8 tips to help you quit smoking for good
11th March 2020
Do you want to quit smoking? If so you are part of the 60% of smokers who want to stub out! There are obviously a multitude of health benefits that come with quitting, but if you are thinking about starting a family, it’s paramount. Smoking is not only incredibly dangerous for a growing baby, but it can also have devastating effects on your fertility. The good news is, deciding to quit smoking can help boost your chances of conceiving in a short time period. Both men and women can benefit, as smoking is shown to reduce sperm count and egg quality. Today is National No Smoking Day – an opportunity to take the plunge and quit for good! Here are eight our top tips for kicking the habit and getting a one-way ticket to a healthier lifestyle.
Look into nicotine replacement therapy
Nicotine is one of the most addictive substances out there. When you first decide to quit smoking you may need some help to manage your withdrawal symptoms. Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) can be a huge support in the early days. NRT only contain nicotine and none of the damaging chemicals found in cigarettes, so it is a much better option than continuing to smoke. NRT is available in many different forms, including patches, gums and sprays. Most forms of NRT are actually safe to take whilst pregnant. However, we would always advise you consult your GP to ensure you’re using the safest method. It’s important to note that vapes and e-cigarettes aren’t actually classed as NRT and are not proven to be safe during pregnancy.
Whilst there is definitely a chemical addiction associated with smoking, if you take a step back you’ll notice that a lot of your addiction is habitual, triggered by certain situations. It’s a good idea to identify these triggers ahead of trying to quit smoking. It means you can establish an action plan of how to deal with them ahead of time. If you know that boozy nights out are likely to make you fall off the wagon, try and cut down on your alcohol consumption. This will be helpful for your fertility too! If stress is your Achilles heel, decide how you’re going to deal with high-pressure situations in place of smoking. It’s said that a cigarette craving lasts 5 minutes, so doing a brief meditation or a short walk around the block, might be enough to calm you down without reaching for the cigarettes.
Write a journal
Journaling is a great way of making your thoughts and feelings more tangible – and can be really helpful when trying to quit smoking. Write down all the benefits you’re going to experience once you quit – everything from improved health to improved bank balance. You could also write down the negatives `you’ll be freeing yourself from – the smell on your clothes, the standing outside in the cold. It might be worth writing down the downsides of quitting – although we promise there won’t be many! Seeing these pros and cons in black and white can help cement them in your mind. Your journal will also become a document you can refer back to in a moment of weakness.
Tell family and friends you want to quit
Accountability is a hugely important element of changing any habit. Once you tell other people, the intention becomes real. Letting friends and family in on your plan to quit smoking will also ensure you have a support network on hand. They will help you navigate the emotional challenges of quitting – and give you a pass if you experience mood swings! If you and your partner are both trying to quit as part of your preconception plan, doing it together can really help. Having your very own accountability buddy, who shares the same end goal as you, will improve your chances of quitting. There’s no bigger motivation to stay on track then the potential of happy, healthy addition to your family.
Start a piggy bank
The average smoker spends over £1000 a year on cigarettes. With that money, you could book a holiday, enjoy monthly massages or treat yourself to a designer handbag. You could even put it towards something to help you on your fertility journey – from supplements to IVF treatment. It may be a few years since you had a physical piggy bank in your house, but being able to actually see the money you’re saving can be extremely powerful. Work out how much you would be spending on cigarettes each day and at the end of each week, put that amount in a jar. You can then use that money to reward yourself whenever you reach a milestone!
Use a quit smoking app
The phrase ‘There’s an app for that’ definitely applies to quitting smoking. There are numerous platforms that can support you on your quitting journey, and many of them can be right in the palm of your hand. The NHS has its own quit smoking app – SmokeFree which offers daily motivation and the opportunity to track your progress. You can also track how much money you’re saving. People who complete the initial 4-week course are 5 times more likely to quit for good. If you’ve got a competitive side, Kwit is a great app for you. You can unlock achievements, depending on the last time you’ve smoked, and move up rankings to become the ultimate Kwitter!
Doing exercise is guaranteed to help you bust stress and boost endorphins If stress is one of your biggest triggers, exercise can be a great distraction and alternative form of relaxation. Studies have also shown that exercise can help reduce cigarette cravings and withdrawal symptoms for up to 50 minutes after working out. Physical activity is also a great way to counteract the potential side effects of nicotine withdrawal. Many people are concerned that they will gain weight when they quit smoking. This is partly because smoking suppresses your appetite – but guess what, so does exercise! Some people also find they gain weight because they replace smoking with snacking. Swapping chocolate and crisps for healthy snacks like nuts gain help you limit unwanted weight gain – and nuts are also an important part of a fertility diet plan!
Clean your house
Once you have smoked your last cigarette – take a day to clean your entire house. Give everything from your curtains to your bed linens a thorough wash and throw away any items that relate to smoking. Not only will you be able to enjoy the fresh smells of your smoke-free life, but psychologically it will symbolise the beginning of a fresh start. It will also help you stay on track. Quitting smoking is much easier if your environment no longer supports the habit. This ritual will also help cement the new chapter in your mind. Take a look around, take a deep, healthy breath in and soak up the pride – you did it!
These tips are great starting points to help you quit smoking. As always you should always consult your GP if you need extra support or are confused about the best course of action.
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