We deal with hundreds of people every day who are cutting down or quitting smoking. This can be a really stressful time if you are in the early stages of quitting, not only because your brain is asking you to supply it with the plethora of dangerous chemicals you are addicted to.
If you really want to quit you also need to make new lifestyle choices to replace your usual routine of going out for a smoke.
Most people cope with the chemical part of the addiction pretty easily, but find it much harder to replace the physical routines they have established over years of going out to have a cigarette break. This is also a major reason lots of people quit smoking, and then pick it up again a few months later. Its not easy to make such a massive change to your lifestyle, and unfortunately its really easy to fall back into familiar routines.
I struggled with this because my friend group at my previous job were all smokers, I even met them all at the smoking area. When I first tried to quit smoking, I only lasted a few weeks because I didnt want to ditch my workmates on my break, so I kept visiting the smoking area on my break. Soon enough, I felt out of place chewing gum in the smoking area and the smell of cigarettes became too alluring so eventually I ended up socially smoking. Within a few weeks I was smoking full time again.
It was only when I started vaping that I was able to properly quit, because I had something to do on my break that vaguely resembles smoking a cigarette, eventually I convinced my workmates that vaping was not only more cost effective, but also less harmful.
Even then, I knew I was one bored evening away from buying another pack of cigarettes, this would be a really bad decision, but at least it was something to do.
A great way to cope with this is to replace the routine of having a cigarette with something else.
So I walked to the shop, but instead of buying cigarettes I just kept walking to the next store. By the time I got to the next store (about 1km away up a hill) I was tired and short of breath, the thought of smoking a cigarette was a little less appealing, and I was pretty happy with the hour or so I had spent walking.
Im a pretty lazy dude, so instead of finishing my 9-5 and getting home to then leave the house again to go and do some excersize, I started walking to work into my daily routine. My blood pressure has reduced and my resting heart rate is about 20bpm lower than when I first recorded it after quitting. It was a great way to monitor my improving health, after a while I wasnt so puffed once I arrived at my destination.
One of the most important things to remember after you quit smoking is you will feel better for quitting after a few weeks, but to really nip it in the bud, pair that with regular exercise and healthy eating. Once you initiate healthy routines, it makes it much harder to go back to smoking because after you start seeing the results and achieving more, you have more to lose by picking smoking up again.
The most rewarding thing for me after I quit smoking was the health benefits. They dont happen overnight, but they do happen if you can dedicate yourself to healthier living. If you compound this with a healthy diet, and/or a good dose of exercise.
Take it easy, sometimes it's best to go one step at a time until you find your feet. Dont set your goals too high or you may open yourself up to failure, set attainable goals and try and create a routine around them. Small goals are going to be easier to integrate into your life.
The hardest part of changing your current routine is sticking to your new routine.
Once your routine becomes a habit, its going to be harder to replace.
YOU CAN DO IT!