Okay, so if you’re one of the hundreds of thousands that joined Stoptober at the beginning of the month, you’re now half way through…
And even if you’re not – if you’re currently ‘going it alone’… how’s it feeling?
Are you going strong – hopefully! Struggling – quite possibly. Or are you already back on the ciggies..? If you are, take heart – most people who successfully stop smoking for good need a few attempts before cracking it.
Just remember that the key to going – and staying – smoke-free is managing your carvings.
Here are Quealth’s top strategies for dealing with those sudden urges that can seem to just come at you out of nowhere;
Remember that the craving will pass! Your cravings are likely to be at their worst during the first week or so after quitting. Each one will usually pass in around five minutes.
Planning what you are going to do when a craving strikes is a good way of helping you deal with it as it passes – so think up some five-minute activities to use throughout the day such as going for a short walk, phoning a friend or doing some chores around the house or garden.
Cravings at special events like holidays, funerals or weddings can be particularly tough. Try having a fast acting NRT product with you to hit that carving in seconds – just in case the urge to smoke is really strong.
Avoid the smoking triggers
Sit in a different chair to watch the TV at home and take a shower as soon as you get out of bed in the morning if these are times you would normally smoke. If your routine was a cigarette with a cup of coffee, drink a glass of orange juice or tea instead. If your favourite cigarette of the day is after dinner then get up and go for a walk.
Exercise Physical activity can help reduce your cravings and stimulate the brain to produce anti-craving chemicals. It can also help you reduce stress and keep your weight down. When you have the urge to smoke, try going for a fast walk or taking a trip to the gym or swimming pool.
Surround yourself with support Leaning on family and friends can really help, especially if you know other people wanting to quit too. Tell people close to you that you’re stopping – including smokers – and let them know that you’re going to need their support. It might also help if you spend your time with friends who don’t smoke while you’re out socialising.
Explore alternative approaches Other approaches to stopping smoking such as hypnotherapy and acupuncture have proven very effective for some people so you may want to consider giving these a try – either on their own or preferably in combination with the strategies already presented above.
Stopping smoking is without doubt one of the most powerful health decisions you will ever make.
Stay strong, keep your eye on the prize and remember… the moment you want to quit is the moment you need to keep pushing.
Paul Nash – Quealth Clinical Lead