I know that trying to quit smoking is extremely difficult. I’ve been there myself, recently in fact. I am proud to say that after 20+ years smoking, I am now a non-smoker going on 5 months. I am not going to lie, it was a hard road, but not impossible. I would like to share with you the tips and tricks that got me where I am today. Hopefully these tips can help you in your journey of kicking the habit.
- Deep Breathing
When you get the urge to light a cigarette, take in a deep breath and let it out slowly. I am sure you know by now that stress is a strong trigger for your nicotine cravings. Breathing slowly will help relax and calm you down. The extra oxygen you’re breathing in can help with your headaches and/or the feelings of dizziness/lightheadedness. I searched YouTube for videos that taught deep breathing exercises since I wasn’t very good at doing it on my own. One of my favorites can be found HERE.
- Drink Lots of Water
Did you know that drinking water can actually speed up the nicotine detox? What this means is that your cravings will go away quicker as the nicotine leaves your body. Drinking water will also help by breaking up the mucus in your lungs making it easier to cough. Another benefit of drinking plenty of water is it will help combat your increased appetite without changing your eating habits. (Increased appetite is one of the side effects that I did not particularly care for while I was quitting smoking. Drinking water did help me battle my new cravings for food to satisfy my nicotine void.)
Although I already covered deep breathing, meditation is a great way to handle some of the psychological aspects of going through nicotine withdrawal. Learning how to meditate can help ease your stress which in turn helps curb that want/need for nicotine. There are several different ways to meditate. A few examples are repeating specific mantras, deep breathing, and envisioning special thoughts or pictures. Learning simple meditation techniques can help you find out what might be triggering your cravings. Once you figure out what these triggers are, you can learn to avoid them.
- Limiting Your Caffeine Intake
Coffee is a stimulant that increases your heartrate which makes dealing with stress more difficult. Oddly enough, nicotine suppresses the effects of caffeine, so once you quit, your normal 2-3 cups of coffee will have a stronger effect on you. You can only imagine what these effects are doing to your overall well-being.
- Find Yourself a Fidget Toy
Getting into the habit of finding healthier ways to relieve stress can improve your health. Something as simple as using your hands to keep yourself busy can be extremely beneficial in keeping yourself relaxed and calm without the use of nicotine. One of my favorite things to play with is kinetic sand. I also have a stress ball and silly putty. These may not be enough for you, but they might put you in the right direction to keep you from grabbing a cigarette instead.
- Snack Light, Snack Healthy
As I mentioned previously, your appetite is going to increase. Having healthy snacks on hand will help with keeping your weight down. It can also help satisfy your need to bring your hand to your mouth for that repetitive motion that your hands are used to doing while smoking. If you’re craving a cigarette, grab a carrot or celery stick instead. I found that the crunchier the snack the more it relieved my stress and kept the cigarette craving away.
- Start Up a New Hobby
I know that it isn’t easy to keep your mind off of smoking, especially if it was part of your usual routine for several years if not decades. Finding a hobby to help with this will benefit you in the long run. You might find that you had a hidden talent all along. Learn to paint, quilt, sew, crochet, or even cook. That was my hidden talent. I found out that I am quite the chef and I didn’t even know it. After I quit, I noticed that my sense of smell and taste had come back to me. Everything just tasted and smelled better. Knowing how delicious everything is that I cook was enough for me to not pick up another cigarette. I never wanted my senses to be denied again.
Sometimes exercising can help when you try to quit smoking. When you exercise, dopamine is released Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that you also get when you smoke cigarettes. By replacing a cigarette with exercise, you may be able to get the same dopamine your body is used to in a much healthier way. Staying active and working out frequently can help speed up the repair process your body is going through in order to fix some of the damage that the nicotine did.
- Get Rid of the Stuff that Reminds You of Smoking
Throw away those lighters and ashtrays. Seeing those things around the house and outside will only remind you of the times you had smoking and will make you think that you need “just one more”. Parting with these items shows your brain who is in control and that you are truly ready to give up the nasty habit. When you leave these things it is much easier to get back into the habit. If they are gone, you would have to go out of your way to replace them which makes it more difficult for you dive back in.
- Clean Everything
Take your car to get detailed, have someone come steam clean your carpets, do a Spring Cleaning in the middle of February. Getting rid of the stale smoke smell will keep you from reminiscing all the times you and your cigarettes had together. This means doing laundry, changing all bedding, wiping everything down. Even if you don’t smoke in your house and car, you were in both and your smell was left behind. When this smell is gone the less likely you will want that smell on you again. Trust me, you smell much better without the smell of cigarette smoke hanging around you like a dirt cloud. You will appreciate it and so will those around .
Once you have decided it is time for you to quit smoking, follow these simple tips to keep yourself on track and kick your smoking habit.