Quitters’ Update 2nd April 2014

rigaHi again everyone and welcome to our last Quitters’ Blog! Fitting perhaps as this week marks the 10th anniversary of the Smoking Ban in Ireland. As it’s our last update, I suppose a summary of my quitting experience is in order. First things first though – some self-praise!

Pictured this week you’ll see my beautiful non-smoker friends in Riga. You may remember my first purchase with my smoking savings was a trip to the Latvian Capital and we are just back. This was my last big milestone I think. Smokers, you’ll know what it’s like preparing to get on a plane for 2 and ½ hours! I was really dreading walking by all those smokers before you enter the airport.

Thankfully, it all went off without a hitch (relapse). Mind you, I did forget my Nicorette Inhaler and had trouble getting one in Riga so I opted for a temporary e-cigarette. While it did the job, I much prefer the inhaler as it’s far less rough on your throat and indeed, you know what you’re getting with something you buy in the pharmacy. In any event, whether it was due to my extra-sensitivity to smokers or true to fact, it seemed to me that smoking was far more popular and ‘in-your-face’ in Riga. There is a smoking ban but there seemed to be more people than you’d see here outside shops, restaurants and pubs sneaking in a quick cigarette. This did present the temptation to smoke again, I’ll be honest. But my fabulous friends were there for encouragement so I remain smoke-free.

So how would I summarise this journey? I made the decision to quit in January, mainly for health reasons and for my friends & family. Without doubt, the publicity that came with writing this blog made it possible; I don’t think I would have been successful without it. But it was also in the preparation. See below; this is a check-list for giving up smoking and I highly recommend you do the same before you quit.

quit

You really have to have a plan for the tempting situations you know you’ll find yourself in – the pub, a crisis in work, bad news… And you also need a method of distraction for the evening time – mine was knitting and this genuinely helped me keep my mind and my hands occupied. And DEFINITELY, pick yourself a new exercise. Putting on weight is commons so ensure you tackle it to avoid demotivation.

The most important aspect of the whole quitting thing is SUPPORT. I was very lucky to have the full support of all my colleagues and social network. None of my smoker pals smoke in front of me or offer me a cigarette. I continuously get praise for my efforts from those around me at home and in work (and I AM a glutton for this!). And comments from our blog readers also keep you going. Quitting with my boyfriend was a huge benefit so we could support each other. It was also incredibly motivating to read the updates from my fellow Bloggers as they continued to battle the cravings. Thanks so much to David, Alison, Ciara and Lyndsey for volunteering to share their journeys with you all. I really hope we helped either keep you motivated or gave you some encouragement to consider quitting.

nmaoSo there you have it, I’m a non-smoker. And have been since the 13th of January. Never thought I’d see the day! Last picture is me with a map of Malta… Yes, you guessed it! I only went and booked another holiday. And no, they’re not paying me too much here but this trip is also being paid for with the money I’ve saved from smoking. Myself and my lovely boyfriend are off in two weeks for some well-deserved non-smoking fun after all this good work quitting.

Thanks to everyone who read and shared this blog and here’s hoping my fellow bloggers and I will be back in touch with you next year, still smoke-free and still full of the joys of health!

Best of luck to any of you trying to quit. Check out http://www.lloydspharmacy.ie/SmokingControl, www.quit.ie or speak to your pharmacist if you need support.

All the best,

Naomi…

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Quitters’ Update 19th March 2014

hatIt’s the 3rd week of Lent!  And welcome back to our Smoking Control Quitters’ Blog.  And guess what happened by accident?!  I thought it was more than enough for me to have quit smoking and so didn’t give up anything else for Lent.  And I’ve just realised I haven’t actually eaten any chocolate (I’m almost sure anyway) since Ash Wednesday.  So go me!  Well one my way to optimal health and well-being.

Today’s picture is me with a hat.  Sadly, it’s not my hat as I’m pretty fond of it now.

(Okay, where’s she going with this?!)

You may remember that I decided to take up knitting in order to keep my hands busy and my mind distracted in an effort to break some of my evening-time smoking habits.  Well, behold my first ever knitted thing that’s not a scarf!  It’s a present for my boyfriend though I may re-think that as I’m pretty attached…

Knitting really has been a great help.  You have to think about it while you’re doing it and you need both hands. Previous evening-time activities were easily done while smoking; watching TV, surfing the internet, chatting on the phone.  I’m addicted now and am taking orders from friends and family.

My point here is (apart from promoting my new craft business!) that you really do need to think of something else to do.  It sounds obvious but it’s so important.    Break the habits and change your routine so that the activities and times you associate with smoking become associated with something else.

I’m still in the warm a fuzzy self-righteous glow of being a new non-smoker so it may be hard to take advice from me.  So this week, I’ve asked one of my colleagues, a long-time non-smoker, to tell us a little about how she feels about things now…

Noeleen, LloydsPharmacy, The Mill S.C. Clondalkin

 

Quit Date: 3 years ago

Still Smoke-Free: YES!

20140106_141627Hi guys,

Anyone out there trying to give up the cigarettes, hang in there, believe me it will get better. I was there myself and it will be worth it.  The ‘freedom’, as I called it at the time, was like I was released from something.

The best advice I would give is to do something with the money that you would normally spend on cigarettes, that is if you could afford to smoke in the first place. I got myself a loan and I knew then that the money was spoken for. I got my first car and paid back the loan within a year, I was so proud of that little Micra.

Apart from my car and back to the more serious side, my health was my main reason for giving them up. I got bronchitis every year and I have never had it since I gave them up. All the other little things like tasting my food again, my house smelling good and having loads of energy were a bonus. So if you’re trying to kick the habit at the moment, keep going and set yourself a goal, maybe a nice holiday or a spa weekend when you have reached your 3 or 6 month goal.

 Noeleen’

 

Thank you Noeleen!

 

I love Noeleen’s tactic of getting that loan.  It’s not unusual for a smoker to spend €300 in a month on cigarettes.  That’s the repayment on the loan for a very nice car.  But health is obviously the more important aspect.  Giving up smoking is the single most significant improvement you can make to your health.  And as I hope you can see from our blog, it’s not impossible; it’s not always easy of course but not impossible…

We’ll be back next week with an update from one of our favourite bloggers and amazing pharmacy managers, Lyndsey, to see how she’s been getting on since we heard from her last.

Chat soon,

Naomi…