There are plenty of things that can tempt us during the holiday season; over spending, over eating, drinking too much wine and (yes) even smoking. The stress of the holidays has a way of tricking people into thinking that smoking is what they need to cope. If that isn’t enough we all remember what it was like to have a cigarette after a big meal and the perceived satisfaction it gave us. The problem is believing there is any sort of benefit in smoking. Anything we got out of smoking we can get from healthier cheaper alternatives.
The key to making it through any holiday season is to follow the KISS acronym.
- K – keep
- I – it
- S – simple
- S – stupid
Okay, you really aren’t stupid but I did not come up with the acronym either. So here you go; the number one reason people relapse is because of stress and I don’t know of any time of the year that is more stressful than the holidays. Here are some tips to help manage holiday stress without smoking.
- Plan ahead when shopping – One of the biggest hassles is getting stuck somewhere because you did not plan ahead. Of course there are those people that love to shop the sales on Black Friday but I much rather prefer Cyber Monday where I can get all my shopping done at Amazon.com and have everything delivered to my door. Either way have a plan on where you are going to go and what you are going to buy.
- Know your limitations – If crowds and slow moving lines aren’t your thing don’t put yourself in those types of situations. Go shopping during the less busy times or prepare yourself before leaving the house and tell yourself, “today is going to be a challenging day” and pack some gum, headphones and a smile.
- Visiting the in-laws isn’t always the most exciting thing to do but it is important to your spouse. Small sacrifices are important for the person you love and you will be home before you know it.
- Smoking is never an option. Never EVER forget why you stopped smoking. No trial, temptation or problem should rob you of your health and new smoke-free life.
- Stock up your vehicle. You will likely experience traffic delays. Manage them by stocking up on sunflower seeds, music and a book on CD. It never fails – the radio knows when it has you captive and with either play the lamest music of smother you with commercials. Be prepared with a CD and if you want to catch up some reading, check out a book on CD from the library. You will be amazed at how fast it goes and you may sit in your car a couple minutes longer when you finally reach your destination just to hear what happens.
- Don’t get too tired. It is easy to start burning the candle at both ends but try not to. Get plenty of rest.
- Pie anyone? OMG! There is no shortage of all the things that add 20 pounds to the waist during the holidays. Don’t force yourself to go without but also don’t devour a whole cherry pie yourself. Practice self-control, have fun and fill up on celery and carrots minus the ranch dressing.
- Exercise anyone? Bleh! The holidays have a way of knocking people off their routines and one of the first things to fall to the way-side is exercising. Try to not let this happen. It will help control your stress, cravings and the extra calories you are taking in.
With some planning and self-control you can make it through the holidays without smoking. Don’t throw away your hard work because you think it will help you manage stress, eat less and kill your boredom. Plan ahead, have fun and remember all the good reasons you’re quit smoking.