Let’s face it: University is crazy stressful. With exams, assignments, and school clubs, not to mention juggling work, family, and friends, it is hard to manage everything. In the TL; DR version of my story that is why I started smoking: I was doing a 30-hour internship, five courses, and a lot of extracurricular activities. It was just WAY too much. My anxiety hit a breaking point and I had heard smoking helped alleviate the immediate stress that comes with millennial school life.
And for me, it worked…at least for a while. I was able to step out of the situation for seven minutes, walk around aimlessly, and be away from all my responsibilities for just a little while. That was the appeal, with the nicotine being just an added bonus/minus (depending on how you look at it).
So why did I quit? It was certainly not because my family was nagging me to do so, although they do take the credit for it now (hey Mama O’Shaughnessy).
No, I quit for a simple reason: I got super sick. The flu bug flew around my college and I ended up with a massive cough. As I went outside with a cigarette, coughing like nobody’s business, I thought to myself, “This is just dumb: I am prolonging my sickness because of this addictive and expensive garbage.”
I should also mention just the blatant hypocrisy what I have been doing with you all: I am the Health and Wellness blogger! Was I really following my job title when I walked down to the store after I got my first paycheck? I don’t think so.
And so, eleven days later, here I am, writing this post smoke-free!
“Quitting is that easy, Haley? What are all these smokers complaining about?”
Okay, okay, okay, I will be honest: quitting sucked a lot. I was a half-a-pack smoker, so I guess you could say that is pretty average. Yet when I quit, I felt tired, irritable, and hungry all the time. Just ask anyone from my college – they saw it was hard work!
So here’s my suggestion: get some nicotine gum. As a U of T student it is free through the Koffler Drop-in Clinic or through the CAMH. There are also some amazing support systems through the “Leave the Pack Behind” campaign. The university is huge and so I am telling you now, you are not alone. One of the main reasons I stuck with it was because I was telling my friends my progress via Snapchat (who knew disappearing photos could be a tool for quitting smoking)
Now, I am no longer revolving my schedule around smoking breaks and in fact, I actually can breathe much better (which I didn’t realize was a problem until after quitting). Those first few days were a small price to pay for my mental, not to mention physical, well being
All for now,