If you’ve quite smoking over this past year, that’s great. But as the holiday season is upon us, it’s time to raise the guard as life gets busier, we attend more parties, and the festive season ignites that over-powering urge to splurge by having a cigarette.
If you’ve quit for any amount of time, you know what I’m talking about. Parties are the worst. There’s always the smoking crowd gathering outside enjoying a smoke and taking a breather from the party. It can seem irresistible.
But, you do not have to succumb to smoking. There are steps you can take right now to strengthen your new non-smoker status.
5 tips for staying smoke-free over the holiday season
1. Beef up on quit-smoking aids
If you’re using a quit-smoking aid such as the gum, the patch or another device, stock up. Buy extra. You may just need a little extra help. Don’t leave home without your quit-smoking aids. The relapse rate sky-rockets when people fail to be diligent with using their quit-smoking aid of choice.
2. Stick with your workout regimen (or start one)
Many people remain motivated with their non-smoker status by starting a workout regimen. It can be lifting weights, running, a sport, yoga … it doesn’t matter. The important part is that your new physical activity keeps you motivated to remain smoke-free.
If you stop working out, the added motivation you get from progressing with your workout regimen dwindles. Each day you skip a workout results in a lessened resolve to stay off the cigarettes.
Therefore, arm yourself by resolving to maintain your workout regimen throughout the holidays. It may require working out at different times and different locations (if you travel). Plan and be prepared.
3. Ease up on the alcohol
Drinking and smoking go hand-in-hand. Moreover, after a few drinks, your quit-smoking resolve dwindles. You can quickly get carried away with the festivities and before you know it you have a cigarette in your hand telling yourself “just tonight”. I can tell you as a former smoker that I’ve had many such instances … only I didn’t just smoke for that night. I continue smoking for weeks or months.
4. Don’t join the smokers
If you’re at a party and there’s a group of smokers gathering outside, don’t join them. Even if you were with them last year, resist the urge. The temptation is simply too great, not to mention the fact there’s a huge supply of cigarettes to be had simply by asking.
Fortunately as more people quit smoking, the smoke-hole gatherings are getting smaller. But they’re still there and it can be tempting to join. Resist the temptation.
5. Consider electronic cigarettes
Electronic cigarettes are a good alternative to real cigarettes because they deliver nicotine. They provide an experience similar to real smoking, but it’s nicotine infused vapor.
Electronic cigarettes are a way to join the smoking crowd (if you must) and can help you stave off cigarette temptation when you’ve had a few drinks. They’re an option to consider as the holiday and party season is upon us.
I know you can always quit tomorrow, except tomorrow never comes. I’ve been there many times during my revolving door efforts to quit smoking. Fortunately, I’ve been smoke-free for well over a year … but it was not easy and I deployed every technique above to remain smoke free.
Matt Higgins is a former smoker and a contributing author to Vapor Blogger.