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Get Smoke-Free for The Holidays - And Beyond

Quitting smoking is tough no matter what time of year it is, but it may be especially hard during the New Year’s party season. If you’ve associated smoking with drinking and/or being social, you may be  tempted to postpone quitting or even go back to puffing. Here are some tips to help you out, from the experts at the SeniorHealth division of the National Institutes of Health:

Avoid Bars and Alcohol

This might seem hard to do during the New Year’s festivities, but it’s better to skip a few social engagements than engage in a dangerous and possibly fatal habit! Alcohol and tobacco are often linked in people’s minds, and even one or two drinks could tempt you to go back. The SeniorHealth experts recommend finding other activities that make you feel good – and don’t tempt you to smoke. Spending time with family and friends at a non-alcoholic gathering is a great way to kick off 2015

Keep Moving

Find a way to stay physical even in cold weather – join a gym, go mall walking. According to the SeniorHealth experts, people who are more active look younger and stay fitter than those who aren’t exercising. Activity can also help you stay away from cigarettes by keeping you occupied, and by helping to reduce stress. Ask your doctor what kind of exercise is best for you.

Strategize for Traveling

Whether you’re traveling to see family or for business, you should plan ahead to avoid temptations to smoke during your trip. Ask for a nonsmoking room, the SeniorHealth experts say. If you’ve

Traveling for pleasure can be an enjoyable way to spend time. Traveling for work may be mixed with stress and rewards. Whether you travel for business or pleasure, prepare yourself for unexpected smoking temptations. Learn stress-reduction techniques – deep breathing, meditation – so you can cope with the frustrations and delays of travel. The SeniorHealth experts also suggest carrying an index card that lists your reasons for quitting, so you can read it in moments of temptation.

Remember, the SeniorHealth experts say, you should take it one day at a time and remember that it will get easier to be smoke free. They suggest the following affirmations to get you through the rough periods:

All I have to do is just not smoke today.

I can do anything for this one day.

Nothing will be too much for me.

I can even break the day down into each of its 24 hours if the struggle demands it.

I can survive 60 minutes at a time without a cigarette.

I will do whatever I need to, to live without a cigarette today.

They also suggest a technique called “the one-minute vacation”:

1. Take a deep, slow breath through your nose.

2. Picture yourself in your favorite restful spot.

3. Exhale slowly, holding that scene in your mind.

4. As you continue to think of that scene, focusing on feeling your neck and shoulder muscles relax.

5. Open your eyes, feel refreshed, and repeat as often as you like.

For more information, visit http://nihseniorhealth.gov/.

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