Tips and tricks for Stoptober 2022
Stoptober is here. This initiative encourages people to commit to stopping smoking for 28 days, supported by an app and various tips and tricks. After achieving the 28-day threshold, participants are five times more likely to quit smoking entirely. One of the keys to success: make sure you de-stress. And, perhaps counterintuitively: clean your house.
Stoptober is supported by the Dutch Stoptober app and newsletter and their English-language equivalents, all of which provide accountability and support to help you stop – and stick to your new healthy habits. Additionally, we’ve gathered our best tips and tricks to achieve the goal, from creating new habits to fitness goals, seeking out comfort foods and, of course, rewarding yourself for all the progress you make.
This is probably the most important thing to do when attempting to quit smoking. Give yourself a break! Many people don’t even realise just how much stress feeds into their smoking habits. There can be so many internal and external pressures in the first weeks of quitting. Make sure to unwind when possible, and avoid triggers and stressful situations. If your home environment doesn’t always foster calmness, why not take a walk through Amsterdam to discover its gardens or just take a moment in your favourite Amsterdam park.
Add some exercise to your day
Amsterdam is the perfect setting for some exercise. From casual walks to cycling routes, it’s so easy to make adjustments without much effort. Venture outside the city centre to tour the castles and gardens or explore Zuidoost. The Amsterdamse Bos is perfect for an escape into nature while the canals can be great for activities such as canoeing or stand-up paddleboarding, or just act as a backdrop for a morning run. Since exercise releases endorphins, it can be a great mood booster that will leave you energised and empowered for the rest of the day. As little as fifteen minutes a day can have a considerable effect on your mood and mindset.
You are probably quitting smoking because you want to lead a healthier lifestyle. However, don’t overdo it! When making a big lifestyle change, it’s better to tackle things bit by bit, so avoid other upheavals such as dieting. Not smoking is the most important thing you do this month – make sure to nourish your body and mind while you readjust to your new lifestyle. And yes, we’re talking comfort food – something that the Dutch happen to be particularly good at. Now, we’re not saying to have a bitterbal for every cigarette you’re not smoking – but sometimes, you need to be a little unhealthy en route to being healthy. See also: cake shops, and pastries.
Make time for new rituals
There’s nothing better for replacing an existing habit than forming a new one. Whenever you find yourself absent-mindedly reaching for a cigarette, get some chewing gum instead or simply go outside for some fresh air rather than giving up on your break altogether. Going out for a takeaway coffee can work wonders, too.
Balance your mind
It may sound counterintuitive if all you want is to forget your withdrawal symptoms, but make an effort to be present in the moment. Meditation and mindfulness can make great habits that help you cope in moments of overwhelm, whereas yoga and similar practices may connect you with your body and mind. Check out these places to find your zen in Amsterdam.
Keep your hands busy
Many fledgling non-smokers struggle to figure out what to do with their hands. The answer: A new hobby. Take up knitting, or get into pottery (which is very on-trend, anyway). Participate in a cooking workshop, or learn artisanal woodworking. There really is something for everyone! It also helps to be surrounded by people outside of your usual circles when you have to break long-established habits. Amsterdam has plenty of workshops and courses that will welcome you; and make sure to check out the city’s many expat communities, too.
Clean your apartment
Give yourself a clean start to make sure you go on as you begin! You’ll be surprised just how much it helps to get rid of any reminders that you used to smoke. To remove any residual cigarette smells, consider getting some scented candles or room fragrance – check out Dille en Kamille, Anna + Nina and the likes for a morale-boosting, fragrant update to your living spaces.
Every milestone is worth celebrating. Use this opportunity to put the money you’d otherwise use for cigarettes aside and spend it once you hit a new benchmark. (But make sure you don’t mess with your newfound karma and keep your shopping trips sustainable!) Whether it’s a luxury item or a trip or activity you’ve always wanted to do, having a goal of this kind can be a huge reminder of your progress. Embrace it.