You have a wonderful opportunity ahead to make it through the holiday season into a new year smoke free. We’ve talked about planning ahead and having a ‘fire escape plan’ to successfully manage difficult situations. In addition, you may want to utilize your support network and really think through other things you can do instead of using tobacco.
Utilize Your Support Network – Keep a short list of people you can contact if you find yourself struggling. Take your cell phone with you and call or text a friend from somewhere private…use the bathroom if you need to. Remember, that little nudge of support you get could make all the difference. Decide ahead of time who will be on your short list, make sure you have their phone numbers handy, and give them a heads up that you may be reaching out to them for support. Actually writing the names and phone numbers on a piece of paper and keeping it in your wallet or purse can be a good idea too.
Identify Alternatives to Using Tobacco – What are you going to do if you start feeling a little jittery? Maybe you are one of the many people who get a tad anxious in social situations and are used to tobacco settling you down. What else can you do? Think back to things that have worked for you up to this point and try those. Some ideas include deep breathing, distracting yourself, and calling a support person.
The Holidays are a wonderful time of the year to be social and connect with others in ways that we don’t do the rest of the year. Don’t let the fact that you have stopped using tobacco hinder you from enjoying it. Following these steps can be a start to helping you to enjoy these opportunities and feel confident in your continued abstinence from tobacco. To share your quitting process with others who are going through the same smoke-free journey, continue to provide support on the EX community. If you aren't a member, register today on BecomeAnEX.org.
Dr. Richard D. Hurt is an internationally recognized expert on tobacco dependence. A native of Murray, Kentucky, he joined Mayo Clinic in 1976 and is now a Professor of Medicine at its College of Medicine. In 1988, he founded the Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center and since then its staff has treated over 33,000 patients for tobacco dependence. Send your questions directly to Dr. Hurt at AskTheExpert@becomeanex.org