5 Minute Coffee Break -  The Gift That Keeps on Giving

Published at 06 December, 2022 09:42.

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Have you been thinking about quitting smoking as we lead up to the festive period? Perhaps your motivation is having enough money saved to buy presents for your family this year. If you are feeling the financial pinch more than ever, let`s take 5 minutes with a coffee, and talk about how you can become smoke free or stay smoke free as we head towards the holiday season

Christmas brings it`s challenges for some people when stopping smoking. If you are still working towards your smoke free goal, you may be tempted to delay your quit attempt until you are feeling a little less stressed or busy at this time

Let`s be positive and not see Christmas as a reason to put off the start of your smoke free journey.  In the run up to Christmas see how much money you could save by using our piggy bank calculator, which could help buy the presents, food for the big day or those snuggly Christmas pyjamas for yourself as a reward for quitting

Make a list of your reasons to quit and keep them where you can see them every day. Stick your list on the fridge or on the back door. This will help keep you focused. Reminding yourself of why you are quitting can keep you motivated and on track

If you are stressed as the run up to Christmas has started take a breath, make sure you have enough rest, and recognise your limits. Focus on one day at a time and the rest will follow much easier. Say to yourself each day “Smoking does not relieve my stress and it will not fix my problems” Let us work on relieving stress in a better way. Urges to smoke as a response to dealing with stressful situations can happen, as you may have spent years practicing this behaviour. Busy times such as Christmas may produce emotional responses which bring on triggers to smoke. It does not mean you need to smoke. See your response to stress as a trigger. You do not have to respond to this trigger, and you can choose other ways of managing and dealing with stress. Reprogramme all those old habits and responses to stress. By changing the way, you think, you can change the way you act in response to stressful situations. Tobacco is not a solution to our problems or stress and the problem is still there after we have smoked. Do not react to stress by reaching for the cigarettes. What else can you do instead that will comfort you in a better way? You will find what works for you if you practice choosing not to smoke

Seek support from friends and family who you will be spending time with at Christmas. Tell people you are quitting, and they will be more understanding and not offer you tobacco and instead help you find other ways of coping. Take 5 minutes for yourself and go for a walk if you can or just get some fresh air. Try stocking up on some games to play.  Suggest playing a family board game if you are tempted to go outside for a cigarette.  If you are using Nicotine Replacement products, keep them handy to reach for instead of any tobacco

Times of celebration can be classed as a “risky situation” and good times can put you at risk of slip up`s just as much as stressful times or times of crisis. Reduce alcohol if this is your trigger. Drink plenty of water in between. Make some funky fruit juice mocktails, keeping you busy and you`ll have lots of fun thinking up some quirky names for your creations. Being with other people you may not see for the rest of the year can bring on triggers to smoke, especially when you are in the company of other smokers who may offer you cigarettes or convince you to “just have one.” Plan and be prepared to say “No, I don`t smoke.” If you are at a party, ask someone to dance and burn up the dance floor instead of burning tobacco!

Christmas can be a “down time” for some people, and this can also bring on the desire to smoke. Think how far you have come and do not rely on tobacco as your friend if you are feeling depressed, lonely, or bored this Christmas. Planning for the day can help.  What can you do to make this time positive and achievable? Arrange to call a friend or relative if you can, or a visit from a neighbour. Try doing something active like taking a walk if you are able. Tell yourself how well you are doing and revisit your reasons for quitting. Think about how you might comfort yourself instead of reaching for the cigarette. If you are missing relatives, or if Christmas is a particular sad time for you, think how you might look after your emotional needs instead of smoking

If you have bought a packet of tobacco or cigarettes throw them away now.  Don`t downplay your slip up by saying “I only had the odd one or two” Think about why you slipped and what you can do differently next time to avoid the next slip up.  One slip does not mean it will lead to another. Learn from it, forgive yourself and move forward into the rest of the festive period, knowing you are prepared and ready and your piggy bank is full of the money you have saved by not smoking. Stopping smoking is the gift that will keep on giving long after the presents are unwrapped, and the turkey has been eaten!