Giving up anything can be hard—that evening snack, your weekly manicure, or your dream of becoming a professional basketball star—but giving up smoking is more than just an emotional adjustment. Many experience physical withdrawal symptoms, some of which peak during the first few weeks of the quit.
Keep in mind that whatever discomfort you may experience in those first few weeks after quitting may fade with time. In the meantime, Quitter’s Circle is here to offer you support. Below are six common withdrawal symptoms of quitting smoking, and tips on how to deal with them. Talk to your healthcare provider for advice and support, and know that you are not alone on this journey.
Can’t catch a wink? Avoid caffeine and other stimulants. Alcohol can also disrupt the sleep cycle, so skip the brewski and opt for water, juice or decaffeinated tea. Exercise may help you get some rest as well.
Difficulty concentrating has been reported by some smokers experiencing withdrawal. You may feel like your head is in the clouds. Just keep in mind, withdrawal symptoms usually peak in the first few weeks but then pass with time.
Not feeling like your best self? Keep active, limit your caffeine intake and go easy on yourself. Make time for your favorite sports, a hot bath, or a relaxing yoga class. This is where telling your family and friends that you’re quitting smoking comes in handy. If they know you might not be your best self, they may be more patient and let you vent a little.
It’s possible to get the blues due to nicotine withdrawal. If you’re feeling down, keep yourself active. Get out of the house—see friends, maybe join an intramural sports league or sign up for a class. Remember that some people go through this, and keep the goal of your new smokefree life prominent in your thoughts. If you develop symptoms of depression or have symptoms that do not go away, contact a healthcare provider for support.
After a smoker quits, a few extra pounds may show up on the scale. Food may also taste better as your tastebuds recover, so you may be tempted to eat a bit more. On average, the extra weight is 6 to 10 pounds. If you’re worried about weight gain, work with your healthcare provider to develop a diet and exercise routine.
Urges to smoke
Did you know that the urge to smoke will pass in three to five minutes, whether you smoke or not? Remind yourself that your urge will pass and you just need to get through the next few minutes. Try chewing on vegetables, tough fruits (like dried apples), gum or hard candies. Talk to a healthcare professional about options that can help you manage urges to smoke.