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7 Tips for Stress-Free, Cigarette-Free Family Gatherings
By the Quitter's Circle Staff
December 03, 2015

7 Tips for Stress-Free, Cigarette-Free Family Gatherings

Feeding family
Feeding family

We all know that the holidays are a special time to visit with family. But we also know that getting the gang back together can be…well…stressful! When little Timmy is having another tantrum, mom and dad's flight is canceled, and Aunt Glenda brought along that yapping dog again, you may be very tempted to step outside and have a smoke.

So, it’s important to prepare for family gatherings with a solid strategy to maintain your quit. These tips will help you stay smokefree through even the most hectic holiday moments.

  1. Don't Do It AloneIf your family doesn’t already know, clue them in on your intentions to resist temptation this holiday season and ask for their support. If they are smokers, ask them to encourage your efforts by keeping the party smokefree. Who knows? You may even inspire them to quit themselves.
  2. Recognize Your UrgesCommon triggers like socializing and meals may cause a desire to light up. Take comfort in the fact that the urge will pass in about 3 to 5 minutes, whether you decided to have a cigarette or not.
  3. Have a PlanGo into every event knowing the action(s) you will take when the urge to smoke strikes. This could mean taking a brisk walk around the block, or stepping out to call a friend who you’ve asked to stay near his or her phone for those moments you need the extra support.
  4. Find New Stress RelieversMake sure you have methods up your sleeve to keep nerves at bay. Find new stress relievers like breathing exercises, meditating or even chewing on a toothpick.
  5. Bypass The BoozeIf you know alcohol is one of your triggers, avoid it. Instead, try seltzer water with a squeeze of lemon or lime, or get creative with other festive non-alcoholic refreshments like peppermint hot cocoa or cranberry sparkler.
  6. …But Don’t Skip DessertIt’s important to be easy on yourself during this challenging time. If indulging in an extra slice of pie after dinner keeps you from having a cigarette, it’s worth it. You can make up for the calories with some extra physical activity the next day.
  7. Recite Your ReasonsThere are many different reasons for quitting. Whatever your strongest incentives, carry notes reminding yourself of what they are. Duck into the bathroom and read them out loud in the mirror when you have the urge to smoke.

Remember, your quit doesn’t only benefit you—it keeps those around you from being exposed to secondhand smoke. And that’s definitely something for the whole family to celebrate!

What are your strategies for staying smokefree during family gatherings? Share your tips with us on Facebook  or Twitter!


See additional quit smoking resources from our partner American Lung Association.