How Can I Cope with Stress Once I Quit Smoking

Smoking is known to calm or soothe nerves. Thus it is important to know what it is that triggers your urge to smoke so you’ll know how to address them properly instead of resorting to smoking. Is it stress? Boredom? Fatigue? Quitting is more difficult and requires more effort than you might think.

Recovering from nicotine addiction

The road to recovery from nicotine addiction is not easy. There are two main components to nicotine addiction: physical withdrawal from nicotine and healing the mind of habits associated with smoking or healing the mind of triggers that urge people to smoke.

On the physical level, our bodies react to withdrawal from nicotine and several other chemicals we inhale when we smoke. This in itself causes stress that must be dealt with. To manage this recovery ‘problem’ properly, we should realize that stress is a result of early recovery from nicotine addiction. Some tools or materials to deal with the discomforts can also be helpful.

On the emotional/mental level, we have to realize that quitting smoking forces us to deal with the loss of those cigarettes which we thought of as some magic tool to help us manage our feelings. For a lot of people, this is the hardest part of quitting smoking.

10 Ways to help you cope with stress:

Taking care of yourself

The first few weeks or months of cessation is the time when you should be taking extra care of yourself. You are under a considerable amount of stress during these times so make sure your needs are being met. Here’s how to make dealing with withdrawal more comfortable:

Eat right. Make sure that you get a well-balanced diet because your body will be needing good quality fuel now that you’re off the addictive stuff. The good fuel from food flushes out the toxins out of your system.

Drink lots of water. Water also flushes out toxins and helps you detox faster. Water also quells nicotine cravings.

Take multivitamins. Coupled with a balanced diet and lots of water, multivitamins give the body the boost throughout the withdrawal process. Smoking eats up plenty of nutrients. Multivitamins can help you recover faster from withdrawal symptoms.

Cut down/Cut out Caffeine

For most smokers, cigarettes and caffeine go so well together. It’s because caffeine perks you up, while cigarettes calm you down. The result is alertness minus the jitters. When you quit smoking, you might notice that your usual amount of caffeine now makes you jittery and anxious.

Reduce your caffeine intake, or cut it out totally (especially if you’re having trouble sleeping) while you are still recovering from nicotine addiction. Once you’ve recovered, you can go back to drinking caffeinated drinks again, though perhaps, less than before you quit smoking.

Take a warm bath

A warm bath is calming and soothing. Coupled with scented candles, bath salts and your favorite bath gel, warm baths really are the way to go when you want to just relax and de-stress.

Get a massage

Another great way to de-stress and relax is a massage. Massages help our body release the tension we feel in out muscles. A full body massage is your best bet. But of course, you can’t always go to the spa whenever you’re stressed so enlist the help of a partner or family member to help work away the stress from your muscles. A 10-15 minute massage on the neck, shoulders, face and scalp can work wonders.

Go for a walk

Walking, like other exercises, releases chemical called endorphins. Endorphins produce a sense of well-being, a "feel good" feeling if you will. A 15-minute walk is enough to get you refreshed and relaxed.

Get enough sleep

All the stress you feel from nicotine withdrawal is tolling on both the body and the mind. Get enough sleep if you need it. It’s your body’s way of saying that it’s tired. The tiredness and fatigue will go away, and your energy will return soon.

Visualize

Think of a place where you can go to when you need to relax – it could be real or imaginary. Own it and think of it every time so it becomes familiar. When you’ve settled, follow your breathing. Slow it down gradually. Then breathe deeply in and out for 3-5 minutes.

Deep breathing

Deep breathing is known for quickly calming nerves and reducing stress. Inhale through your nose within a count of three. Exhale through your mouth also within a count of three. Repeat this for a few minutes or until you feel the tension in your body falling away.

Focus on today

People today spend so much time thinking about the future that they don’t get to enjoy the "now". When you quit smoking, do not worry about tomorrow. Don’t get lost in fear of ‘relapsing’, fear of never being able to smoke again. Instead focus on today, on staying smoke-free for today. That’s all you need to do.

Go easy on yourself

Bad days are part of life. It’s impossible to go through life without having one. It’s a fact of life you have to live with it. When you quit smoking and you have withdrawal symptoms.

On days like these, go easy on yourself. When your mood is off, small glitches get blown out of proportions. When you’re having a bad day, make time for some "me time". Pamper yourself. Put all your thoughts on hold and concentrate on feeling good. Tomorrow, you’ll be ready to take on the world again – smoke-free.