It takes determination to quit smoking and stay smokefree. You should feel great about yourself for how far you've come. Now that you've quit smoking, it's time to focus on staying smokefree long-term.
Here are 5 tips to help you maintain your smokefree status:
1. Keep Your Guard Up
Your body has changed since you began to smoke. Your brain has learned to crave nicotine. So certain people, places, things, and situations can trigger a strong urge to smoke‚ even years after quitting. That's why you should never take a puff again‚ no matter how long it has been since you quit.
After you've quit‚ the urge to smoke often hits at the same times. For many people‚ the hardest place to resist the urge is at home. And many urges hit when someone else is smoking nearby. Identify your smoking triggers so you can be prepared for a temptation. If a craving hits, use the skills you've learned.
2. Fight the Urge
It might be tempting to give in a smoke when a craving hits, but the longer you go without smoking the more these urges will fade. Resist the urge to smoke. Having one or two go-to coping skills you can turn to is helpful (like taking a walk or practicing deep breathing).
3. Stay Upbeat
As you go through the first days and weeks without smoking‚ keep a positive outlook. Don't blame or punish yourself if you do have a cigarette. Don't think of smoking as “all or none.” Instead‚ take it one day at a time. Remember that quitting is a learning process.
4. Reward Yourself for Staying Smokefree
It's tough to quit smoking; staying smokefree is a major accomplishment. Make sure you're rewarding yourself. Now that you're not buying cigarettes anymore, you might have extra money to buy a small treat. But your reward doesn't have to cost anything! Enjoy a nice hike now that you can breathe easier, or invite a friend over for movie night.
5. Lean on Someone for Support
Even after you've been smokefree for a while, you can still be triggered to smoke. When this happens, don't be afraid to turn to someone that supported you when you first quit smoking. This it totally normal, and doesn't mean you're weak. Often times talking about a craving with someone can help you identify what's really going on while the craving passes.
Remember, quitting smoking happens one day at a time. Celebrate your quit milestones (big and small); you deserve it!