Quitting Smoking – Help for Cravings and Tough Situations

Quitting Smoking – Help for Cravings and Tough Situations

Thanks to Jillygirl :-) for finding the following information out for us to share with you all;

What does it take to stay quit?

Quitting smoking can be a long and hard process. But staying quit is the longest and most important part of it. Every day you must decide not to smoke today. Each day that you do not smoke is a small victory. These all add up to a huge victory over time. Many of the things you did to help you quit smoking can help you gain that victory :-)

How can I get through rough spots after I stop smoking?

:-) For the first few days after you quit smoking, spend as much free time as you can in public places where smoking is not allowed. (Places like libraries, malls, museums, theaters, restaurants without bars, and churches are often smoke-free. Look for the no-smoking signs.)

:-) Take care of yourself. Drink water, eat well, and get enough rest. This can help you have the energy you may need to handle extra stress.

Don’t drink alcohol, coffee, or any other drinks you link with smoking. Try something else instead – maybe different types of water, sports drinks, or 100% fruit juices. Try to choose drinks that are low- or no-calorie.

:-) If you miss the feeling of having a cigarette in your hand, hold something else – a pencil, a paper clip, a coin, or a marble, for example.

:-) If you miss the feeling of having something in your mouth, try toothpicks, cinnamon sticks, sugarless gum, sugar-free lollipops, or celery. Some people chew on a straw or stir stick.

:-) Avoid temptation – stay away from people and places you link with smoking.

:-) Find new habits and create a non-smoking environment around you.

:-) Be ready for future situations or crises that might make you want to smoke again, and think of all the important reasons you have decided to quit.

To remind yourself of these reasons, you may want to put a picture of the people who are the most important to you somewhere you see it every day, or keep one handy in your purse or wallet.

:-) Take deep breaths to relax. Picture your lungs filling with fresh, clean air.

:-) Remember your goal and the fact that the urges to smoke will get better over time.

:-) Think positive thoughts about how brilliant it is that you are quitting smoking and getting healthy :-)

:-) If you notice your thoughts taking a downturn, try replacing them with a mental picture of your goal. Remember that quitting is a learning process. Be patient with yourself.

:-) Brush your teeth and enjoy that fresh taste.

:-) Exercise in brief bursts (try alternately tensing and relaxing muscles, push-ups, lunges, walking up the stairs, or touching your toes)

:-) Call a friend, family member, or a telephone stop-smoking help-line when you need extra help or support

:-) Eat 4 to 6 small meals during the day instead of 1 or 2 large ones. This keeps your blood sugar levels steady, your energy balanced, and helps prevent the urge to smoke. Avoid sugary or spicy foods that may trigger a desire to smoke

:-) Above all, reward yourself for doing your best. Give yourself rewards often if that’s what it takes to keep going. Plan to do something fun

When you get the “crazies” :-/

Cravings are real – they’re not just your imagination. When you feel the “crazies” you may also notice that your mood changes, and your heart rate and blood pressure may go up. Try these tips to get through these times, and hang in there – the cravings will get better:

:-) Keep substitutes handy that you can suck or chew on, such as carrots, pickles, apples, celery, raisins, or sugar-free gum or hard candy

:-) Know that anger, frustration, anxiety, irritability, and even depression are normal after quitting and will get better with time. See your doctor if these feelings last for more than a month

:-) Take 10 deep breaths, and hold the last one while lighting a match. Exhale slowly and blow out the match. Pretend it is a cigarette and put it out in an ashtray

:-) Go for a walk. Exercise can improve your mood and relieve stress

:-) Take a shower or bath

:-) Learn to relax quickly and deeply. Make yourself go limp. Think about a soothing, pleasing situation, and imagine yourself there. Get away from it all for a moment. Focus on that peaceful image and nothing else

:-) Light incense or a candle instead of a cigarette

:-) Tell yourself “no.” Say it out loud. Practice doing this a few times, and listen to yourself. Some other things you can say to yourself might be, “I’m too strong to give in to smoking,” “I’m not a smoker now,” or “I don’t want to let my friends and family down.”

:-) Never allow yourself to think that “one cigarette won’t hurt,” because it very likely will

:-) Wear a rubber band around your wrist. Whenever you have a thought about smoking, snap it against your wrist to remind yourself of all the unpleasant reasons that made you want to quit in the first place. Then remember that you will not always need a rubber band to help you stay in line with your plans to quit

Other ways to stay active

You may have a lot of pent-up energy while trying to quit. Consider these activities when you’re looking for something to do besides smoking. And many of these things can help keep you from gaining weight after quitting, too.

Many of these activities are free. Others are fairly cheap. Some of the exercises can be done at home – for instance, you can rent a DVD for beginner’s yoga, tai chi, or aerobics – or maybe even borrow one from the library. And you can always make up your own activities – this is just a starter list of ideas. Notice how over time it gets easier to do these things. And watch how much better you can breathe as each day passes without smoking;

Sports

Walking or jogging

Biking

Skating

Hiking

Swimming

Aerobics

Dancing

Bowling

Soccer

Tennis

Volleyball

Softball

Basketball

Martial arts

Yoga

Working around your home

Gardening

Cooking, grilling, or baking

Organizing/cleaning out the basement, garage, closet, or attic

Organizing a car boot / yard sale

Painting/re-decorating rooms

Washing/waxing the car

Vacuuming and dusting

Walking the dog (your's or a friend’s)

