Managing the Holiday Blues Without Smoking

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Holiday Depression and Quitting Smoking

If you get the holiday blues, you're not alone. Many of us experience unhappy emotions and associations this time of year, and those feelings may in turn trigger strong urges to smoke.

Use the suggestions below to put together a personal game plan to deal with the depression that can come with the holiday season.  Preparation will keep you in the driver's seat, and events / emotions will be less likely to catch you off-guard.

Surviving the holidays with your quit program intact will reward with you a sense of strength, accomplishment and control over the challenges that life can sometimes place in our path.

Reach Out for Support

This is a key ingredient for a successful quit and is even more critical when you're feeling low. Reach out, even if it's difficult to do. Talking your feelings through with like-minded people can be worth its weight in gold.  The About Smoking Cessation support forum community is responsive and compassionate, so stop in for some companionship and help with your feelings.

Write it Out

Use your quit journal to let your feelings out in a safe way. It can be therapeutic and enlightening when you look back through your journal and see how far you've come with your quit program. Perspective is everything, especially when you're focused on immediate discomforts.

Review Your Reasons for Quitting

The reasons you quit smoking have just as much meaning today as they did the day you quit, but they can lose their urgency with time away from smoking.

Think seriously about what it would be like if you went back to smoking, because chances are that if you light up, you'll be back to it full-time again soon.

Think carefully about what a return to smoking will offer you. What were the benefits of smoking when you decided to quit? What were the negatives?

All of the bad will be back in full force faster than you think if you light up.

I have never met a relapsed smoker who was happy they'd started smoking again.

Smoking is no friend to anyone.  It offers nothing but disease and ultimately death. Don't be fooled by junkie thinking.

Distract and Decipher

Pay attention to the thoughts going through your mind and stop self-defeating thoughts in their tracks.   Your brain accepts whatever you tell it on a subconscious level, so replace negatives with positive cues.  

With practice, this will become easier, and eventually corrections for faulty thinking will come without much or any effort at all.

And don't forget the value of distraction. Sometimes the absolute best thing we can do for ourselves is to simply step back and get out of our own way. 

Use Gratitude as a Tool

We all have reasons to be thankful. Make the conscious effort to acknowledge the good that exists around you every day.

You may be surprised to find that you have more of it in your life than you thought.

If Depression is Severe

If you are severely depressed and / or thinking about suicide, it is very important that you talk to someone immediately and let them know you are feeling this way.   If you see a psychiatrist or a counselor, he or she is the person to call. A family member or friend is also a good choice.

If these options are not available to you, please call a suicide crisis hotline. In the United States, you can call 1-800-784-2433 or 1-800-273-8255.

Take some deep breaths and wait until you can connect with someone who can help you work through the pain you're in.

*****

The holidays are hard for a lot of people.  Remember that they're temporary and will be over once the first of the year rolls around.  Keep your quit intact. You'll be glad you did.

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