This topic was put into my brain by Sheryl (https://excommunity.becomeanex.org/people/autumnwoman) who at this writing has 901 smoke free days. So I'd say she probably has a wee bit of wisdom to share as a long term quitter. And this is what she said on a blog of mine:
"One of the things that helps me is being physically active. When I smoked, much of the time it was due to boredom or loneliness. Having a regular exercise program put me back in touch with myself physically and made it possible for me to want to take better care of my body."
Oh yes. Exercise. Now most of us don't want to have to go there. It's work. And quitting is work enough. OK, so can we find some physical activity that will take our minds off our cravings. Cats Cradle? Jacks? Pick up Sticks? Those are bottom line exercises. Good for the fingers and wrists. Good for those who perhaps can't exercise their whole bodies. Can we perhaps move beyond that? Let's try getting off our butts and walking around the house. Walking down the block and back. Walking - anywhere. It's a start. Every time you have a craving, get up and walk somewhere. Around your office chair. Down to the water cooler. From there expand and attempt to get your mind around a real exercise program. You don't have to pay big bucks to go to a gym, put a 16 oz can of...spam (Ha!) in each hand and do ten lifts. Use your imagination here. The point and truth is that exercise will help take your mind off smoking while you're doing it and prevent relapse.
But back to the real topic of this discussion: Boredom and loneliness go hand in hand for a lot of people. My guess is it's because there's no mental stimulation. If you're bored it's because you can't stimulate your own brain, and television or the internet or games or...whatever - have failed to stimulate it enough to satisfy you. And you're stuck in a routine. So create your own entertainment! Good grief, the mind is limitless in it's creative possibilities. Stuck in a routine - change one thing in that routine (yes it's scary), and see what that leads to. If you're bored, altering your lifestyle will create new input. If you're bored and doing nothing but sitting there thinking about smoking, well guess what? - your cravings are gonna be stronger.
So let’s see, what can we do to keep from being bored:
*Clean house. Boring. So, put on some lively music and dance while you clean. You’ll get your exercise in too.
*Make a windchime out of knives forks and spoons. Don’t know how? Google it.
*Learn to juggle. Why not?
*Get a sketch book and draw. Doesn’t matter if you have talent or not. It will give you an entirely new perspective. Especially if you draw the negative space. Or just make freeform doodles.
*Make a game out of your work. Pretend you’re James Bond for a day. Or staple a design on a piece of paper. Hide something in your workspace and see if your coworkers can find it. Let the child in you re-appear.
The list truly is endless here.
As Dorothy Parker said: “The cure for boredom is curiosity.”
And this is what some others had to say on the topic of boredom a while back:
1088 days ago
It was the boredom that was the worst for me. I'd make it through the day suprisingly well, considering what my poor body was going through. I'd have dinner and kick back in the evenings to veg out in front of the TV and BAM!!! I couldn't get the damned things off my mind.
I expected the first cigarette of the morning to be the one misses the most. Or that one with the morning coffee... Definately the smokes while talking on the phone - Man! I NEVER talked on the phone without toking away on a cigarette. But ... no! It was the nothing going on, nothing to think about, nothing to stress about time that was almost the deal breaker for me.
Watch out for that to sneak up on you guys.
Good one, Peggy. Thanks.
If you're bored - get your butt up and do something new, something you've never done before. Keep that mind occupied on something other than you know what!
I don't think about cigs until I see a pack or see one. Unless it is when I am bored. Like now. I have no kids here today. Mine are with my parents have been all weekend. Hubby is back at work now and I am bored. I done got the laundry from camping washing, all the dishes from camping are washed and packed back up. I have done so much this morning cause as we all know when you are not slowed down by the cigs you can get a lot done. I have done so much in the last 4 hours that I have nothing to do now. I was sitting on the porch swing and a neighbor walked up and asked if I had a lighter she could use. I told her I am sure I could find one. She said "don't you have one with your cigs. I am walking up to the store to buy me some fuel for my lighter. Damn thing went out and my car is messed up." I said "no" she said " if you are outta cigs you can have this pack. I have more at home" I could feel that nicodemon breathing down my neck and telling me you are so bored take it. come on take it" So I took a deep breath and said " No hun. I thought I told ya guess not. Lance and I quit smoking." Then I had to go into the talk that everyone wants to have when I tell them I quit. the "how did you do it?" talk.
Good job Melissa!! I know it's hard to deal with stuff like that and the 'easy' thing would be for you to have given in. That's what a smoker would do - it is after all easier to keep hiding behind the cigarettes than to own up to the events in ones life without using a crutch anymore. But, you're an ex-smoker now and what you did just proved it!!! You are doing the right thing, not the easy thing and that's something of which you should be VERY proud. I know that you know that but I also know that sometimes it helps to be validated.
Consider yourself validated!!
One more hurdle you've successfully put behind you!! That's one less still awaiting ahead of you girl!!
[Carlie] 1028 days ago
GREAT JOB, Melissa....Not only am I impressed how you kept your resolve, and didn't fall into the nicodemon trap...but you told her you and your hubby had quit....and you shared the "how you did it" part. Many people have tried to quit and failed...we've all been there. Many people haven't figured out how to do it successfully...but they wish they could !!!
Once we become an EX, we can lead by example; and that's so darn cool.
Don't let the boredom get to you...I have a lot to do; laundry, the dishes, etc....but I'm pacing myself...lol....I'd hate to get everything done, and have nothing to do, ya know !!!
You're doing great !!!!!
Melissa - YES! As Peggy said you just jumped a huge hurdle. What a strong picture you painted with your neighbor comin' by. I can see it only too well. Would have been SO easy to just take a little walk with her down to the local "candy" store. But you stood proud and tall. And we are mighty glad.
The "how did you do it" talk. Yup, I can remember asking that question on many occasions to those who had managed to quit. Now we're the ones given' the answer. Don't it feel great!!!
[Sharon Ewers] 873 days ago
Hey! That seems to be the worst for me too. Boredom! Smoking just gives me something to do. I don't e4ven really enjoy it anymore, but it still nags at me when I'm alone or just vegging out.
Glad to hear I'm not the only one