Going out

Fishing or camping

Having a picnic

Shopping

Getting a manicure or pedicure

Going to a car boot, garage sale or yard sale

Going to a library or bookstore

Going to a museum

Going to a movie

Hobbies and crafts

Playing (or learning) a musical instrument

Starting a collection (stamps, coins, or shells, for example)

Puzzles (crossword or jigsaw)

Board games with family or friends

Starting a journal or scrapbook

Organizing photos

Woodwork, whittling

Knitting, crocheting, sewing, or other needlework

Writing (journaling, letters to the editor, poems, articles, books)

Relaxing

Reading

Meditating

Listening to a relaxation CD

Taking a nap

Listening to music

Video games

Catching up on emails

Being with others

Calling an old friend

Having someone over for dinner or to watch movies

Going out to eat

Joining a group or club

Having a family get-together

Staying quit over the holidays

The first few weeks after quitting smoking can be hard for anyone. And staying quit may be extra tough during the holiday season, when stress and the temptation to overindulge are often worse. Some special efforts can help you celebrate the holidays without giving in to the urge to smoke. Many of these ideas can also be helpful throughout the year.

Celebrate being an ex-smoker and try these tips to keep your mind off smoking:

:-) Be a host

Consider hosting the family dinner to keep yourself busy. Shopping and cooking will certainly take up a lot of your time. If you would prefer being a guest this year, maybe you can make a special dish to take with you.

:-) Don’t overdo it

Without smoking, you might be inclined to go overboard with the holiday feasting. Be aware of how much you are eating and drinking; it may be easy to give in to these other temptations. If you do overdo it, forgive yourself. Remember, next year it won’t be as hard.

:-) Try to stay away from alcohol

Stick to club soda, seltzer, punch without alcohol, or apple cider. This will curb the urge to light up when drinking and can also help keep off extra pounds

:-) Avoid spicy and sugary foods

Spicy and sugary foods tend to enhance cravings for cigarettes.

:-) Nibble on low-calorie foods

Low-calorie foods such as carrot sticks, apples, and other healthy snacks, help to satisfy your need for crunch without adding up to extra pounds.

:-) Stretch out meals

Eat slowly and pause between bites to make a meal more satisfying. For dessert, grab an orange or tangerine, or crack some nuts – something that will keep your hands busy

:-) Keep busy at parties

Playing bartender, serving snacks, and meeting guests will help keep your mind off smoking. If the urge to smoke presents itself, put something in your hand other than a cigarette. A bartender’s mixing straw is a perfect substitute.

:-) Treat yourself to something special

As a celebration of staying quit, think about buying yourself that special something you’ve been wanting.

:-) Don’t wait until the last minute to shop

Any added frustration can leave you wanting a cigarette. Take along your favorite magazine, book, or catalogue to look through while waiting in line. When you feel you are ready to lose control, stop and think. Take hold of yourself and start talking with someone in line next to you, or start looking at what you brought with you

More suggestions

If you have a weak moment during the holidays and slip, don’t panic. Walk through the door, take a deep breath, and decide to resume your quitting program right away. Destroy any cigarettes you have before you’re tempted to smoke another. Remind yourself of your commitment to quit, and all the reasons you quit. Try to figure out why you had a setback and learn from it.

Here are more ideas that have helped smokers kick the habit:

Stay positive

When you wake up each morning, make the promise you won’t smoke a cigarette that day. A day at a time keeps the whole thing more manageable.

Picture your success

Plan ahead and think of how you will deal with stressful situations without turning to cigarettes.

Take a breather

Relaxation exercises can help relieve the urge to smoke. Take a deep breath, hold it for a second, then release it very slowly. Remember, the urge to smoke is only temporary. It will pass.

Work out

Physical activity, such as swimming, running, and racquet sports, helps relieve tension and the urge to smoke. Exercise will also help burn off any extra pounds.

Make friends of ex-smokers and non-smokers

Ex-smokers and non-smokers can be your partners to help keep you busy and away from cigarettes. Plan time together that explores new outlets you might enjoy. Remember, you are learning to be a non-smoker, and you need to find new places and activities to replace your old smoking-centered ones.

This list should give you plenty of thought and will at least keep you busy by just thinking about everything it has suggested. There is something for everyone within the above, so what will you choose to help you? :D

:D Remember, you can do this and you will do it. Whether it is now or in the future, you will get there eventually. Just believe in yourself and know that we are all behind you all the way :D

3 Replies

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  • Thanks jillygirl :) Good to see it all put together like this, good to read and reread. Doing relaxation on the train, lovely deep breaths and sighs. No-one's noticing :) Must have taken you ages to compile!

    Here's to a smoke free day! Every one's a winner! :)

  • Hi EmJay this is really helpful. Just read this and know I'm making myself struggle a bit by drinking coffee in the morning and not having breakfast. Also had a couple of glasses of wine last night - think maybe I just need to cut all these out as think its making it harder for me. Thanks for posting this, as you say I reaffirm to myself everyday that I'm not going to smoke today, so day 18 now here goes

  • I can't take the credit for this folks, it was all thanks to Jillygirl :D

    Betts, another tip is that if you practice breathing exercises frequently, then they will come to you really easy at the times when you need them most, for example - on the onset of cravings :-)

    Chris, you're on the right track :-) If you really want your coffee in the morning, why not try decaf? Having breakfast in the morning is a positive move. Even if you just had a small bowl of cereal or a piece of toast, then that's a start. With regards to the wine, if you are finding it hard then maybe it might be an idea to curb it for now. Unless you can stop after the one glass?

    Just remember, you only have to give up that one cigarette... the very next one that you want to smoke :D

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