Mindfully Quitting Nicotine

Hey guys! If you guys remember, over a year ago I went from smoking cigarettes to vaping. While yes there is a lot of debate over the health problems caused by both methods, we are talking about quitting today, not which is worse.

Photo by Flora Westbrook on Pexels.com

Why did I quit?

You might be thinking, “For your health of course!” and you would be wrong. Not that I don’t care about my health, but it is lower on the priority scale than money. With the pandemic funds have gotten tighter and I can’t justify such an expensive habit anymore. The average cost of me vaping per month was around $200, which isn’t something to sneeze at. Thats more than my phone and internet bill added together.

Advertisements

Was it hard?

Yes. I don’t think anyone wants to mislead quitters into believing quitting will be a stroll in the park. It sucked really bad for the first four or five days, though the third is just as bad as everyone has told you it is. I wept, I screamed, I apologized, I hid, I sat on the floor and I drank a bottle on wine on the third day. Thankfully my fiancé was very understanding of the chemical insanity that was happening in my brain, which made it a lot easier. There is a headache that seems to be ever present, your limbs feel weird, your heart might even seem different. I found I was sweating like crazy from the increased circulation in my body. I did suffer insomnia during the first 4 days, which did not help my mood.

Photo by Manav Sharma on Pexels.com

Now, a week later, I feel more stable but there is still definitely something left over in my brain that is making me feel a bit off. I am still having some troubles with sleep, but from what I can figure that’s quite normal for nicotine quitters.

How did you quit?

I used our modern way of quitting. I bought a vape and reduced the amount of nicotine from 60mg down to 0 mg over a period time. This means that right now I have my vape with me, but there is no nicotine in it. This has made it easier for me to quit nicotine, as I am only breaking the chemical addiction while leaving the habitual side alone for the moment. This is a slower way to quit, but it’s the only one I’ve managed to make work.

I tried to quit smoking cold turkey and failed many times, then earlier this year I tried to quit vaping overnight and failed once again. For me, this has been the only method where I have made it to day 4 without nicotine. As of right now I am on day 8, so things are going well.

Advertisements

Why is this called Mindfully Quitting Nicotine?

That is a great question. The answer lies in how I decided to approach quitting this time. I accepted that I was going to be a little unstable and set up my personal life to accommodate that for a little bit. I informed most people of my decision and requested they leave me alone unless there was an emergency so that I wouldn’t snap at them during a bad moment or have them inadvertently stressing me out.

That worked pretty well and I don’t believe anyone took offence to being cutout for a week to help me quit a habit that could very likely cause cancer in my lungs.

At home I decided it was better to have the support of my man on the worst days even though they would be difficult for us as a couple to make it through. This was a good decision as my fiancé had been there when I failed and knew better this time how to console and distract me. He also knew when to walk away and let me stew in anger over how much my head hurt.

Where is the mindful part? I’m getting there!

I decided that after the first 5 days I was going to be stronger than my angry brain. I wasn’t going to let other people or the calls of addiction bring me down. I decided that daily walks, comedy routines and reading would be part of my daily routine in order to help me stay positive and motivated. I also decided to practice more self control over my emotions, which to be very honest with you, is not something I have worked on since I was a teen. That has been difficult, but ultimately it needed to be done whether I quit nicotine or not. Being stale, not improving, not working on bettering myself, it’s just not good for me. Not to mention how annoying it is to be an emotional individual in our current world. I get so rilled up by all that is happening that I can’t focus on issues that are right in-front of me that demand my attention.

Photo by Valeria Ushakova on Pexels.com

I don’t think this is a great way for everyone to quit, but for me, dog pilling mental health, physical health and addiction all on top of each other to be dealt with simultaneously has been working. I hope I have the strength to maintain it until the month is up and my brain stops acting like a chemically highjacked fool.

Advertisements

I tried to keep this fairly light hearted, but in all seriousness, quitting any addiction is really hard and if it is something you are suffering though right now, I hope you know how much stronger you are than your addiction. You can do it and I sincerely hope you achieve your quitting goals.

If you want to leave advice or commentary on quitting nicotine in the comments I would be very happy to read them!

Going Caffeine Free

Hello!

Like most western people I am guilty of having a dependance on caffeine. A couple months ago I decided to cut it out entirely in order to help me reach my weight loss goal. I am a wimp with black coffee and I always add honey or sugar to my tea. So in order to cut down calories, I cut out caffeine.

