Getting through the first two weeks after you give up cigarettes is tough. There are several triggers that will bring on the urge to smoke. With a little preparation and a plan in place though, you can manage your cravings and beat the urge to smoke. The most important thing to remember is that no matter how intense, cravings last typically 5 to 10 minutes and you can tide over them.
Here’s a 10 point plan to help you manage cravings:
Remember: well begun is half done
The first few hours and days after you quit smoking are the toughest to get through, so it helps to have a plan to manage your cravings before you quit. Think about when you smoke, where and with whom and make specific plans about what you can do instead. Thinking about your triggers and planning alternatives for dealing with them means that you won’t be caught off-guard when a craving strikes. Finally, pick a good ‘quit time’; a time that’s less stressful and when you can focus on your commitment to quitting. For example, picking a time when you know you’re going to be stressed at work is not a great idea. Instead, opt for a time when you can avoid major stress for a week or two.
Think About Your Reasons For Quitting
What’s your why?
There was a strong, compelling reason that made you decide to quit. Think about it. Write it down if it helps and carry it with you, so you can use it as a visual reminder to stay committed to the quitting process. This is a simple affirmation that can help you conquer cravings with sheer intellect. Additionally, write down a list of pros of quitting smoking and cons as well, each time a craving strikes; it will not just keep you motivated but also prevent you from rationalizing any slips you experience. You can even maintain a cravings diary to track your progress. Also, calculate your savings to see how quitting is benefiting you financially, and think about what you can do with the money you’re saving. This is a great way to stay motivated and pass time as you tide over a craving.
You don’t have to do this alone
Quitting smoking is a tough journey, but it’s not one you have to embark on alone. Think about the people you can trust and count on during this phase and enlist their support. When a craving strikes, call or text a friend. If you’re at work, take a walk around the block with a colleague you enjoy spending time with. There is a world of resources out there you can turn to as well. Join a community of like-minded people who are on the same journey and can support you. Read the success stories about how others dealt with nicotine withdrawal in the early days of quitting.
Keep Yourself Busy
Drinking a tall glass of water can break that craving!
When a craving strikes, use the 4D Principle to keep yourself busy:
Along with the 4Ds, try switching things up in your regular routine. If you’ve always smoked with your coffee in the morning, switch to tea or decaf for a while. If Friday nights meant a smoke with your buddies at the bar, go for a movie or dinner with a different group of pals for a couple of weeks.
Try Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT)
Nicotine replacement therapy can be a powerful ally when it comes to managing your cravings. Short-acting nicotine replacement therapies such as nicotine gum and lozenges can help you tide over intense cravings. When used as directed, nicotine gum and lozenges can significantly improve your chances of being able to quit successfully. To know more about which NRT product is right for you, reach out to us.
Head To A Smoke-Free Zone
Most public places don’t allow smoking. Go to a movie, a restaurant or a store where smoking is not allowed. Don’t go out with your friends who are smokers for a few weeks. Tell them that you’re quitting, and you’ll need to take a break while you’re in the early days of the quit journey.
Chew On It
Dig into something with a multi-layered, satisfying texture
Fight your craving by chewing on something such as sugarless gum or hard candy. This will temporarily distract your mind and give your mouth something else to do. Look for options that are crunchy and satisfying or have an interesting texture such as raw carrots, lettuce, pumpkin seeds, celery or nuts.
Don’t Have Just One
Don’t give in to it’s-just-one way of thinking
It can be very tempting to convince yourself that you’re just going to have that ‘one cigarette’, but don’t give in. More often than not, having just one leads to another and you may end up smoking again.
Get Physically Active
Physical activity doesn’t just help distract you from your cravings, it can also reduce their intensity. Get out for a walk or a jog, or if you’re at work, try running up and down the stairs a few times. Even a short burst of physical activity can make a tobacco craving go away. If you’re stuck indoors, try something else like squats or push-ups. Or do some household chores like vacuuming or doing the dishes. It’ll help fight the cravings, plus you’ll earn some brownie points from your significant other or your family!
Reward yourself - you deserve it!
As you make it through the quitting journey, don’t forget to reward yourself- for the big milestones as well as the little ones. Give yourself small rewards for every single day you make it through the first two weeks- those are the toughest after all- and bigger rewards at the end of weeks one and two.
Finally, remember that it’s you who is in charge. You’re not at the mercy of your cravings; they are just an urge that you can conquer. Don’t give up and focus on what really matters- your future, your close ones, YOU. Each time you conquer a craving, you are one step closer to staying smoke-free for good.