Our Super-Survival Kit for a No-Smoke Day
Congratulations! You’ve made the decision to quit and are looking forward to your first day of not smoking. There are many ways to make your quit day as successful as possible, and the more you know about handling cravings and triggers, the better off you’ll be. Whatever you do, don’t take a lackadaisical approach to your first day of quitting. Those first 24 hours when you set down the smokes can set the mood for the rest of your quit; quite literally, how you handle your first day can make the difference between quitting forever and a relapse.
Check out these 8 expert tips to help make your quit day (and your overall quit!) a success:
- Set your quit day for a Monday. Our research, in association with the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, shows that people are more likely to commit to healthy behaviors and start a good habit on Mondays than on any other day. Even better, starting on Monday can help you stay on track for the rest of the week and beyond. Lastly, don’t forget to prepare yourself by creating and implementing your personalized quit plan at least a week before your quit day!
- Plan a happy wake-up. You’ll want to support yourself from the get-go, so try some calming tactics first thing in the morning. You could do some deep breathing, listen to relaxing music, or go to the gym. And/or make yourself a big healthy breakfast (steel-cut oatmeal, boiled eggs, pancakes, etc.). Just don’t start the day with a smoke.
- Enlist a positive affirmation. Think about one statement that is sure to trigger your get-up-and-go mentality. When you find yours, you can repeat it to yourself throughout the day. Some good ones are: “I can do it!” “Quitting is easy.” “I can overcome anything.” Perhaps there’s a phrase from childhood that helped you get through tough times… now’s the time to call it up. And once you have it, consider placing it on your bathroom mirror and around the house for a nice reminder throughout the day that you can beat cigarettes!
- Prepare for crisis management. You know that time will come in the day when you get a smoking craving. Think ahead to what might trigger your cravings and make a plan to crush them. You could, for instance, chew gum or suck on mints, brush your teeth, or do some yoga-like stretches when a craving strikes. And don’t forget the 5’Ds – delay, distract, digest, drink, and deep breathe.
- Fuel yourself with healthy foods. Lunch and dinner can be one of your best defenses on your first day of quit. The healthier the foods you choose, the more your body will able to withstand and conquer withdrawal symptoms. Get acquainted with green juices, non-caffeinated drinks, fruits and vegetables, and whole, unprocessed foods with low sugar content.
- Round up your support system. Your first day may very well stir up cravings, so make sure you have someone to talk to who supports your goal of quitting. Best is someone who has quit successfully, as they can remind you that you can indeed stay smokefree!
- Schedule after-work entertainment. Treat yourself on the evening of your quit day to something live and “non-virtual” and invite company along – perhaps a movie you’ve been wanting to see, a lecture, a workshop, or a sports event. Hopefully, this will keep you from thinking about cravings. And when planning what to do, make sure to stay away from alcohol and/or people who are drinking and smoking, which are big smoking triggers for many people.
- Celebrate your quit day. At the end of the evening, give yourself a pat on the back not only for your decision to quit, but for your resolve to stay true to yourself. Then find a way to acknowledge that victory without a smoke, like crossing off your first day on a kitchen calendar or filling a cookie jar with the money you saved by not smoking. Seeing a physical representation of your success will always motivate you to do more.
When all is said and done, your first day of quitting could very well turn out to be your best day of quitting—and for all the right reasons. Particularly, if you’ve made your first day a special day, armed with all the support a determined quitter needs, you can consider yourself a winner. When you treat yourself physically and emotionally well, quitting becomes a challenge you’ll definitely be able to surmount—one day at a time.
Have some more tips to share for quitters? Let us know on Twitter!