For those who smoke tobacco, the holiday season can be full of stressors and triggers. Individuals who are in the process of quitting or cutting back on smoking during the holidays can find it difficult to remain committed. But, staying tobacco free during the holidays isn’t impossible – with the right support and resources. No one knows this better than the coaches at Pelago, a confidential, virtual tobacco cessation program. Quit Coaches provide personalized, unlimited support to individuals in the Pelago tobacco cessation program – helping them to understand behaviors and overcome challenges throughout their journey. As specialists in tobacco addiction, Pelago coaches are an invaluable extension to an individual’s efforts to remain tobacco free, especially during a fraught season, and are often turned to during particularly challenging times.
In an effort to help individuals remain committed to their goals this holiday season, the Quit Coaches compiled this list of tips to staying tobacco free.
1. Nicotine Replacement Therapy
Ensure you have enough patches & gum to last through the holidays and continue to use these to help manage the desire for nicotine.
2. Pelago App
Find out if your employer offers tobacco cessation resources like Pelago, to help ensure you stay on track and have the necessary resources to help you stay committed
3. Knowing and Managing triggers
Urges for tobacco are likely to be strongest in the situations when you smoked most often, like at parties or while feeling stressed or sipping coffee. And with the holiday season here, it’s easy to get triggered often. Identify your trigger situations and have a plan in place to avoid them entirely or get through them without using tobacco.
Don’t set yourself up for a smoking relapse. If you used to smoke while you talked on the phone, for instance, keep a pen and paper nearby to occupy yourself with doodling rather than smoking.
4. Get festive
Once you’ve identified your triggers, get festive! Prepare yourself with a number of different holiday activities to keep busy and avoid the urge to smoke. Activities can center around baking challenges, putting up holiday lights and wrapping presents to keep up the festive mood. Another great option is to give something back to your local community by volunteering or supporting charities in your area.
5. Not a single puff!
You might be tempted to have just one cigarette to satisfy a tobacco craving. But don’t fool yourself into believing that you can stop there. More often than not, having just one leads to another— and before you know it, tobacco becomes a regular part of your life again. Keep in mind: a thought is not always a call to action!
6. Get active, Sit less, Move more
Physical activity can help fight tobacco cravings and reduce their intensity. Even a short burst of physical activity, such as running up and down the stairs a few times — can get you through a tobacco craving..
If you’re stuck at home or the office, try squats, running in place or walking up and down a set of stairs. If physical activity doesn’t interest you, try a crossword, needlework, woodwork or start a jigsaw puzzle. Even doing some chores like vacuuming or filing paperwork – these are a great distraction -and the added benefit of crossing one more thing off the to-do list.
7. Redirect Holiday stress
Smoking may have been your way to deal with stress and fighting a tobacco craving can in turn, be stressful. Take the edge off by practicing relaxation techniques.Try deep-breathing exercises, meditation, muscle relaxation, yoga or listening to calming music. A few deep breaths, a pleasant scent, or a candle, can leave you recentered and ready for the day.
Take a minute to think about healthy things that can relax you. The holidays can be a busy and chaotic time, so make sure you take some time out just for you.
8. Tell your family and friends
Make sure to tell your family and friends you have quit or have cut back on smoking, so they can help support you through the holidays. Having someone to be accountable to can boost motivation and get you through the holiday period.
Confide in other previous smokers who might be at a holiday event, they might have some tips and tricks of their own to offer you.
9. Plan Holiday Gatherings Wisely
The holidays can often include a number of social events that you may be invited to. Make sure you have a clear plan before you go – this might include having enough stop smoking aids on you, being aware of the non-smokers in the group and taking yourself away from a tempting or triggering situation. If a distraction is needed, have a bathroom break, grab a non-alcoholic drink, go for a dance or find a friendly face to chat with.
10. Celebrate Achievements
Getting through the holidays smoke-free is an achievement to be proud of. If you got through a company party without a cigarette – celebrate! If you had a cup of coffee without a cigarette one morning – celebrate! It’s important to celebrate all achievements – big or small. And, if things don’t go to plan, don’t despair – there are resources to get back on track in no time at all.
Ready to be tobacco free this holiday season? Pelago can help. Find out if you’re covered!
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