A traumatic event is often the trigger for an ex-smoker to start smoking again – even those who haven’t smoked for many years can have difficulty with traumatic events, especially the death of a loved one or close friend. Your mind is so taken over by the stress and bereavement that it seems as though nothing else matters. However, smoking will only make matters worse.
Smoking at times of distress will interfere with the distress chemical that you brain is emitting. It will also add to the suppression of your immune system which will make you less resistant to viruses, infections, etc. In times of distress you do not need the physical and emotional burden that will be generated by having a cigarette.
You need to look after yourself – physically and emotionally at times of bereavement.
One of the key elements of healthy grieving is allowing your emotions to surface in order to work through them. In the long run, trying to push aside your feelings is counter-productive. In blocking the grieving process you block the natural return to interest and meaning in life that follows the grieving process.
You need to take care of yourself through self-expression. You can:
- Talk – about how you feel.
- Write – start or continue writing in a journal or diary. Some questions that you can write about include: How would you spend the rest of your life if you only had a short time to live? Would you say or do things differently? Be as honest as possible about how you feel.
- Create – you may want to create a collage or a scrapbook. In the process, your thoughts and feelings may become clearer as you provide a creative outlet for expression. This exercise also may bring up other feelings that you need to face.
You need to take good physical care of yourself. You can:
- Get plenty of sleep – regular sleep routine will be of benefit. If you are tired during the day, give yourself some time and relax. Resting your body will help your emotional recovery.
- Avoid chemicals – as well as avoiding smoking you need to stay away from substances like alcohol and caffeine. You might, for example, have a cup of herbal or green tea instead of coffee.
- Exercise regularly – if you are physically able, take a brisk walk in the morning or at lunchtime. Choose something that will motivate you to get out of bed. Whether you feel like it or not, get some sort of physical exercise every day.
- Eat well – even if it’s the furthest thing from your mind, pay attention to the quality of what you eat. Take the time to eat nutritious meals. Avoid processed, junk or ‘fast’ food – even though you may not feel like cooking.
You need to take care of yourself emotionally. You can:
- Have fun – even though you may feel guilty about being pampered at this time, you deserve to treat yourself well. Is there a book that you have wanted to read or a movie you haven’t had time to see? This is the time to do it. Whether it’s listening to uplifting music or getting a massage, do what makes you happy.
- Plan ahead – anniversaries and holidays bring their own particular challenges. You may feel especially emotional a year after your loved one dies, on their birthday or another significant marker. This is a completely normal reaction.
- Get the support you need – There are people who want to help you get through this time-friends and family, lay and professional people. Often people want to help, but don’t know what to do.
Times of traumatic events such as the loss of a loved one present their own problems. You need to allow the grieving process to occur so that you can natural return to interest and meaning in life that follows the grieving process. You need to feel the feeling and express your feeling. You also need to take care of yourself physically and emotionally – but now is not the time to use chemicals, including nicotine.
Avoid Smoking and Stay smoke free.