The holiday season can be especially challenging for those of us who are working to quit smoking. Additional burdens, stresses and associations this time of year can put a new quit program at risk.
Knowledge is PowerUsually, the more we know, the better off we are. When it comes to smoking cessation, this concept is doubly true. A clear understanding of potential pitfalls allows us to move through recovery from nicotine addiction with our eyes open, prepared for what may (or may not) come. And the psychological value of planning ahead is well worth the mental exercise and goes a long way towards paving the way to success.
Watch Out for #1Simply put, take care of yourself first, and the rest will flow more smoothly. We're prone to overextending ourselves during the holidays because there's so much more to do. The result is fatigue and crankiness, and that can translate into lack of focus for smoking cessation, putting new quitters in danger of relapse.
Take steps every day to insure that you are taking care of your mental and physical health this holiday season.
The following tips can serve as a daily checklist to make sure you're staying on track with self-care.
Your BodyTake a Multivitamin
Getting the extra boost of a daily vitamin is good insurance when you're busy and meals are hectic and sometimes lack proper nutrition.
Start your day off right. Eat a well-balanced meal that provides your body with the energy it needs.
Water is critical for our bodies to function properly. Poor hydration leaves us achy and tired, so be aware of your water intake and make sure you get enough.
With all of the hustle and bustle this time of year, getting enough exercise is easy. Park at the back of the lot when shopping, use the stairs rather than the escalator, and hit all of the aisles at the grocery store. Exercise provides energy and a better attitude. Use it to your advantage.
If you don't get enough sleep, everything else suffers. Shoot for 7 to 8 hours a night most nights, and add a power nap during the day if you need to. A well-rested you will be better equipped to manage the stresses that come along while also maintaining your quit program. Don't skimp on sleep.
Your MindQuit Smoking Support
Don't forget to check in for a shot of encouragement when you're feeling weak or tired. You're not alone on this journey: Thousands of others are going through their first smoke-free holiday season too.
Deep breathing is an immediate fix for stress and you can do it anywhere. Breathe in through your nose for a count of three and exhale through your mouth for a count of three. Repeat this for a few minutes, and the tension in your body will begin to fall away.
Relax your expectations a little and give yourself a break this year. Maintaining your quit program takes energy, so allow for that by cutting back on the amount of work you do in preparation for the holiday season this year.
Make a couple of lists -- one that details the things you must do, and one that lists the tasks you can let go if necessary. Lists will help you see the whole picture and prioritize. From there, delegate. Let others help you. Friends and family are usually more than willing -- all you need to do is ask.
Relieve the pressure on yourself, and simplify where possible. You can return to your normal routine next year when smoking cessation is well behind you.
Your SoulFeed Your Spirit
Schedule a half hour (or more) of pamper time every single day as you go through this holiday season. Recharge your batteries and feed your soul in ways that work for you.
Take time for...
- a cup of tea
- a movie
- a long, hot bath
- a hobby that soothes you
- a good book
- meditation -- take 15 minutes to quiet the internal chatter
Holiday AssociationsChances are good that as you work your way through your first smoke-free holiday season, you'll face a number of triggers to smoke associated with this time of year specifically. Some are obvious and expected, like the stress mentioned above and drinking at Holiday Parties
Smoking was thoroughly intertwined in everything we did in our lives. It only makes sense that your first smoke-free holiday season might trigger associations that bring on cravings.