Quitting smoking is one of the best things you can do to improve your overall health. Most people find quitting very difficult because of the symptoms associated with nicotine withdrawal. Depression, mood swings and cigarette cravings are well-documented withdrawal symptoms. An itchy scalp and tingling in your arms or legs are also signs that your body is adjusting. Congratulate yourself on taking this huge step. You can make quitting less painful by adopting these suggestions to soothe the most common symptoms of nicotine withdrawal.
Wait out the urge to smoke a cigarette; it will last only three to five minutes. Drink plenty of fluids such as water and fruit juice. Stand up, stretch, go exercise or go take a walk.
Soothe your feelings of anxiety, sadness and anger. Strong feelings may arise for two to four weeks after quitting. Express these emotions fully and safely when possible and appropriate, and ask those around you for support and patience. Take deep breaths.
Be patient with your lack of mental focus. For up to four weeks, many people who quit smoking have trouble concentrating. Take frequent breaks from work, and don’t overdo your caffeine intake.
Adjust to your feelings of hunger. Try eating several small meals throughout the day and eat low-calorie snacks such as carrots or celery sticks, pretzels or sugarless gum. Drink lots of water, including a glass before meals. Increase your physical activity.
Get the extra sleep you need. For up to four weeks, you might feel overtired. Be sure to listen to your body. Take naps. Increasing your physical activity when you feel tired can also give you a boost of energy.
Soothe your insomnia. Restless sleep can last up to two weeks. Do not eat or drink anything containing caffeine after 6 p.m. Try drinking warm milk, which has a natural sleep agent, before bed. Take a bath before bed. Do not go to bed until you feel tired. Stay active during the day to tire out your body.
Treat your constipation, gas or upset stomach. Be sure to drink plenty of fluids. Upset stomach can last up to two weeks after quitting smoking. Eating high-fiber foods including fruit and whole-grain cereals can help.
Watch for lightheadedness. You might get dizzy for the first two days. Do not change positions quickly, and sit down if you do. If symptoms persist, see a doctor.
Try to control the tremors or tingling in your arms or legs. This shakiness could last up to two weeks. Try tensing and then relaxing muscles. If the feelings persist, talk to your doctor.
Soothe your dry mouth or sore throat. Suck on lozenges or hard candy. If you also have a bad taste in your mouth, use an oral antiseptic mouthwash.
Massage itchy skin. You might experience an itchy scalp, hands or feet after you quit smoking. Do not scratch too much, which can worsen the irritation.