What to expect the first few weeks of quitting

By Smokefree Team

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There is no fool proof way of dealing with withdrawal symptoms but keeping as busy as you can and altering your daily routine will help.  For example, avoid the pub if you think you will be strongly tempted to smoke there.  Wash up and go for a walk after meals rather than sit in front of the TV.

Probably the most important thing to do is adopt the right mental attitude.  Accept that they are going to trouble you to some extent but that they will gradually go away if you don’t smoke at all. (see the article on NOPE) After about three weeks of not smoking you should be feeling more like your old self, although the urge to smoke will come back from time to time and you may continue to feel hungrier than you used to for some time longer.

You may find it helpful to view giving up smoking like a job of work that you have been putting off for a long time and have finally got round to.  Now that you are all set to tackle it, make succeeding a priority in your life and give everything else second place for a while.

Some of our clients decide to tidy a drawer when they get cravings or do one of the other jobs they have been putting off.

The second week can seem harder than the first!

This is because the novelty of doing something new is beginning to wear off.

Stick at it, and remember to live one day at a time, or even every hour.  Just aim to go to bed each night without smoking.

Cheer yourself up by buying something with the money saved from your first week without cigarettes.

Be wary of pubs and parties.  Too much alcohol will increase craving and reduce your ability to handle it sensibly.

By the end of the third week you may find that the worst of the withdrawal symptoms are over.  These may be replaced by some rather confusing emotions.  On the one hand you may feel glad to be rid of cigarettes but at the same time have very definite feelings of loss – like losing a friend – is the way people often put it.

This is a clue to the best way of managing the experience.  Have patience, if you have ever lost a real friend or have been bereaved, you will know that only time can help you come to terms with their absence.