Coping with stress

Some people use smoking to try to cope with stress. It's important to find healthy ways to handle stress and take care of yourself without smoking.

Ideas for coping with stress

Many people think that smoking helps them cope with stress, and they describe having a cigarette as like having a 5 minute escape from everything.

The reason the smoking feels good is because you're stepping away from the things that are causing you stress and breathing deeply. But you're also feeding the nicotine cravings and the smoke is causing you harm.

You can keep your 5 minute holidays but get them to work better for you. Try some of these things:

Get some fresh air and exercise

  • Walk quickly around the block – it can help to clear your mind and stop the demands of your day getting on top of you.
  • Do some stretching.
  • Have a healthy snack, like a piece of fruit.

Have some quiet, de-stress time

  • Make a hot drink and take it outside in the sun - sit somewhere new where you didn’t used to smoke.
  • Read a book for 5 minutes.
  • Stroke your cat or pat your dog.
  • Breathe deeply.
  • Meditate (there are heaps of classes on YouTube).
  • Play your favourite tunes for 5 minutes.
  • Make a paper aeroplane…and see how far you can fly it.
  • Make a TikTok dance video.
  • Swim or paddle (pool, beach, stream, river – anywhere that’s handy).

You can keep your 5 minute holidays but get them to work better for you.

Catch up with people

  • Phone a mate.
  • Talk to your kids.

Get stuff done

You could use your 5 minute breaks to your advantage and get on top of a few things on your to-do list. Or better still, why not try something new that you've always wanted to do?

  • Smash out a list of jobs like paying a bill or organising childcare.
  • Get your green fingers out – you could start a small vegetable garden with 2-3 plants, like spring onions.
  • Use your extra time to make some tasty, healthy kai.
  • Learn te reo Māori on an app if you have a mobile phone – you could quickly pick up some useful phrases.
  • Do some quick cleaning, or do your washing (fold it too if you’re feeling really keen).
  • Learn some basic kapa haka and waiata.
  • Do some online shopping – treat yourself or your whānau.

If you've got heaps going on, you deserve some support.

If you’re dealing with a lot of stress, a local Quit Coach may be able to put you in touch with other support services for things like budgeting, Work and Income, family violence or relationship issues, parenting, or grief.

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