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With the warmer weather comes the motivation to get outside, get ready for bathing suit season, and make some healthy changes. Though many may be focused on weight loss or muscle tone, the healthiest choice you can make for yourself if you smoke is to quit. The good news is that the warmer weather may actually make the process easier than it might otherwise be.
Here are just a few ways you can make the spring weather work for you and your smoking cessation program and boost your recovery from drug and alcohol addiction at the same time.
1. Getting outside can help you distract yourself from cravings. If your habit is to smoke a cigarette right after dinner, while reading or watching TV, or in a stressful situation, you can help yourself to break that habit more comfortably by changing your scenery. Choose instead to go for a walk right after dinner, take your book to the park, watch TV at a nonsmoking friend’s house, or go for a run if you are dealing with stress. When it is warm outside, it is easy to just jump in the car and go – no bundling up or waiting to warm up the car necessary – or walk outside to give yourself a breath of fresh air and a new, energizing view.
2. Regular exercise will help you avoid the weight gain that is common with quitting smoking. If you can turn your outside time into workout time, then it will be easier for you to limit the unneeded weight you might otherwise gain as you replace cigarettes with unhealthy snacks or just too much food. Get up early and enjoy a sunrise jog, go for a swim at the local community center, or borrow a bike or get one for cheap at the thrift store and make it your new go-to method of getting around town to different meetings. Make it a regular thing, tone up, get stronger, and boost your mood – and your ability to stay sober – at the same time.
3. Spring cleaning can help you change up your surroundings. It is a good feeling to open the windows and let in some fresh air after a long winter of being cooped up inside with stale air. It’s also a good time to pull everything out of your room and clean behind and under things, wash clothes, and get rid of anything you’re not using. Even if you have only been in your current space for a short time, you may be surprised at how quickly things can accumulate and at how good it can feel to clear out your space in recovery, giving yourself some mental space at the same time.
4. Connecting with an adult athletic team can help you link up with other healthy people. Join a softball league or soccer team. Start hiking with a group of local enthusiasts or learn how to kayak or paddle board or surf. Not into sports? Spend some time fishing, do some meditation outside, or take an outdoor tai chi class. In so doing, you will connect with people who are also living healthfully and interested in enjoying life – and not smoking – at the same time.
5. Outdoor recreation can help you to relax and ease stress naturally. Many people feel that smoking helps to ease stress even though it actually serves to rev up your heart rate and causes a number of other stress-inducing health problems. When you are trying to quit, especially when you are trying to lower stress so it is easier to stay sober, getting outside and finding healthy ways to decrease overall stress or to relieve stress during a tough moment are great ways to improve your ability to stay sober and quit smoking.
We have known for more than 20 years that quitting smoking does not threaten sobriety and yet the myth persists. The fact is that breaking free from nicotine addiction and learning healthier coping mechanisms will not only help you to feel better physically and mentally but also help you to stay sober.
Are you ready to quit smoking?