If you have trouble with certain withdrawal symptoms, plan how you could cope or work around them. Plans may involve identifying times you smoke and thinking of alternatives, or perhaps considering if quitting medications are appropriate for you. You could talk to your doctor or a Quitline counsellor for support.
Coping with cravings
Nicotine is extremely addictive. It takes time to adjust to living without it. You may sometimes miss smoking and wonder if the effort is worth it.
Here are a few tips you could try for coping with cravings:
- Delay, deep breathe, drink water or do something else―most cravings only last a few minutes.
- Remind yourself of how far you have come and how few cigarettes you have smoked.
- Think about your reasons for quitting.
- Reward yourself for staying away from cigarettes.
- Try not to dwell on any setbacks.
- Consider nicotine replacement therapy or other quitting medications.
You may get occasional cravings long after other withdrawal symptoms have gone. These cravings can be triggered by being in situations where you used to smoke. Draw on the strategies you used when you first quit to deal with these situations.
It takes time to get used to being a non-smoker, but you’re making headway.
The first few days and weeks after you quit can be the hardest. You might be going along well but suddenly you hit a setback. Setbacks are a common part of quitting for most people.
Think about why this setback has occurred. What is working for you with your quit strategy? What might not be working? Identifying the times where you have a trigger for smoking and working out a plan for next time increases future success.
If you have a setback or go back to regular smoking, don’t feel discouraged. Most people who have successfully quit smoking for good have made several serious attempts. Every day you spent smoke free made your body healthier and helped to break your habit and lessen your addiction. For support, call Quitline 13 7848.
Mental health and quitting smoking
Most people who quit feel healthier, both physically and mentally.
Planning to address emotional triggers related to smoking can be just as important as addressing nicotine withdrawal. When quitting, some people may initially experience irritability, anxiety or a feeling that something is missing. Smoking may seem to relieve these feelings. However, often the benefit is just relief from symptoms that smoking has created in the first place.
Withdrawal symptoms will reduce and get easier to deal with over time. Ways to cope when quitting are very personal and differ greatly between individuals.
- Think of what has helped in the past when dealing with stress.
- Consider distractions such as physical exercise, meditation, or revisiting hobbies and activities enjoyed in the past.
- Identify friends, family or health professionals who are supportive.
- Make an appointment with your doctor.
- Call Quitline 13 7848.
I’m feeling stressed, what can I do?
Some people feel more stressed after they quit. This may be partly due to coping with withdrawal symptoms. It can take time to settle into new routines and become comfortable with new ways of managing without cigarettes.
If you used to smoke when you felt stressed―as many smokers do―then you are likely to get cravings to smoke next time you’re stressed.
If you are planning to quit, take some time to think about other ways to relieve stress. What other ways have you dealt with stress in the past? What might be some other strategies that you can use to relieve stress?
What works in providing stress relief is different for everybody. You are the best judge of what will and won’t work for you.
Some common things people do to relieve stress when quitting include:
- Exploring other options for rewards and time out.
- Physical exercise.
- Using medications or nicotine replacement products to relieve withdrawal symptoms.
- Avoiding (until you are more confident) places or people where there is a strong smoking association.
- Seeking support from non-smoking friends in social situations.
- Doing something you enjoy.
Remember, Quitline counsellors can help you plan for hard times.