‘Tis the season for holiday stress! Here’s how you can stay jolly and smokefree.
Though the holiday season is often thought of as a joyous time, the reality is that it can get stressful fast. With issues like long shopping lines, crowded airports and slow travel time, unruly relatives, and bank account depletions, it’s no surprise that many smokers and former smokers reach for a cigarette to cope with holiday stress. So prepare yourself as winter festivities near closer and set a game plan for how you’ll stick to your quit.
Here are six tips to managing holiday stress for a smokefree season!
- Anticipate potential stress triggers. Think about scenarios that may come up that could lead to stress. Then, dig deep down into that memory vault of yours and try to remember pass holiday stress, especially the ones that made you pull out a cigarette. Write down these stresses.
- Figure out how to deal. Now that you have a list of stressors, come up with ways to avoid each one as well as a plan for how you would deal with them. Does your Aunt Tilda drive you crazy? Try asking your parents to be the buffer between you two. If that doesn’t work and you’re stuck with face-to-face time with her, you could try focusing on your breath instead of the stress until the conversation is over.
- Step back and take a break. Sometimes things don’t work out according to plan and you may find yourself in a new, stressful scenario where you feel tempted to smoke. If that happens, try to remove or manage as much of the stress as possible. If you can’t do that, try to remove yourself from the stress by taking a break. You’ll at least feel re-energized to go back and deal with the situation.
- Make time for yourself. Overextending ourselves often leads to stress and fatigue, putting former smokers at danger of relapse. Build room in your schedule for yourself to tend to your physical and mental health. Get enough sleep at night, eat a well-balanced diet, exercise, and replenish your energy with a good book or some “Netflix and chill.” If that means canceling on some people, then so be it. Personal sanity and a quit success outweigh temporary disappointment.
- Redirect your craving. If a craving hits, you’ll need to distract yourself until it passes. Try eating a low-calorie snack like carrots or apples, talking to guests at a party, calling a quit buddy, or recalling the reasons you quit!
- Find your long-term stress relievers. Stress happens to everyone and you may not be able to avoid all of it during the holiday season. That’s why it’s important to find healthy activities that will help you better manage your stress throughout the year. Proven stress relievers include yoga, exercise, meditation, and deep breathing.
And remember, if you slip up, don’t give up. Get back on track immediately and recommit to your quit! And if you stayed smokefree through the holiday stress, don’t forget to reward yourself for your success!
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