Many people report that they smoke when they feel stressed as a way to cope with the demands of a busy life. An important part of quitting smoking is to identify the causes of stress in your life (your job, a family situation, money) and start to notice the stress signals (anxiety, headaches, trouble sleeping, or difficulty concentrating).
A quit coach can help you make a plan to handle high stress situations and start to develop new ways of handling them. This way you can set your own pace and take it one step at a time. You can talk with a quit coach for free at the Massachusetts Smokers’ Helpline or at an in-person quit-smoking counseling session.
Some people smoke just to take a break from a stressful day. Here are some other ways to take time to yourself when life starts to get very busy.
- Take a break. This may just mean taking a short walk or treating yourself to a healthy snack or soothing cup of tea. Whether it’s a 5 minute break or an hour, try to set aside time where you can get away from other people and your usual routine.
- Deep Breathing. Breathe in slowly counting to five and then release your breath counting to five. Do this for a few minutes and you will start to feel your body relax. Sometimes closing your eyes and imagining a time or place where you felt safe and comfortable can enhance your relaxation.
- Take care of your body. This may include eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and drinking lots of water. Caffeine can also contribute to feeling worried, tense, or stressed. Cutting back or replacing coffee with tea can help if you can’t cut it out completely.