10 Tips to Help Tobacco Users Reduce Stress
For a tobacco user trying to quit, life can be stressful and loaded with triggers. Even happy events, like holidays with family or a pregnancy, can be stressful. To master stress management, it’s important to know what your triggers are and how to deal with them.
What are the stresses in your life? Take some time to reflect, and use the tips below to help reduce anxiety and minimize stress. You can also visit OKhelpline.com or call 1-800-QUIT NOW for nonjudgmental support and FREE, customizable services to help you quit.
1. Take a break.
In a stressful situation? Step away for a while. Instead of reaching for a cigarette, try taking a walk, grabbing a drink of water or eating a light snack. Even if it’s just for a few minutes, a short breather can help you relax in a stressful situation.
2. 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.
When your body is active, it sends out natural chemicals that improve your mood and reduce your stress. Walking is one of the easiest exercises for most people. Even a short walk every day can help you manage stress, curb nicotine cravings and improve your health.
When you can’t get away physically, take a mental vacation. Try closing your eyes and imaging yourself in a place where you feel safe, comfortable and relaxed. Picture it as clearly as you can. Stay there as long as you need to.
5. Scan for tension.
Our bodies hold on to stress and tension. Scan through your body and look for places where you are tight. These are areas you should target for stress relief. Some simple things you can do to reduce stress include stretching and exercising. Even simply rubbing your shoulders, neck and head for a few minutes can release a lot of tension.
6. Talk to someone.
Remember that there are people in your life who care about you. If you’re feeling stressed or craving tobacco, talk with a friend or family member about your life. An engaging conversation can help turn those stressful feelings around.
7. Take care of yourself.
This includes basic things like getting enough sleep, drinking lots of water and eating a balanced diet. When we eat poorly, we sometimes give ourselves permission to do other unhealthy things, like use tobacco. Enjoy food wisely, and avoid eating too much of the less healthy options in front of you. Stay rested, too. A lack of rest can lead to stress and moments of weakness. Be sure to get a good night’s sleep and take naps whenever you need them.
8. Cut down on caffeine.
Caffeine amplifies stress levels because it soaks into your bloodstream. Drinking caffeinated coffee, tea or soda can amplify stress levels, especially when quitting. Too much coffee can leave you feeling jittery. If you find you’re drinking coffee to stay awake, try resting instead. Or, try drinking tea — it usually has less caffeine than coffee.
9. Face the problem.
Think about what makes you stressed, and see if there are ways to make it better. There’s always something going on to break you out of your routine. Instead of allowing yourself to be overwhelmed by it, embrace the distraction. It can be helpful to talk to others about what’s stressing you, too.
10. Do things you enjoy.
Distract yourself with activities that give you pleasure. Go for a walk, watch a movie or do some reading. You can even try doing an adult coloring page, or play brain games like Sudoku or a crossword puzzle.
Get supportive text messages from the Oklahoma Tobacco Helpline. Whether you’re trying to quit, or just thinking about quitting, you can call 1-800-QUIT NOW any time for FREE, nonjudgmental support from a Quit Coach™. Or, take advantage of our free, customizable services to help you quit your own way.