Let’s face it, the holidays can be challenging at the best of times, but particularly if you are quitting smoking. All those parties and social events, last-minute gifts to buy, dealing with long-lost relatives … the pressure can feel enormous at times. But remember, quitting is all about taking it one hour, one day and one week at a time. Here are some tips to get you through those tough moments and help you resist the urge to smoke when it strikes.
- Be choosy
If you know that attending a certain get-together will make you want to light up, think about skipping it this year. You can always return next year when you’re feeling stronger.
- Make a plan
If you must attend a potentially difficult get-together, get your game plan in order. The urge to smoke usually passes within a few minutes1, so think about things you can do till the feeling is gone. Tools like your Quit Kit and having a list of things you can do instead of smoking – such as drinking a glass of water or chewing a piece of gum – will help distract you until the feeling passes. Ask your host if you can help them serve the food or play DJ – whatever it takes to stay busy!
- Give people the heads-up
If you know you’ll see a group of friends and family over the holidays who you’ve smoked with in the past, you might want to give them a heads-up that you’ve quit. If they still pressure you to smoke, know exactly how you’ll say no. Practise saying your response out loud in a mirror before you need to say it for real.
- Make smart choices
’Tis the season of... chocolate, booze and pudding. But it’s important that you continue to make healthy choices. Crunchy healthy snacks such as nuts and carrot sticks will keep your mouth busy and give you the energy you might need to handle potential stress. If you’re craving something sweet while keeping an eye on your waistline, try one of our ideas for healthy sweets that satisfy.
If you know alcohol is one of your triggers, avoid it. Instead, try soda water with a squeeze of lemon or lime, or get creative with other festive non-alcoholic refreshments such as a mocktail or two. Staying hydrated by drinking plenty of water can reduce headaches2 and may help you manage your weight.3
- Take time to relax
We all know the holidays are a special time for family get-togethers … but, if we’re honest, that can also be stressful at times. Taking some time out to relax – even for just 10 minutes – will help get you through those hectic holiday moments. Go for a walk, play with the dog, listen to music, do some yoga … whatever it is that helps you de-stress.
- Recite your reasons
There are many different reasons for quitting. Write down your reasons for quitting and carry them with you wherever you go. Duck into the bathroom and read them out loud in the mirror when you have the urge to smoke.
- Be kind to yourself
Don’t be too hard on yourself either. If you don’t tackle your whole shopping list or you have seconds on dessert, that’s okay. You’re accomplishing so much by not smoking – like saving money from not buying cigarettes, and improving your health and that of your family by not exposing them to secondhand smoke. Be proud of your victories.
Before you know it, you’ll be ringing in the new year smoke-free and feeling better than ever!