For many smokers trying to quit, the holidays aren’t always the most wonderful time of the year. Even a quit plan that is going well may hit a few bumps as schedules tighten and obligations increase. Holiday stress can also trigger an urge to reach for a pack. This Monday, recognize your holiday pressure points and figure out a pre-emptive strike before they knock you down! Consider a few stress management practices that can help.
Many former smokers will agree that stress can derail even the most disciplined quitters. However, with some willpower and planning, it is possible to make it through the holiday season smoke-free. Set some time aside on Monday to give your quit plan a holiday-themed refresh and list all the things that might cause you to reach for your cigarettes. Once you’ve identified your triggers, make a plan to tackle them head-on. Here are a few strategies:
If you become stressed out while waiting on long lines in stores while doing holiday shopping, bring a bottle of water with you and take a few sips while you wait. Between the rush, the crowds, and the overheated atmosphere, you can always use the extra hydration! (Don’t forget to take a few deep breaths!)
Is it your job to plan a family gathering? See what you can do ahead of time. Dedicate one day to cooking, baking, and decorating before your visitors arrive. By the time everyone comes over, you’ll only have to worry about finishing touches.
With the year ending, work may become more stressful than usual. Remind yourself to take short breaks and move around a few times throughout the day. Take a walk outside or around the building. This activity can help you clear your head and refocus. If a colleague needs help, lend a hand! Maybe it’s a little bit more work, but it’s a great way to distract yourself from the urge to smoke.
If you do slip up, don’t worry! It takes most quitters 7-10 attempts to quit for good, and getting through the holidays smoke-free can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. Every Monday is a new opportunity to recommit to your quit plan. However, when you do make it through another crazy week without a cigarette, remember to reward yourself! It’s the season of giving, and quitting smoking is a great gift for your health.