Quitting smoking is a difficult journey and a great gift to both you and your child. You will be protecting your own health from cancer and heart disease, and your baby from potential second hand smoke risks, like asthma, allergies, ear infections, and pneumonia. Maintaining a “no cigarette” policy is hard, but one of the best things you can do for your family.
Develop Alternative Coping Mechanisms
Have a plan in place for what you will do to resist a craving when it strikes. For some people, chewing on a mint flavored tooth pick, eating carrot sticks, drinking cold water through a straw, or chewing gum can help reduce the urge. For others, physical activity can help fight the craving, like taking a walk, stretching, or squeezing a ball in your hand. Mental activities like a crossword puzzle can also be the right kind of distracting to get you through a craving.
Realistically though, coping mechanisms can sometimes fall short. In instances like this it’s good to have a backup plan that can still help steer you away from smoking. Some people have turned to vaping, or e cigarettes (remember to talk to your health care provider if you are pregnant since we don’t know the long term effects), for this additional assistance.
. Vaping can help with facilitate the hand-to-mouth habit that you’re used to with smoking. Overcoming this psychological effect is key to quitting. Always make sure to visit your doctor to ensure that vaping is a good fit for you.
Identify and Avoid Your Triggers
There are likely certain times of day, events, or situations that you associate with smoking. For some people, it may be taking a break at work, drinking a cup of coffee, or sitting down to watch television that makes them crave a cigarette. Avoid your triggers when possible and be prepared to resist them in your daily life. Knowing that a trigger is coming will help you feel more in control and allow you to enact your coping mechanisms. Remember that every time you successfully resist a trigger, it loses some of its power over you.
Develop Your Support Network
A strong support network will help you keep your motivation strong when you are struggling. Seek out understanding friends, especially those who have already quit smoking themselves, since they can warn you of the pitfalls and understand your struggles. Consider finding a particular person who you agree to at least call before lighting up. This small extra step can help get you through your worst cravings.
You may have to cut down the time you spend with friends who are smokers, at least in the beginning and when your cravings are at their worst. If there are people in your life who make well intentioned attempts to sabotage your efforts, such as suggesting that just one couldn’t hurt, kindly tell them that if they can’t support your choice, you will have to spend some time away from them until you are in better control of your cravings.
Consider Professional Help
Getting your doctor on your team can be a great help to your attempt to stay away from smoking. She may be able to recommend stress relief techniques and other useful tips to help you resist cravings. She may also suggest nicotine replacement or medications that reduce withdrawal symptoms or make smoking itself less enjoyable
Quitting smoking while your hormones are in flux is a recipe for an emotionally difficult situation. Finding a therapist, counsellor, or a group dedicated to quitting can help you navigate the anxiety, frustration, or depression you may feel.
Remember Your Reasons
Take some time to write a list of the reasons why you want to quit in bullet point. Some of your reasons may include things like:
- Have the energy to play with my kids.
- Protect my family from second hand smoke.
- Live to see my grandchildren.
Keep a copy of this list in your purse or diaper bag and bring it out when you have a strong craving to help you remember why you are doing this. You may also want to post the list on the wall where you will see it in the morning or in a place where you are often tempted to smoke.
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