During stressful times, it's easy to revert back to, or intensify bad habits. We’ll naturally revert to a quick ciggy, to ‘calm the nerves’ - as humans we use different coping mechanisms to gain some control over our mental or physical wellbeing, especially when we’re feeling out of control - global pandemic, or not!
We’re here to give you the lowdown on how to quit smoking post-lockdown, while utilising some healthy coping strategies for stress!
Job losses, impending recessions or getting sick during a pandemic - we’re all feeling like 2020 has been an unprecedented time, to say the least. Where lockdown has been used as a positive strategy to decrease likelihood of community-spread of Covid, we’re seeing some of the negative effects of being isolated in our homes. For example, during Covid-19 Lockdown, global statistics saw an increase in spend by up to 90% on alcohol (with most popular being rum!). Other stressful events or disasters have shown similar relationships between increased use of tobacco smoking, and alcohol consumption. Similarly our mental wellbeing takes a hit - where the Need to Talk NZ helpline saw increased themes of relationship problems, and anxiety in people who called, during Level 4, for example.
If tobacco smoking habits increase during stressful times, increased awareness around healthy coping strategies can make it more likely for your quit smoking plan to be a success. Where your smoking may feel like it's calming you down at the time, it’s short-lived - you’ll later feel the withdrawal from the ‘reward’ chemical in the brain, dopamine. Natural methods of relaxation, can reduce your feelings of anxiety, and ultimately your dependence on smoking as a de-stressor.
We’ve curated a post-lockdown quit smoking checklist, that focuses on smoking cessation strategies that target stress-reduction:
- Quit with a friend: Accountability is the best strategy to change your habits - especially if someone close to you, is also sharing the same experience. The old saying goes: ‘a problem shared, is a problem halved’.
- Recognise your cravings / triggers: When do you crave cigarettes the most? Becoming more aware of when you crave cigarettes, and what triggers increased use, means you can try to reduce, and replace at the right time. Are you more of a social smoker, or do you crave most when you are stressed?
- Relax & switch off: What makes you feel more relaxed? Is it watching Netflix, exercising or breathing exercises, or going for a walk? Recognise what works for you, and quickly realise when you start feeling stressed, to try one of those natural coping mechanisms instead.
- Ask for help: Check out the community of people on Quitline’s blog, who are currently also on their quit smoking journey.
- Become informed: Check out research-based useful resources, through Quitline.
- Make the switch: Use VAPO’s Haiz to help you phase out tobacco cigarettes, and dependence on nicotine. Cold turkey doesn’t usually work - by choosing a smaller level of nicotine, and moving the more healthy alternative of a vape, you’ll start seeing positive results sooner, and you’ll be more likely to fall back to smoking habits. Talk to us about which device, flavours, and nicotine strength may work for you.
Take on a more holistic approach to quitting smoking today - instead of burning that cigarette, burn the 2020 calendar and start looking forward to how you can reframe your post-lockdown quit smoking plan, that puts your wellbeing at the centre!