Learn to manage your stress without nicotine
Everyone does stress management in their own way and everyone is triggered by different things. When you quit smoking, you can easily get irritated and then you may be bothered by things that you otherwise don’t care about. I can recommend everyone to make a strategy.
The importance of managing stress
If you’re living with high levels of stress, you’re putting your entire well-being at risk. Stress wreaks havoc on your emotional equilibrium, as well as your physical health. It narrows your ability to think clearly, function effectively, and enjoy life. It may seem like there’s nothing you can do about stress. The bills won’t stop coming, there will never be more hours in the day, and your work and family responsibilities will always be demanding. But you have a lot more control than you might think.
Effective stress management helps you break the hold stress has on your life, so you can be happier, healthier, and more productive. The ultimate goal is a balanced life, with time for work, relationships, relaxation, and fun—and the resilience to hold up under pressure and meet challenges head on. But stress management is not one-size-fits-all. That’s why it’s important to experiment and find out what works best for you. The following stress management tips can help you do that.
What triggers the urge to smoke for you?
Anger? Boredom? Fatigue? Joy? You may associate all of these feelings with smoking, but stress and anger might stand out as smoking triggers.
When you’re stressed, the urge to smoke can be intense. As a smoker, you might think that you need cigarettes to keep calm. In fact, smoking tends to create more stress than it dispels.
Learning how to cope with stress without a cigarette is difficult when you first quit smoking. With a few tools and some practice, you’ll find that it’s less challenging than you might have expected.
Components of Recovering From Nicotine Addiction
There are two components of recovery from nicotine addiction: physical withdrawal from nicotine and healing the mind of the habits associated with smoking.
Managing Nicotine Withdrawal and Stress Management
Your body physically reacts to withdrawal from nicotine as well as the thousands of chemicals present in the cigarette smoke you inhale. This phase of recovery creates stress of its own that you must be prepared to cope with.
Having an awareness of how stress fits in as a byproduct of early recovery from nicotine addiction, as well as a few tools to deal with the discomfort, will help you manage it successfully.
Tackling Mental Challenges
On an emotional level, smoking cessation forces you to deal with the loss of cigarettes as a crutch you leaned on to manage your feelings. The mental challenges can be one of the most difficult aspects of smoking cessation.
Stress Management when quitting Nicotine
Here are 10 tips and strategies to help you cope with stress when you quit smoking.
Be patient with yourself and allow your recovery to unfold as it will. Release from nicotine addiction comes gradually. It happens as you erase old associations and habits one by one, replacing them with new, healthier choices.
In time, you’ll likely find that stress is more easily managed smoke-free than it ever was when you were smoking.
Don’t Neglect Yourself
Early cessation is a time when you should be taking extra care to make sure all of your needs are being met. Here are some simple guidelines to help you get through nicotine withdrawal more comfortably.2
- Eat a well-balanced diet. Your body needs good quality fuel as it works to flush the toxins out of your system. Cigarettes deplete many nutrients and vitamins, so you’ll want to start replenishing them with a well-balanced diet.
- Drink water. Water is a great quitting aid. It helps you detox more quickly and can work well as a craving-buster. By keeping yourself hydrated, you’ll feel better overall.
Cut Out Coffeine
When you quit smoking, the amount of coffee or caffeinated cola you are typically accustomed to consuming might begin to make you jittery and anxious.
If you’re having trouble sleeping, try reducing your coffeine intake—or even cutting it out completely.
Once you’re through the withdrawal process, you’ll probably be able to drink coffee again—though perhaps not in the same quantity as you did before.
Stress Management: Take a Warm Bath
Enjoying a bath is a great way to relax and de-stress. Light a few candles, use some scented bath salts, and submerge.
Get a Massage
Our bodies tend to hold the tension we feel in our muscles, so a good massage is worth its weight in gold as a means to relieve stress.
Enlist your partner or another willing pair of hands to help work the stress out of your muscles. A full body massage is great, but even 10 or 15 minutes spent on your neck, shoulders, face, and scalp can work wonders.
Stress Management: Put on Your Walking Shoes
A short walk every day—even for just 15 minutes—will help you manage stress as you withdraw from nicotine. Walking reduces edginess and improves circulation.
Get Enough Sleep
The early days of smoking cessation can be tiring, as your body and your mind are stressed. Allow more time for sleep if you need and can manage it. The weariness you’re feeling won’t last forever. Your energy will return soon.
Close your eyes and create a place in your mind that you can go to when you need to slow down and relax.
It could be a real or imaginary location—just make it yours. Use the same place every time so it becomes familiar and comfortable. As you settle in, start to follow your breathing.
Slow your breath down gradually by breathing deeply in and out for 3 to 5 minutes. How to Use Visualization to Relax and Manage Stress.
Deep Breathing to manage your stress
Deep breathing is a quick way to calm edgy nerves and reduce stress. Breathe in through your nose for a count of three, then exhale through your mouth for a count of three.
Repeat this for a few minutes. The tension in your body will begin to fall away.
Focus on Today
We spend so much time thinking about everything but the day we have in front of us. Try not to worry about tomorrow (or forever). Try not to let yourself get lost in feelings of fear about never being able to smoke again.
Resolve to make the most of right now. Think instead of today. You have the ability to stay smoke-free just for today. That’s all you need to do.
It might be a cliché, but baby steps! Try not to let feelings of worry about tomorrow intimidate you today.
Stress Management: Don’t Take Yourself Too Seriously
Expect and accept that you will have bad days—both in smoking cessation and in life. When you have an off day, resolve to put yourself on “ignore.” Sometimes, the best thing we can do is to get out of our own way.
Stress is a part of life. Learning how to manage it smoke-free is part of successful smoking cessation. With time and practice, your smoke-free life will flow with ease.
Our minds can make small issues into big ones, and turn every little thing into a drama when our moods are out of whack.
If you’re having a bad day, pause and think: pamper. Be good to yourself, allow for a treat (or two), and try to put your thoughts on hold. Tomorrow is a new day, you will be feeling better—and grateful to still be smoke-free.