Top 10 tips to reduce stress during the holidays.

The holidays can be a joyful time of celebration, as well as a major source of stress. The hectic schedules. The constant togetherness. The delicious foods. For a smoker trying to quit, the holidays are loaded with triggers. To master holiday stress management, it’s important to know what your triggers are and how to deal with them.

Follow these tips to reduce anxiety and enjoy a happier, healthier holiday season.

  1. Stay rested. The holidays can wear you down, which can lead to stress and moments of weakness. Be sure to get a good night’s sleep and take naps whenever you need them.
  2. Reduce caffeine. Coffee is a forgotten part of the holidays. We drink it in the morning to prepare for a full day ahead. We drink it after our big holiday meals. But too much can leave you feeling jittery. If you find you’re drinking coffee to stay awake, try resting instead.
  3. Drink water. Water is a great quitting aid. It helps calm cravings and flushes toxins out of your system. Plus, staying hydrated helps you feel better overall.
  4. Talk to someone. Remember: You’re surrounded by friends and loved ones who care about you. If you’re feeling stressed or craving a cigarette, talking to someone can help turn those feelings around.
  5. Embrace the distraction. Like every holiday, there’s always something going on to break you out of your routine. Instead of allowing yourself to be overwhelmed by it, focus on where you are and try to enjoy it.
  6. Take a break. If you need a break from the constant togetherness, step away for a while. Instead of reaching for a cigarette, try taking a walk, grabbing a drink of water or a light snack.
  7. Meditate. Sometimes we can’t get away physically. That’s when it’s time to take a mental vacation. Close your eyes and imagine yourself in a safe, relaxing place. Stay there as long as you need to.
  8. Breathe deeply. Take a few slow, deep breaths — in through your nose and out through your mouth. You’ll feel your body start to relax.
  9. Learn to say no. Throughout the holidays, there will be lots of gatherings and parties. It’s impossible to say yes to all of them. So don’t. Saying no will help take extra pressure off.
  10. Eat better. When we eat poorly, sometimes we give ourselves permission to do other unhealthy things. Like smoke. Enjoy holiday foods wisely, and avoid eating too much of the less healthy options in front of you.

BONUS TIP: Get supportive text messages throughout the holiday season from the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline. Whether you’re trying to quit, or just thinking about quitting, you can call 1-800-QUIT NOW anytime for free, nonjudgmental support from a Quit Coach™.