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Although it’s a happy occasion for lots of us, it’s no secret that getting organised for Christmas can be stressful! With presents to buy and events to attend, stress levels can rise and some of us turn to smoking. But, there are other ways to keep yourself calm and relaxed without harming your body.

Smoking and stress

non-smokers have lower stress levels than those who smoke. This is down the following factors:

  1. When you inhale from a cigarette, your heart actually works hard to push the nicotine up to your brain to satisfy your craving. This adds extra stress onto your heart as it has to pump faster.

 

  1. Although you get a short “buzz” from smoking which makes you feel good, once this wears off you feel worse than you did before. This makes you crave another one straight away which can turn into a vicious cycle

 

  1. Smoking leads to your arteries narrowing much more quickly. This causes high blood pressure which can make you feel more stressed in general. Narrowing arteries also results in an increased risk of heart and lung disease over time.

 

  1. Smoking adds carbon monoxide to the bloodstream which restricts the amount of oxygen that can circulate. This additional strain on the respiratory system leads to higher stress levels in the body.

 

Tips to destress around Christmas time

There are plenty of other alternatives to help you de-stress rather than reaching for a cigarette.

 

Exercise

Exercise can be a good stress buster as it pumps endorphins around the body which can improve your mood and make you feel happier. It’s one way to think about the activity that you’re taking part in rather than the stresses from the outside world. It’s also a great distraction from cigarettes – it’d be difficult to run on the treadmill with a cigarette in hand!

 

Money management

One of the main stress factors for many around Christmas is money. Buying gifts and attending events can lead to unexpected costs that you might not have allocated for. Quitting smoking is one way to reduce your spending at Christmas time (you can use our stop smoking calculator to find out exactly how much you could save).

Write down all of your expected expenditure which will help you budget for upcoming costs. This plan will help lower your stress levels while putting good money management skills into place. 

 

Speak to someone

Although it may seem as though everyone else has got it together during Christmas time, it’s likely that others are struggling too. Opening up to your friends and family about how you’re feeling might open up a conversation about what they do to relieve their stresses. Talking to someone can also help rationalise your thoughts and make you feel calmer about your concerns.

If it’s your smoking habit that is stressing you out, you can chat to one of our specialist advisors over the telephone or organise a face-to-face meeting. They will work with you to get a quitting programme in place and help you take the first step towards being smoke-free. 

 

Spend time for self-care

Taking time out for yourself, even if it is just five minutes each day, can make you feel less stressed. Whether it’s organising a drawer or sitting down for a cup of tea, taking time out of your day just for you can really pay off. It can put your stresses in perspective while relaxing your breathing and heart rate.

Don’t let Christmas stress get in the way of your quit progress! Speak to one of our telephone advisors or organise a face-to-face appointment if you’re struggling with your stop smoking journey.

 

How much money could you save by stopping smoking?

Answer the two questions below and then click “Calculate” to see how much money you could save!

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Your savings

Please note that the figures above are simply an indication of how much you could save based on the cost of a packet of cigarettes and your daily intake.