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Beat your Christmas stress without reaching for a cigarette

Stress levels are often high over the festive period. With money having to be stretched further and different events to attend, it can be overwhelming for many of us. But this doesn’t have to be an excuse to reach for a cigarette, follow our top-tips to keep your stress levels low without harming your health.

Smoking can make you more stressed

Despite many people thinking that a cigarette can calm stress levels, it can actually do the opposite. How does a cigarette add to your stress levels?

  1. It pushes your heart to work harder. When you take a drag from a cigarette, your heart pumps extra hard to push the nicotine up to your brain, adding a stress onto your body.
  2. You enter a cycle of cravings. Although you will get a short-lived good feeling from smoking a cigarette, once this wears off you are left feeling lower than you did before.
  3. Your blood pressure rises. Inhaling cigarettes lead to your arteries narrowing quicker than they usually would. This means that your heart has to pump extra harder to circulate blood around the body.
  4. The addition of carbon monoxide. Smoking cigarettes adds carbon monoxide into the body which limits the amount of oxygen that can circular around the body. This negative impact on the respiratory system can stress your body out.

Alternative ways to destress

Now that we know smoking is not the best way to destress your body, how else can you calm your nerves over Christmas?

Taking five minutes to yourself

Taking five minutes out of your day to sit and have some time to yourself can really make the difference. Whether this is to do a calming activity or organise an area of the house, you’re likely to feel much better after some time out. Focus on your breathing and reflect on the day so far to get the most out of some “me time”.

Share your worries

A problem shared is a problem halved as they say and this can be true for sharing your stresses as well. You’ll be surprised to learn how many other people are feeling the same way around the festive period and they might have some destress tips to share.

If your smoking addiction is causing you stress around Christmas, you can organise a face-to-face or telephone appointment to start and discuss the steps you can take to quit.

Getting on top of your finances

One of the main reasons for stress around Christmas is money management. Taking time to plan for unexpected finances is possible even this close to Christmas.

Try and write down everything that you know you need to spend and allocate budgets for gift-buying. Quitting smoking is another way to reduce your spending (find out how much you can save with our stop smoking calculator), you’ll be surprised at your savings after packing in the habit.


Taking some time out of the day to do some exercise can release endorphins (happy hormones) into your body and relax you. Whether this is going for a gentle stroll or a gym class, exercise is one way to lower those stress levels.

If you’re struggling to stop smoking around Christmas, get in touch with one of our specially trained advisers today. We can get to know your situation and help put a plan in place to stop you from picking up a cigarette over the festive period.

How much money could you save by stopping smoking?

Answer the two questions below and then click “Calculate” to see how much money you could save!


Your savings

Please note that the figures above are simply an indication of how much you could save based on the cost of a packet of cigarettes and your daily intake.