Congratulations on quitting tobacco! Whether you have been smoke-free or chew-free for days, weeks, months, or years, the holiday season can jeopardize your success. The stress of the season is enough to have a former smoker return to their old habits, but below are some simple steps you can take to help you make it through the holidays tobacco-free.
- Plan for Stress. The holidays can be a fun time, but managing your schedule, your budget, and awkward social encounters are aspects that can turn you into Ebenezer Scrooge. Think about previous holiday seasons, and make a list of the issues that have caused you stress. Then consider how you could handle those stressful situations if and when they occur again. For example, if your budget is tight around the holidays but you have time to create thoughtful gifts, allow for some extra planning for less expensive homemade gifts. When stressful situations do occur, ask yourself, “what would a non-smoker would do to handle the stress?” Take a walk, practice deep breathing, or talk to someone instead of lapsing.
- Manage Expectations. You may be hoping that everyone in your family can get through the holiday dinner without an argument, but if you’ve been unable to avoid it for the last four years, what makes you think that this year will be different? Change your frame of mind to expect the holiday dinner to turn south by expecting the worst and hoping for the best. This will help you manage disappointment through the holidays. You can still stay positive with this approach, but you will be prepared for the situation at hand.
- Prep your Support Team. For many people the holidays are an incredibly lonely time. Who will you call if you need a pep talk, instead of grabbing your cigarettes or chew? Let your support team know that the holidays may be a difficult time for you to make it through tobacco-free. Have a buddy system at holiday parties so that a few drinks don’t spiral into tobacco use.
For more information on quitting and managing your cravings, call Breathe Pennsylvania at 1-800-220-1990.