As we host another group of patients this week for our 8-day residential program, a common theme has developed. While many people smoke to manage stress, conflict, and other daily struggles, one occasion when many find themselves smoking is when they have free time. Smoking when bored can quickly fill up downtime - consider, if a pack-a-day smoker spent 8-10 minutes with each cigarette, they could spend about three hours a day smoking!
As you can imagine, when a person stops smoking, they have more free time in their day. Usually this is seen as a positive side to becoming tobacco free. However, some folks have difficulty when they are faced with so much more free time – what to do with all that time?
As you stop smoking you have a new opportunity to identify what things are truly important to you in your life and to find ways to make them become more of a reality.. As you prepare for your quit day, take a pad of paper and a pen to a quiet space and write down the things that you would like to have as a regular part of your life. Each person’s list might be different so focus upon the things that are important to you. Your list might include taking more walks, spending more quality time with love ones, learning to play an instrument, learning a new language, connecting with old friends, joining a hobby group, learning to dance, taking classes through community education, learning to cook a new dish, and a multitude of other options.
In today's busy world it can be easy to find things that eat up our time. Finding ways to use your newfound time in a manner that is motivating and positive for you can be a powerful way to reward yourself for stopping smoking.