Was it easy?

Not at all. My head ached with a dull and persistent heartache for days. I craved iced coffee more than I ever had before in my life. I was outwardly very moody and I felt mean during the first three days. I felt finicky with my moods and couldn’t focus on anything for the first while. Considering how bad the withdrawal was perhaps it was a good thing I decided to remove it from my diet. It’s been months and I’m still getting used to the fatigue I feel in the morning. The fatigue isn’t new, but without coffee and tea to dull it, it’s much more difficult to ignore and work past when I’m already grumpy first thing in the morning to begin with.

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on Pexels.com

I still find it difficult to avoid drinking coffee as my fiancé drinks it every morning and for years he’s been bringing me coffees to cheer me up on bad days. He knows I am avoiding it so he doesn’t bring me treats which is good for my diet, but I do miss the little things like a coffee or a Thirsty Buddha that showed he was thinking about me. Getting an apple just doesn’t feel the same.

In a way it’s good I did this during a non-social time, as we aren’t going out for dinners with friends or having get togethers at home, as the temptation would be much stronger if we were. I do wonder if my resolution will hold when the world re-opens.

Advertisements

How have I been dealing with it?

A lot of water. Hydration helps reduce fatigue, not to mention just about everything else in your body. Now I do not love drinking water all day so I use Mio to flavour my water when I can’t stand the idea of drinking it. I love the lemonade and black cherry flavours. I’ve tried flavouring water with fruit but since I always use my Contigo water bottle (as seen below) having the fruit can gum it up. I have also taken to drinking a glass of Tonic Water before bed even though I cannot stand the taste of it as it can reduce leg cramps. I often wake up very dehydrated after a long night of sleep because I can’t sleep without a blanket over me, so I sweat out all night. Due to the dehydration my legs often feel cramped in the morning. I have found the glass of tonic to help reduce the discomfort until I can rehydrate.

Eva Blakeman – CONTIGO Water Bottle

Better nutrition has also done a lot to help me keep me energized. By changing my diet and cutting out junk foods I have had more energy. I’ve switched to a lower calorie diet with a lot of chicken for protein and rice for carbs. I’ve found that by reducing my sugar and fat intakes I don’t have sugar crashes, which has made it a lot easier to stay productive throughout the day and avoid reaching for a tea to perk myself back up.

Going for a daily walk has also done a lot to keep me going. It’s no surprise to anyone that daily exercise helps improve mood, heart health and reduce the risk of a lot of diseases, but I’ve also found that the walk helps me refocus and gives me an energy boost for a couple hours. I find the actual walk to be helpful to give my mind time to wander. I think in giving my mind time to relax for a half hour or so helps me refocus with more motivation.

Photo by Skitterphoto on Pexels.com

Baking has also helped me a lot. While I am choosing not to eat bread, my fiancé loves fresh buns and I really enjoy making babka and buttered buns. The exercise of kneading bread and scrubbing dishes also increases my daily activity which is good for me. I think taking the time to do something I really love also helps keep me sane during this time.

Advertisements

I have also been following the mental health recommendation of daily bathing. I usually shower every two days, but I’ve switched to daily baths. I find taking the time to soak in the warm water while I do my skin care routine helps relax my muscles and unwind. I sleep better after a nice long bath and I feel healthier for it.

On that note, sleeping more! I used to sleep around six hours a night but now that I am not relying on caffeine I am sleeping between seven to eight hours a night. My theory is that with the increased physical activity and lack of caffeine combined with sticking to a rigid wake up time, my body is settling into a better sleep routine.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Would I Recommend It?

Yes I would. While it’s an uncomfortable transition, I believe it is worth the discomfort. While caffeine has been proven to increase the basal metabolic rate of adults and can increase muscular strength it does have some less than lovely side effects. It can worsen the symptoms of asthma, negatively affect gastrointestinal processes and in the case of postmenopausal women, it can rapidly increase bone loss. Not to mention the increase in dehydration by drinking diuretics.

Advertisements

I think kicking caffeine has improved my quality of life, but I don’t know if I will remain caffeine free forever. There is a time and place for everything, and should I really need to stay awake, I know it’s there. I don’t think returning to a dependance on caffeine would be the healthy choice for me so I hope to continue with this lifestyle.

I won’t claim to know more than medical professionals and caffeine has been proven to help with certain medications, so if your doctor recommends you use caffeine, please follow your doctors counsel.