The time of the year from Thanksgiving to New Year's Day is loaded with triggers to smoke. A successful quit depends on your ability to remain focused on your goal of a smoke-free life. This is no easy task, especially for the newly quit. The holiday distractions and being with people in places where you used to smoke can lure you back into old habits and lifestyle. Be prepared and get your game plan in place before the festivities begin.
Keep Your Stress Levels In Check
Holiday travel, traffic, shopping, finances, and family issues can pile on the stress and trigger strong cravings to smoke. Do your holiday shopping early and stay within your budget to prevent debt-incurred stress. Homemade gifts or planning a family draw for a gift exchange will keep the costs down but still express the sentiment. Plan your trips, give yourself plenty of time, and avoid travel during busy traffic hours. Exercise is one of the best stress reducers, so get moving daily to boost your mood, relieve tension and any urges to smoke.
Family members grow, move away, pass away, and sometimes hold grievances against one another. Try to be accepting and understanding. If you find yourself getting stressed at a holiday gathering, just step aside and take a breather by going for a walk and getting fresh air. Or simply take in a few deep breaths, hold, and slowly release. Make sure you take some alone time if the holiday cooking, cleaning, and entertaining are getting to you. A hot relaxing bath or listening to soothing music may be all you need to quiet your mind, focus inward, and calm down.
Don't Overindulge In Food Or Drink
Food often seems to play the biggest role in holiday celebrations. Tables are laden with family members' favorite recipes. Expect the temptations to be looking you square in the eye and make the decision beforehand to enjoy in moderation. If you let yourself go hog wild, it may be easier to give in to other temptations or find yourself craving a cigarette to squelch the over-stuffed feeling in your stomach.
Stay away from or limit drinking alcohol. Your resolve not to smoke dissolves the more you drink, making it easier to slip back to smoking without thinking. Alcohol is a smoking trigger for many, so stick to juices, club soda with a splash of cranberry juice, apple cider or water with lemon. Have a plan in place on how you will navigate your way around the table and bar. Promise yourself a reward for getting through the holiday event smoke-free. By not overindulging in food and alcohol you will remain in control, able to make wise decisions and stay strong in your quit.
Seek Out Support
Going to gatherings or parties where others are smoking can be challenging when you are quitting. It's beneficial to let your friends and family know ahead of time you have quit smoking and ask for their support by not smoking around you. Keep your distance. Watching others smoke can trigger strong cravings to light up. Move away from smoking situations and socialize with nonsmokers. Go outside for fresh air at times when there's no avoiding the smoke. If possible bring a nonsmoking friend or support buddy with you to the holiday event. There's no need to quit alone; with a Smartphone you can always find online non-smoking support 24/7 at QuitNet in the forums or chat rooms. Getting through the holiday season with your quit intact is absolutely do-able with careful planning and support!
Happy Holidays and KTQ!
In lieu of a regular blog this week, please enjoy the following links and quotes about expressing gratitude in our lives, as well as the history of the Thanksgiving holiday tradition.
Gratitude fills our lives with positive energy and brings more things to be grateful for towards us. So what is gratitude? Here is a definition, courtesy of Wikipedia.org: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gratitude
Feeling grateful affects us in a positive way: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/science-thankfulness/story?id=15008148
What are you grateful for today? Who do you appreciate? Make a list and add to it every month, then read your list next year at this time. Tell those you care about that you are grateful they are in your life!
"He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has." ~Epictetus
"Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it." ~William Arthur Ward
"Two kinds of gratitude: The sudden kind we feel for what we take; the larger kind we feel for what we give." ~Edwin Arlington Robinson
"We can only be said to be alive in those moments when our hearts are conscious of our treasures." ~Thornton Wilder
Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. For many, it is a day spent with family and friends, eating turkey, cranberry sauce, stuffing, mashed potatoes with gravy, warm bread rolls, apple pie and other delicious food. Thanksgiving Day is a tradition dating back hundreds of years. Here is a definition of the history of Thanksgiving, courtesy of Wikipedia.org: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thanksgiving_(United_States)
Thanksgiving is a time to reflect and be grateful. It is also a time for giving. Giving your time, attention, money, food, clothing or help to someone less fortunate is another great way to celebrate the spirit of Thanksgiving.
Be grateful for all the wonderful things in your smoke free life, and have a happy Thanksgiving Day!
Vikki Chavez CTTS-M
Master Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialist
Don't spend Thanksgiving alone: