Quit Smoking: Week 3

Day 21 – 3 weeks off the cigarettes cold turkey with only one slip up 7 days ago. For those of you who were sensible enough to never smoke that probably doesn’t sound like much of an achievement. For anyone who has, and has ever tried to stop smoking, especially cold turkey, I’m sure you’ll appreciate why I consider that a success!

The Slip-Up

Yes, Day 13, just as I thought I was getting the hang of this quitting thing I had a row with my husband (who does smoke) – our first since I quit and I fell back on the old coping mechanism of lighting up a fag to deal with the stress. As a matter of fact, I had several that night but when I woke the next day, I decided to knock it on the head straightaway and ran what cigs I had left under the tap before chucking them in the bin so that I couldn’t easily change my mind!

It also helped that my throat was absolutely killing me from not only smoking after 2 weeks off but also having picked up a cough and sore throat off my youngest that then kept me up all week, reinforcing why I should stick it out and stay off the fags if I didn’t want that cough to become a permanent fixture in my life.

The Recovery

I stuck the Paul McKenna hypnosis on that I’ve been listening to successfully up until this point and, when I woke up out of the trance/dreamlike state, I just didn’t have another smoke (if you want to have a go to see if this can work for you, there’s a link to it from my previous post here https://myholisticliving.co.uk/2019/07/05/quit-smoking-day-5/ or down the sidebar). I only listened to it that once to reinforce the messages and that did the trick for me.

I also find it helpful to keep building on progress by introducing new challenges such as the 7-Day Digital Detox I started last week:

https://myholisticliving.co.uk/2019/07/18/has-your-smart-phone-taken-over-your-life/

This kept me pretty busy in that I actively started hunting out things to do instead of lounging about on my smartphone of an evening.

I’ve still kept up with the interdentals/toothpicks as well – I find it helpful especially in the car or when I’m walking somewhere to just have one in my mouth/hand to chew or fiddle with. If you fancy trying them, just click the image below – I recommend them for non-smokers too as I was told by my dentist that they’re much better than flossing.

These are the interdentals I use which last me about 10 days but a lot cheaper than a pack of fags and far healthier for my teeth and gums!

The Benefits

I find it really helpful to challenge myself to reach the next Benefit Milestone and to read up on how others have managed to kick the habit. One site that has really helped me is https://www.nhs.uk/smokefree/why-quit/what-happens-when-you-quit

Notwithstanding my little slip, the benefits I’ve seen by being clean these last 3 weeks include:

  • Pulse rate now at normal levels
  • No carbon monoxide in my body
  • Oxygen levels returned to normal
  • No nicotine in my body
  • Lungs have started to clear out all the smoking induced rubbish out of my body
  • Taste-buds improved as has sense of smell
  • Bronchial tubes begin relaxing so breathing becomes easier
  • Energy levels begin to rise
  • Improving circulation in the body

Most of us who have tried quitting previously will have heard of the notorious “3’s” – 3 days/3 weeks/3 months as being times when it can be a particularly challenging part of the quit smoking journey. For me, it was the 2-week stage so be alert to the fact that your body and your journey may well be different.

My next big benefit is between 3 and 9 months when breathing issues, wheezing and coughing will start to improve as the lungs function better by up to 10%! This is the one that I never get to usually – but this time feels different…

How So?

Last night, I almost slipped again. After another exchange of words with my husband, I found myself at the shop actually stood in the queue, lighter in hand before finding myself practically running to the fridge, buying milk and a packet of sugar-free chewing-gum instead!

The pride I felt in myself walking out of that shop and again on waking-up this morning inspired me to write this post to help others who may be struggling on their own quit smoking journey. Yes, you can just go and buy some fags and light up but the relief is infinitely more short-lived than the pride and sense of achievement that you feel at overcoming your craving. Surprisingly, what helped here is that I’d sat with other family members earlier that day who smoked and managed to abstain so I felt like I’d put myself through that for nothing if I did smoke that night.

