This October, a small group of staff with the help of OneSmallStep, signed up to Stoptober, the initiative that aims to help people give up smoking for the month of October and beyond. We shared with you how they were finding their quit journeys two weeks ago and now that the month is over, Tilly, Senior community mental health nurse, shares her final experience with us. She says:
Overall, how have you found the last 28 days?
Well … I have had my ups and downs. Days 3 and 4 were really hard. I was trying to find any excuse to have a cigarette but I managed to get through it. I had one of the worst weeks at work, my patience was at zero and I honestly have to say it was a struggle to stay in a good mood. On a couple of occasions I found myself on the garage forecourt about to buy myself a packet of tobacco, but I managed to resist, purely because I didn’t want to let my OneSmallStep stop group down.
By week two I felt physically and mentally exhausted. I was experiencing headaches and tummy ache. I wasn’t sleeping, I was very emotional and felt the world was against me! My work colleagues saw a big difference in me and bless them, I think they were all walking on egg shells around me! However, by week three I was back to my normal happy self and we were all able to laugh about it.
My energy levels have increased, I am doing more exercise and I am sleeping again. I still have the odd craving, but it passes as soon as I use the Nicotine inhalator I was prescribed. I have reduced my alcohol intake without even thinking about it. My vice was to come home and have a glass of wine and a cigarette in order to switch off, so I had to change that routine. Now I come home, walk or run with the dog or go to the gym.
My sense of smell and taste have returned and have discovered I really like chocolate and cake! I haven’t put on any weight though, because I have increased my exercise and cut out alcohol.
How do you feel?
I feel really proud of myself!
I can breathe again, I am not using my asthma inhalers as much as I was before, my cough has gone and I feel more energetic. Oh and I don’t smell of cigarettes!
What did you find hard? How did you overcome any hurdles?
Everything was hard to begin with, it was emotionally and mentally draining. I really felt low at one point. I feel the weekly support meetings helped to keep me going, I didn’t want to fail and then have to tell them all. I overcame the cravings, by reminding myself of what I was doing it for. I have had to change my routine in the mornings and I have found a new love for crosswords!
What was helpful about the process of speaking to a OneSmallStep Stop Smoking Advisor?
Having the Stop Smoking Adviser there to support me when I am struggling is helpful. The weekly contact has given me something to work towards and has made the month go by really quickly.
Have you started to think about quitting long term?
I don’t want to smoke again, but I am still trying to take each day as it comes, so I don’t put too much pressure on myself. I do not plan on ever smoking again though.
Is there any additional support you would have found helpful?
What would you say to anyone thinking about quitting?
Giving up is not easy, you will have good days and bad days but the benefits of not smoking far outweigh the feeling you get when you take that first drag. Try not to think about it as a long term goal, just take each day as it comes and don’t put too much pressure on yourself.
OneSmallStep is the local Stop Smoking Service for Devon offering free one-to-one support with Specialist Stop Smoking advisors over the phone. They helped our staff group in their quit attempts and they can help you. They can be contacted by calling 01392 908139 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Their advisors will provide up to 12 weeks of support and also provide Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT), such as gum and patches, to help with withdrawal symptoms. Weekly support sessions will help keep you on track and your advisor will talk you through various coping mechanisms, tips and tricks to make things easier.
For those seeking help in the Torbay and Plymouth areas, please contact the services below: