So you’ve quit smoking, and now those nicotine withdrawal symptoms are turning their ugly heads. For some people, nicotine replacement therapy is a suitable option. This would include e-cigarettes, dermal patches, nicotine gums, or any other form of tobocco-less nicotine supplement. The benefit of transitioning to these products is that you can taper down the nicotine withdrawal symptoms over time. Nicotine replacement therapy may be right for you, but it is not always the best option for everyone. For those of you that would prefer to quit smoking naturally, without introducing any new addictive substances, we’ve prepared a list of some natural remedies for nicotine withdrawal symptoms.
- Increased appetite
- Inability to concentrate
- Disturbed sleeping patterns
- Wet, mucosal cough
- Weight gain
- Dry mouth
Quitting all tobacco cold-turkey tends to produce these nicotine withdrawal symptoms pretty quickly, which then last for weeks or months. If you’re going to quit successfully this time around, you better start prepared. These tips will help you beat those cravings, and stop you from picking up another smoke. Naturally.
1. Eat a small portion of fruit or vegetables whenever cravings hit. Take it up a notch by stepping outside for some fresh air while you snack. Personally, this is the step that made quitting possible for me. Whenever my emotions or anxieties started rising and the cravings were coming on strong, I would step away like I would for a smoke, and have a mandarin orange instead. By using this technique, I got my 5 minute vacation that cigarettes used to provide, while nourishing my body instead of poisoning it. Please give this tip a try! You can use carrots, grapes, apples, nuts, whatever healthy little snack you love. By the time you’ve had your snack, and gone back to whatever it was you were doing before, the craving will have passed.
2. Avoid drinking alcohol. When you’re out having a drink or two, especially with friends, it’s very easy to just pick up a smoke. Cravings go up the more you drink. Just don’t even put yourself in that situation. Once the withdrawal symptoms subside in a month or two, drinking won’t be so triggering. For now, stay away from the bottle.
3. Develop a bed-time ritual. Bath bombs, candles, soft music, essential oils. These lovely things can bring your bedtime habits to a higher level of relaxation. Get creative, think about what works specificically for you when planning your ritual.
A well defined bed-time ritual will help you improve your sleep hygiene. This is a term psychologists use to describe how well you are conditioning your body to sleep restfully through the night. Good sleep hygiene means winding down, and using “sleepy triggers” to tell your unconscious brain to start producing melatonin and get ready for bed. My bed-time ritual consists of a quick tidy-up in my bedroom after showering, followed by a rub of lavender oil on my hands and through my hair, then some journaling in bed before lights out. You will see results after a week or two of repeating your nightly ritual; the more consistent you are, the better your sleeps will be.
4. Get moving. Exercising a little bit extra during the first month or two after quitting tobacco will help with multiple withdrawal symptoms. Depression, cravings, irritability, restlessness, and your sleep quality will all improve with some additional exercise.
Some people leave for a short walk around the neighborhood whenever a craving hits. This technique works to both up your daily exercise and change those smoking behavior patterns too. Your habit of leaving for a smoke will gradually fade into the new habit of taking a little walk.
Upping the exercise during this phase will help you to avoid weight gain related to smoking cessation. Doctors agree that this type of weight gain is due to metabolic changes, reduction in physical activity, and increases in unhealthy snacking. Expect these changes, and plan ahead for them to avoid a surprise 10 new pounds on the scale.
5. Start carrying a reusable water bottle. Drinking more water is healthy and will distract your hands and mouth when you want a cigarette. You might find that drinking more water helps alleviate that constipation too. A lot of people like to add fruits or cucumber slices to their water bottles to add a little interesting flavor. Buy some fruit, get your reusable water bottle out, and start drinking more water!
6. Pick up a new activity. When you’ve just decided to put down cigarettes for good, smoking suddenly takes up all of your waking thoughts. 24/7 you find yourself thinking about how bad you want a smoke but also how you’re not allowed to. Fixation is not good! This is why I recommend picking up a new hobby or interest once you decide to quit smoking. Making the effort to focus on this new activity will keep you from obsessing over cigarettes. At the end of this phase, you might end up with a brag-worthy new skill, or a beautiful hand-made work to display. What have you always wanted to do, but never got around to starting? Now might just be the perfect time to start.
Quitting smoking is hard, I tried it about 50 thousand times before I managed to stop for good. Nicotine withdrawal symptoms make the process so much harder, I know. If you’re still struggling after trying these tips, please reach out to us at intervention.com. We have expertise in smoking cessation that will help you reach your goals.