What I discovered yesterday is that I can ride out the craving. By the time I got to the shop, unlike on other occasions when I’ve tried to quit, the craving had already passed.

When I got back, I had a cup of tea, went to bed and again popped on the old Paul McKenna hypnosis! I think that I will plan to listen to this once a week now for the next month or so, just to keep those messages fully reinforced.

At 3 weeks, I can hardly say I’m out of the woods with this quit smoking journey, however, by following the steps above and in my other two posts on the topic, I’m definitely on my way.

Wishing any others on their own QS journey the very best of luck – stay strong!! x

Quit Smoking: Day 5

Pleased to report that I’m still on the wagon on Day 5 of my cold turkey Quit Smoking journey!

Day 4 was probably the hardest so far just in terms of frequency of thinking about smoking but nothing too traumatic yet.

And that’s what has got me worried – I’ve had lots of cravings so far of course but nothing too bad. I feel like I’m waiting for an intense tsunami of a crave to hit because whilst quitting hasn’t been easy so far, neither has it been as hard as I thought it would be especially doing it cold turkey (CT).

Starting to make me wonder if NRT quit efforts in the past were actually made harder by prolonging the physical addiction to nicotine? With a CT quit, within 72 hours there is no nicotine left in the body whereas most NRT programmes suggest a 6 to 12 week course of treatment.

Physically, I’m over the worst if I stick it out as I plan to; it’s a mental game at this point, more an uncomfortable itch that cannot be scratched. This can be the tricky part of a quit though on the basis that the novelty of quitting is starting to wear off already.

To keep morale up both for myself and others on their own QS journey, the helpers and hindrances since my last update have been:

Helps:

  • Daily yoga at a higher than usual intensity;
  • Messages of support from friends, family and other bloggers – a huge help so a massive thank you to each of you that have kindly reached out 😊
  • Trying to find the funny side instead of reacting negatively to normal daily challenges;
  • More toothpicks!
  • Paul McKenna QS hypnosis played at bedtime each night. You can get your own copy of this by clicking the image below:
Click the image to get your own copy of this – so far it’s worked for me!

Hindrances:

  • Not sleeping well due to youngest daughter being unwell this week;
  • Being asked for a cig off a coworker I normally smoke with who didn’t know I’d quit;
  • Habit triggers, finishing a task, making a call, after a meal;
  • Random unexpected cravings – can catch me off guard!
  • Being where I’d usually smoke e.g. my back garden.

I love the humour in the following quote credited to Mark Twain:

“Giving up smoking is the easiest thing in the world. I know because I’ve done it thousands of times”.

Mark Twain

Me too – hopefully now for the last time!

I do hope that this post encourages others on their own QS journey, however long or short it’s been, to take a moment today to remind themselves how fabulous they are – a total inspiration to me, each and every one of you x 🌻

Quit Smoking: Day 1

I’ve had better days!

To be honest, I’ve probably had worse days too, but if I could sum up Day 1 of quitting smoking in one word it’d be: “emotional”.

It feels like a particularly malignant bout of PMS.

So far, I’m about 22 hours into a cold turkey quit. Here’s what’s helped and what hasn’t.

Helpful:

  • Starting the day off with a power yoga session
  • Watching clips on YouTube of others who have been through it
  • Talking to family about it
  • Toothpicks!
  • Positive self-talk
  • Work distractions

Not So Helpful:

  • Work stress!
  • Getting upset and feeling guilty for smoking for so long
  • Being near family that smoke
  • Being in places I would normally smoke

I’ve tried quitting for years, usually with nicotine replacement therapy (NRT). I’ve tried the tablets which in fairness did work until I stupidly went on holiday and lit a cig up.

So here I find myself back in this no man’s land; my purgatory which I fully intend to conquer this time around.

I know from past experience that days 2, 3 and 4 can see my emotional state turn from feeling sad to angry and back again pretty quickly so I’m going to really watch and plan for this by doing more of the things that worked today, as well as getting a good night’s sleep and drinking plenty of water.

Good luck to anyone else on their QS journey. One day at a time…