The holidays are just around the corner, and as you navigate your way to a smoke-free life, sometimes this time of year can be particularly daunting for a multitude of reasons. While the holidays are often characterized in terms of enjoyment and togetherness, the inevitable “nuts and bolts” of the holidays can be rough for many people. The November and December holiday celebrations, parties, and the like can often be quite difficult as we deal with family members, financial concerns, and/or the inevitably busy schedules of this time of year.
For those quitting tobacco, the stresses of this time of year can seem even harder. While quitting tobacco involves looking at the addiction component, it also involves making huge behavioral changes. These changes are often the most difficult, as it involves really looking at those parts of your life that can be the most troublesome when quitting tobacco – and considering how to handle them now as a non-smoker. These moments are often more “front and center” at the holidays than perhaps any other time of the year.
So what times of the holidays can be the biggest triggers times for you to smoke?
Some use cigarettes as an escape route, to dodge uncomfortable or unwanted encounters with family or friends – Think of other ways you can leave a situation and practice – it will come in handy.
What about those times in the car on the way to Grandmother’s/Parents/Grandchildren's house?
Keep a water bottle handy, or try singing some holiday tunes with the radio, streaming from your phone, CD, or your iPod Touch.
What about the family members who still smoke – how do you deal with that?
Unfortunately, while most smokers really do want to quit; many are threatened by those who have quit and may try to do what they will to make you relapse. Remember your goal – to stay quit, and to see how proud you will be of yourself as you achieve this goal. Use “I messages” to express YOUR SINCERE DESIRE to quit tobacco will help you get the point across to those family members who may not be as supportive as you would like. Similarly, enlisting the support of one of two family members or friends that can be staunch supporters of your efforts can go a long way when those inevitable cravings or urges begin to overwhelm you.
There are situations that pop up; have a backup plan for how you plan to deal with them so on the day, your last resort is not to light up.
Throughout this eventful season:
Check on your self-care what can you do for you to make getting through the holiday chaos a bit easier? Holiday giving doesn’t always mean others, if we are constantly giving and never practicing self-care we can wear ourselves out. Be good to yourself this holiday season!
Barb Dallavalle, MA, LP