A Plan for the Holidays

Blog Post created by NDC.Treatment.Team on Dec 19, 2019

The holidays can be a challenge for people who are trying to stop smoking or vaping.  Being busy with family commitments, shopping lists, party preparations, and the chaos of the holidays can be quite stressful.  And while on one hand, being busy can take one’s mind off of smoking, there is also a drain that occurs to the ‘willpower’ muscle, so that a quick impulse and opportunity to smoke results in lighting up or puffing.  However, thinking through and deciding on what you’ll do if the opportunity to use arises, is a path to success. 


When the urge to smoke or vape happens, the cognitive energy to develop an alternative is somewhat compromised.  Having pre-formed plans of what you will do in a smoking situation makes it much easier to do something different.  It doesn’t have to be much.  Sipping a glass of water, taking a deep breath, thinking of those you love, are all alternatives that will allow the thought of smoking to fade, and assure that you will get onto a smoke/vape free season.


Remember also that smoking will not solve worries and it is not an effective way to manage stress.  Find real ways to build your body’s stress immunity: laugh, do something you enjoy, talk with a friend, get active.  There are many ways to build your resilience.  Check out the BecomeAnEX.org website and click the picture at ‘New Tobacco-Free Ways to Relieve Stress’ to see how you might really reduce stress and build your relaxation response.   


The holidays can be a good time to help the people you know and love be most supportive. Let those who can be helpful know that you are doing something important.  If you can, limit your time as much as possible with people who smoke and if you cannot, make a plan for slipping away into a smoke-free room or outside environment for those times and places where you know relatives and loved ones will be smoking. 


Put some fun time and effort into being good to your-self during the holiday. Happiness relieves stress. Look for recreation throughout your day. Enjoy!  As the song says, ‘Don’t worry. Be happy.’   And may we add – ‘Be healthy!’


Michael V. Burke, Ed.D

Program Director and NDC Counselor/ CTTS