If only it were as easy to quit as it was to start. Sure, when you had your first few you might have disliked the taste, the lingering smell or the burning in your throat. After some time though, these things may have even become pleasant. Quitting smoking is a great step for your health, your appearance and your wallet. |
You will have to deal with the many side effects of smoking while you quit. Giving up any addiction, or regular habit, for that matter will require some adjustments. Of course you know about the cravings, and the moodiness or irritability that comes from giving it up. You can also look forward to some loss of focus for the first few days at least.
After some time, you will find that only your typical triggers will bring on massive cravings and a bit of irritability. The episodes may last between 5-10 minutes. As bad as it will feel, try to ride it out. The feeling will disappear as quickly as it came.
Once you’ve been away from cigarettes for a few weeks, you will get sick. This is the more physical side of the withdrawal. As your lungs clear out the tar and toxins that have accumulated, you’ll get something like a common cold. This could be accompanied by some fever. Depending on the time of year, you could easily mistake this for a bug going around your office. And much like one of these bugs, it will last a few days to a week. On the plus side, this interruption to your schedule should help you deal with your triggers.
To deal with your many triggers and rituals, you might need to change a number of your routines. You’d be surprised how many rituals around smoking you build up, so that it becomes integrated with your life. Keeping your old routines while you try to quit could trigger more cravings because your body will expect a cigarette at exactly these times. For example, if you regularly smoke with your morning coffee, that morning coffee will come with a very strong craving, followed by a bit of irritability. Switch to tea for a month or two while your body is detoxing. You’ll get your morning caffeine without the same flavour your brain associates with smoking.
Cold turkey is a hard way to go. Many products exist that can at least help you gradually decrease your nicotine dose so you don’t suffer from physical cravings while you work on getting rid of the habits that have sprung up while smoking. Patches and electronic cigarettes are great options to help you step down gradually. As a pleasant side effect, your body will still get rid of tar and toxins, and you won’t have to deal with lingering smells and stains from your regular cigarettes.
What does it feel like to quit smoking? Well, terrible for the first few months. Try to look at the positives, as much as you can. You’ll have more energy and find that you don’t get so tired from daily work. Tough it out, and in the long run, it will certainly be worth it.
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