If you’re brave enough to quit smoking this October, we salute you! We know it’s not easy to do, with nicotine cravings trying to rope you back into your old habits. There’s some good news though: cravings usually don’t last longer than 5-10 minutes, which means that if you find a way to distract yourself for that amount of time it’s over before you know it. Of course, we’ve got a massive range of over the counter nicotine replacement products, but there are other ways to reduce cravings too. Here’s our top 10 of tips to beat those pesky cravings:
- Get active
Go out, explore! Borrow a dog from your neighbour and see how far your feet will take you. The fresh air will do you good and the new surroundings will distract you for a bit. Plus: exercise releases endorphins, which will make you feel better about yourself!
- Try something new
Salsa lessons, boxing, cooking – a new hobby could be just the ticket to stop thinking about lighting up. Boxing has the added bonus of offering some aggression release (and you get to wear super cool gloves).
- Anger Management Therapy
Channel your inner Robert de Niro and release your anger on some unsuspecting pillows. It might help to play some suitable music (our favourites include Eye of the Tiger and I Will Survive) – screaming is allowed and encouraged.
- Keep yourself busy
Whether you develop a new love for spotless kitchen appliances or would rather learn how to play the piano, it’s all fine by us. It doesn’t matter what distracts you, as long as you’re distracted. And cleaning or doing a short round of exercise is both good for your health and distracting. Double whammy!
- Drink – no, not alcohol
Keeping yourself hydrated is a good idea always, but when you’re quitting smoking it can help reduce the feeling of needing to do something with your mouth. Also, you’re likely to develop a bit of a cough, so tea with honey or warm milk could sooth your throat.
- Pick up that phone
Remember that phone call to your great aunt Ethel you’ve been putting off for ages? Now is the time to get on with it. She will keep you on the phone for at least ten minutes, after which you will be up to date on all extended family affairs and can make your excuses and promise to call her again soon (yeah, right). Alternative option: call a mate, make some plans for later so you have something to look forward to. Remember: it’s all about keeping busy!
- Get creative, start a diary
Get rid of all your angry and emotional thoughts by writing them down in a diary. Compose emotional Haiku’s or angry limericks, start writing a murder mystery or just let off some steam complaining about the neighbours – we don’t judge.
Keep that mouth busy! Get some chewing gum, mints or toffees, or get yourself some toothpicks. Other classics include lollypops, Biro’s and wooden pencils. Just try not to chew anyone’s leg off.
- Stand in front of a mirror and give yourself a pep talk
Look, millions of people have done this before and succeeded. Millions of people who are, arguably, not as awesome as you. So, if they can do it, then why wouldn’t you be able to? Get in front of that mirror and repeat after me: you got this!
- Prevent yourself from lighting up a cigarette
If all else fails, then take some inspiration from the gif below. Warning: proceed at your own risk.
If none of those options appeal to you, then there are of course the usual tips to get rid of your cravings. It is recommended to avoid triggers, which could be social (pub/friends), emotional (stress/anxiety), habitual (after food, with coffee, at work) or withdrawal (seeing others smoke, smelling cigarette smoke). If this means avoiding the pub for a while, then so be it. However, there are some over the counter products which soothe cravings by providing you with nicotine in a safe way. These are the products we recommend: