Tips for a Smokefree Christmas
It’s the month of December and our attentions turn to Christmas. With presents to wrap, cards to write, food to buy and parties to go to, quitting smoking is probably the last thing on your mind. We want you to relax and enjoy the festive season without worrying, so we have put together some helpful hints and tips to help you enjoy your first smoke free Christmas:
Get Enough Rest – When you feel run down or tired, cravings to smoke will seem stronger and harder to resist. Remember to make time to rest, get some early nights and put your feet up when you can. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, family members and friends are usually happy to help if asked.
Reduce Caffeine – Many of us reach for a cup of coffee when we need an energy boost, but too much caffeine can leave you feeling jittery and stressed and make cravings more intense. Avoid extra cups of coffee to stay awake, instead rest if you’re tired and don’t take on too much.
Limit your alcohol – Drinking too much alcohol can increase triggers to smoke, lower your inhibitions and affect your decision making. Alcohol also makes you dehydrated which can make cravings stronger. You don’t have to be alcohol free but be responsible, drink plenty of water before, after and between alcoholic drinks to avoid dehydration. Try changing your usual tipple for something different. Evidence shows that smells of certain drinks that you drank regularly when you were a smoker can act as a trigger and create cravings to smoke.
Stay Hydrated – Not only is water a great craving-buster, but it’s also an essential ingredient in a healthy diet. Keep yourself well-hydrated and you’ll feel better in general, which will, in turn, help you manage stress more easily. More information on how to stay hydrated can be found at NHS hydration advice.
Eat a Well-Balanced Diet – Enjoy treats in moderation but be sure to give your body the fuel it needs to function properly. Eating a well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, protein, and complex carbohydrates will help keep you at your best, both physically and mentally. Find out more about eating well at NHS live well eat well
Use your medication – Running out of Nicotine Replacement Medication, Champix or E-cigarette liquid or battery can spell disaster. If you are using aids to help you quit and stay smoke free make sure you have enough to keep the cravings away. If you are receiving support from the Stop Smoking Service speak to your advisor or one of the team on 0800 013 0553 to get your medication for the Christmas holidays. (Please leave at least 7 days to receive your prescription.)
Go for a Walk – Walking reduces stress and improves circulation. It also releases endorphins, the “feel good” hormone. So, when the urge to smoke strikes, head out for a brisk 10-minute walk. Take the dog (if you have one) or go with a friend or family member if you want to. You’ll come back refreshed and relaxed. There are lots of ways to fit activity round busy daily life for help and advice visit Live well get active your way.
Breathe – Deep breathing is a quick way to help you calm and refocus if you are feeling stressed or overwhelmed. Close your eyes and breathe in through your nose for a count of three and exhale through your mouth for a count of five Repeat this for a few minutes, and the tension in your body will begin to fall away.
If you are struggling with your Mental Health you can get advice and support 24/7 by calling The Samaritans Helpline.
Focus on Today – Use a to do list to help you organize tasks. Don’t overwhelm yourself by looking at the whole picture: Keep things simple and just focus on one day at a time. You’ll be more efficient and less stressed.
Don’t try to be perfect- You’re working hard to quit smoking, so give yourself a break and don’t be too hard on yourself. In other words, don’t try to do it all. Think instead in terms of what is good enough rather than stressing over every detail.
Avoid money worries – It can be easy to be pulled into overspending at Christmas time, which can lead to stress later on. Make a Christmas budget and stick to it. Try online grocery shopping with a list, that way you are less likely to be enticed into buying things you don’t want just because they are on offer. If you are struggling financially you can get advice with Debt at paying off debts advice page
Remember why you quit smoking – Don’t lose sight of the bigger picture. The reasons why you decided to quit smoking are as important as they were the day you quit. Take five minutes and refresh your memory by reading your list of reasons for quitting.
Be patient, it’s a journey – giving up any habit takes time, the associations you have built up between smoking and the activities in your day to day routine over the years must be changed, one by one. And the only way to do that is by simply living life, day in and day out, smoke-free. Making it through your first Christmas minus the cigarettes is a necessary part of the journey. It gets easier with time. Keep your focus and meet the challenges that come along with confidence. You can do this, and you’ll thank yourself when the Christmas holidays are behind you and you’re still smoke-free.