Timing May Be Everything
Time to Quit
Nicotine is an addictive substance. Even if your mind knows you need to stop, your body might not be up to the challenge. As you make your plan to quit smoking, think about seasonal triggers or events that may make the road to becoming smoke-free more difficult for you.
Click through the slideshow to learn more about how to time your quitting smoking.
Assess Your Habits
Before you set your “quit date,” think about your smoking habits and your lifestyle in general in order to determine the best time to set yourself free of tobacco. For example, if you’re primarily a social smoker who joins in at parties, cutting back during the holiday season or during summer when cookouts abound may not be the right time for you.
Put Discipline to Work
On the other hand, if you’re a disciplined person who sets goals and makes them happen no matter what, you can harness your self-control to coincide with the calendar and quit on January 1st.
Just remember to be honest with yourself when assessing your habit. Only you know your individual smoking patterns and emotional triggers.
Examine Your Emotional Health
Smoking may be a habit you picked up in response to stress, or as a way to escape negative thoughts or emotions and even depression. According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), it can be tough to break the emotional ties to smoking while also trying to get over nicotine withdrawal symptoms. This is another factor to consider as you’re deciding when to quit smoking.
‘Tis the Season to Quit Smoking?
Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is a form of depression affecting most sufferers during dreary winter months. People with SAD struggle just to get through the darker, colder weather without the added stress of quitting smoking.
According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), quitting can cause some people to experience fatigue, irritability, and difficulty concentrating. Because of symptoms like these, it’s especially difficult to begin to quit during stressful times—regardless of the season.
Pick a Date
Your doctor can suggest a variety of aids such as patches, gums, and lozenges to help you quit. The best way for many people, says the Mayo Clinic, is to just choose a date and stop smoking at that time.
Use the tools you’ve been given by your medical care team, your support system of family and friends, and the knowledge of your own habits to determine what time of year is best for you.
Your Support System
Part of your quit-smoking action plan may include gathering support from the following sources:
- your doctor
- support group
Plan to quit at a time when your support system will be available to you.
Time It Right
Timing may be your key to successfully quit smoking and yet the same timeframe doesn’t apply to everyone. The season in which smokers are more successful with quitting may have more to do with their support system than any chemical changes in the body, suggests the Mayo Clinic.
Perhaps the bottom line in terms of when to stop smoking is when the support of your friends and family is greatest, and when temptation is at its lowest. There’s no reason to make quitting smoking harder than it has to be.
- Guide to quitting smoking: help with the mental part of addiction. (2013, January 17.) American Cancer Society. Retrieved May 13, 2013, from http://www.cancer.org/healthy/stayawayfromtobacco/guidetoquittingsmoking/guide-to-quitting-smoking-help-mental
- Seasonal affective disorder. (2013, March 13.) Medline Plus. National Institutes of Health. Retrieved May 13, 2013, from http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/seasonalaffectivedisorder.html
- Mayo Clinic Staff. Quit-smoking basics. (2011, March 16.) Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/quit-smoking/MY00433
- Mayo Clinic Staff. (2011, March 16.) Quit-smoking action plan. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved May 13, 2013, from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/quit-smoking/MY00433/DSECTION=quit%2Dsmoking%2Daction%2Dplan