Quitting any habit is difficult, and smoking is no exception! Start the summer season off on the right foot by integrating these 13 tips for your smoke-free program.
Find your reason
Establish the personal why behind your reason for quitting in the first place, and don’t lose sight of its importance. Maybe the reason you want to quit is to protect your family from secondhand smoke or reduce your chances of developing any or all of the health conditions linked to smoking. Whatever it is, make sure that it’s powerful enough to keep you from reaching for a cigarette.
Prepare before you go “cold turkey”
Smoking is such a tough habit to kick because of the addictive properties of nicotine. Be aware that your body will go through withdrawal symptoms if you stop abruptly. To help you through this difficult time, set up support in advance and ask your doctor for suggestions about classes, helpful apps, counseling, medication, and hypnosis.
Consider nicotine replacement therapy
Some of the nicotine withdrawal symptoms you may experience include headaches, mood swings, and fatigue. These symptoms can make the urge to light up for “just one drag” unbearable. However, nicotine replacement therapy such as nicotine gum, lozenges, and patches improve your chances of resisting these urges when they come up.
Learn about prescription pills
There are lots of medicines out there that can curb cravings, ease withdrawal symptoms, or make smoking less pleasurable when and if you do give in. Ask your doctor about the most suitable choices for you.
Lean on your loved ones
Tell your friends, family, and loved ones that you’re prepared to quit—not only will this provide you with a built-in cheerleading squad but can help keep you accountable. For some more encouragement, you can join a support group, talk to a counselor, or even consider a few behavioral therapy sessions.
Give yourself a break
Many people smoke because nicotine helps them unwind after a stressful day. Leaving smoking behind means having to find new ways to relax. Try out exercising, listening to your favorite music, hanging out with friends, scheduling a massage, or picking up a new hobby.
Avoid alcohol and other triggers
Consuming alcohol makes sticking to your guns more difficult, so try to restrict your alcohol intake, especially in the weeks directly after you quit. If you’re in the habit of pairing a cigarette with your coffee, then switch to tea for a while. If you like to smoke after meals, find an alternative activity like taking a walk or chewing gum.
Once you’ve decided to quit, it’s best to remove all packs, ashtrays, and lighters from your home. Wash your clothes and clean your carpets, curtains, upholstery, car interiors—anything that is still clinging to that familiar scent of cigarettes so that you’re not reminded of smoking as much as possible.
Try and try again
It’s not uncommon for people to attempt quitting several times before they let go for good. Instead of discouraging yourself for giving in when and if you do, take some time to reflect on what led up to the relapse. Use it as a chance to step up your commitment to quitting.
Physical activity is known to curb nicotine cravings and relieve withdrawal symptoms, so whenever you feel the urge to light one up, go jogging or work in your garden instead. Even lighter exercises like walking your dog do the trick!
Eat fruits and veggies
Giving up cigarettes is already a form of deprivation, so don’t try any restrictive diets while you’re quitting. That said, it’s still important to keep up your health by eating lots of fruits and veggies, whole grains, and lean protein.
Choose your reward
Smoking is an expensive habit, so to keep yourself away from cigarettes, remind yourself how much money you’re saving by quitting. Try plugging in your data into an online calculator that will add up how much you save, and reward yourself by splurging that money on something you’ve been wanting for a while or put it towards a cause you believe in.
Remember that time is on your side
When it comes to quitting smoking, you don’t have to wait long to experience health benefits. Only 20 minutes after your last cigarette, your heart rate returns to normal. After one day, your blood’s carbon monoxide level also goes back to normal. Within three weeks, your chances of having a heart attack start to go down, and in the long run, you will reduce your chance of getting lung cancer and other diseases.