Christmas can be a difficult time to change old habits. For many people, choosing not to have an alcoholic drink or trying to stop smoking during a time when most of us want to relax and worry about making new habits in the New Year, can be hard.
Wouldn’t it be a shame though, to let a few days of holidays ruin weeks or months of hard work at quitting?
And actually, if you can get through Xmas not smoking then maybe it will help to boost your confidence at staying smoke-free. After all, if you can not turn to cigarettes to relax after a day of Xmas shopping, when the cat is destroying the Xmas tree, or when you’re cooking dinner for 35 of the in-laws then maybe staying away from the cigarettes for the rest of 2015 will be a breeze!
We spoke to Linda from Dawley, who has just completed her 12 weeks smoke free with Telford’s Stop4Life stop-smoking service.
“I’ve been seeing an advisor and using mouth spray nicotine replacement therapy- so whenever I have a craving to smoke, I use the spray which gives me a fast and safe replacement. Stop4Life has been brilliant and I’ve even recommended some friends to join, and they have now started their own stop smoking journeys with the help of the team!”
It hasn’t been easy for Linda though.
“I started smoking when I was fifteen and I’ve tried to quit several times before but had never managed to stay quit. At one point, I was smoking about 30 a day- a mix of cigarettes and roll ups, which was costing me £70 a week. It wasn’t until I was diagnosed with COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease, a lung problem often caused by smoking) that I knew I had to quit for the sake of my health.”
Twelve weeks since meeting with Stop4Life, lots of things have changed for Linda.
“I’m breathing better already (COPD can make people very short of breath very easily) and I’ve even joined a gym and started swimming. Even better, the money I used to spend on smoking more than pays for my gym membership and I’ve even managing to save towards getting a passport for a holiday next year!”
Linda has even surprised herself with the benefits of stopping smoking.
“With a history of diabetes in the family, I’d been told that by being smoke-free I’m reducing my risk of getting the disease and at my last opticians appointment I was told that my eyesight has improved- for the first time since I was 16.”
To sum it up, Linda says “I feel better in myself and my partner, who is a non-smoker, is very supportive and proud of me”.
And so he should be Linda- you have done brilliantly and are such an inspiration, not just for other long term smokers who might have tried to stop before and not been successful, but for everyone trying to live a healthier lifestyle this Christmas!
Our top tips for anyone wanting to stop smoking at this time of year?
• Believe it is possible, and that you can do it.
• Take each day at a time
• Tell everyone around you what you are trying to do and why so that they don’t keep asking you to join them outside.
• Finally, surround yourself with supportive people like Linda has done and get specialist advice from our Stop4Life service.
The Five Ways to Wellbeing are simple ways to make small changes in your life that make you feel better about yourself. But sometimes we need a little more help so:
If you need support straight away….
If you are concerned about your state of mind and are feeling low or anxious, it’s a good idea to speak about your feelings with your local GP.
Also, below are contact details for organisations that can provide support, advice or a listening ear: