a reward, a treat, a way of dealing with stress or to fit in.

“I wanted to test myself that I can get through these feelings / environments without booze and although tempted I've managed it. I think this comes down to how much, or little as the case maybe, what I really value, and the actions I take which align with that. I'd prefer to be present 'as me' if that be with the kids, mates or in my own company”.

Lucy Shering admitted:

"I'd never attempted Dry January before. I have always really enjoyed a drink (or three!) and I can't remember going for any longer than one week without some sort of alcohol and I was looking forward to the challenge, although worried that I might find it too difficult.

“At first, I found it surprisingly easy, but by mid-January, I experienced strong yearnings for a large glass of wine or a G'n'T - particularly if it had been a stressful day. I didn't give in to the temptation - but I came close!

“I'm glad that I've stuck it out. I now notice I had developed a habit of pouring myself a drink to mark the end of a working day, to unwind. Due to Dry January, I've read, cooked and listened to more music – and although I will always enjoy a drink now and then, it is my aim to be mindful around alcohol and to drink at a lower level and to feel better as a result."

Therese Woodhams said:

“The email-inviting volunteers to try Dry January appealed to my 'help out a colleague' instinct. A nagging doubt hit the moment I said OK. I knew my couple of glasses of bubbles on a Saturday, a glass of red with a Sunday roast and the odd tot of whisky, whilst watching the horse racing (a nod to dad), were deeply ingrained habits.

“I accidentally ate an Espresso Martini chocolate two days in, but convinced myself I had not fallen off the wagon. The whisky tried calling once, when feeling sniffly. Success was only possible as hubby had joined in. Except, he tempted me with a glass of champers at our wedding venue on the 30th and then ordered himself sparkling water. Clearly, he wanted to win more. But at maybe two units compared to nearly 30 for a month, I won too.

Tom Visconti said:

“I gave Dry January a go after an indulgent Christmas. I felt bloated and needed a break from booze. The first two weeks went without a hitch. I welcomed the change and there wasn't a lot going on to tempt me. I was also using this opportunity to stop smoking - I didn't smoke heavily, but I would smoke a lot more when I was drinking.

“During the third week I had some stressful days and felt the urge to have a drink - which was especially hard as there was a lot of leftover Christmas booze! Some non-alcoholic beer helped me ride the wave. When it got to the fourth week I did have a few drinks at the weekend - but I feel good despite not making it through the whole month, as I've achieved my main goal and have not smoked since!”

My colleagues have provided some lovely insights and I want to thank them for sharing their personal experiences! Until the next time, stay safe ...

Find out more about Dry January on their website.

Nicky :)

2022-02-02 - Two dry days a week

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2021-12-24 - Dry January - a total reset, get your you back (ACUKM)

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27th January 2022: Taking each day as it comes

It's a new year and I must admit I was so ready to say goodbye to 2021 and welcome in 2022! And as the long month of January has been playing out, it turns out there were a couple of unexpected bumps in the road! Yet, I have stayed committed to Dry January, allowing myself two planned drinking days and extending my end date to 5th February, so that much is on track!

January, for me, has always been that reflective month of the year. It allows me to take time to contemplate what's working, what's holding me back and what can be navigated through and improved upon.

Like many before me, I fell into the trap of giving myself a long unrealistic list of all the things I would put in place for myself on New Year's Day - you know, for self-improvement purposes?! To be fair, to achieve such a list, without navigating any bumps in the road is impossible! ... I would've needed a time machine, personality overhaul, a lottery win and a miracle, so the odds were never truly in my favour!

Overcoming that disappointment is a tough one - a gut sinking feeling that you haven't come close to meeting your own expectations, and then, life just throws you a massive curve ball and you're reluctantly playing catch up, with all your good intentions flying past you, whilst sitting there bewildered wondering, just how did I get here?

You may have even noticed yourself, that when we have a bad day, negative feelings can take over affecting the whole day, picking up momentum the more we focus on the negative and can even roll over to the next day. It's these days or times that can feel the most frustrating of all, when we feel we have lost control.

The mind can be a tricky thing and has a beautiful way of over dramatising things whilst holding on to all those negatives, the what ifs, buts and maybes on loop, so utterly draining. When negative emotions creep in, try to listen and then break them down. Remembering that we ALL have complete autonomy over what we do, think and say.

I can only tell you how I manage these types of feelings as it takes work to push through and get out of a negative thought cycle and back on track. What helps me, is naturally I am someone who lives in the present moment. That doesn't mean to say I don't plan, of course I do, but living in the moment helps me stay connected in the present. If I ever feel myself mentally wandering too far into the future or straying backwards into the past, I gently remind myself that the next 24 hours is the only time that truly matters, deal with what is in front of you in real time, there is no use worrying about what hasn't happened or agonising over things that have, it's unchangeable, let go.

Whilst life can certainly left field us at times, I like to hold space for opposite emotions to co-exist, stress/relaxation, disappointment/hope, sadness/happiness, trust/forgiveness, which gives balance and is an all-round much kinder space to sit in and navigate through.

And although I haven't come close to meeting my (impossible) self-imposed January potential, I am looking forward to how the rest of 2022 plays out, taking each day as it comes, knowing the rest will fall into place when it's ready too, it always does!

Until the next time, stay safe ... Nicky :)

2022-01-27 - Looking out to sea between two beach huts

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Page last updated: 25 May 2022

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