In the autumn of 2016 Kerri was told she needed an operation on her vocal cords and as a professional jazz singer, she decided it was time to fully give the post gig cigarettes the boot, for good.
Despite not seeing herself as a ‘full time’ smoker, who only had a few cigarettes with a drink, Kerri realised that this habit was having serious repercussions for her health, and potentially her career.
After multiple (‘Loads!’ says Kerri) of previous quit attempts, the health scare made her realise that ‘I needed to stop damaging myself. I wanted to live my life to my healthiest capacity and feel what it would be like to be completely smoke free.’ And her efforts have certainly paid off; 6 months of living smoke-free have left Kerri ‘feeling amazing!’. An incredible reward after 13 years of being unable to properly shake the habit despite acknowledging that ‘it wasn't serving me and I knew it’.
The process of quitting has led Kerri to think more deeply about her relationship with her health and wellbeing, and overhauled the way she views how her lifestyle impacts her both physically and mentally:
Kerri urges others who are finding it difficult to quit to think about any lifestyle changes they could make that might help them on their quit journey. For example, though it’s not a practical option for everyone, Kerri found that getting a dog meant ‘I wouldn't be tempted to stay out later at the weekend, and tempted to smoke when I'm drinking.’
It’s useful to think about what trigger points there are when you might be more likely to reach for a cigarette, and plan for these. As Kerri puts it:
Ultimately, for anyone struggling in the early stages, Kerri advises to ‘remember it takes just 3 days for the nicotine to leave your system and only 3 weeks to break the mental habit.’
This is exactly what makes Stoptober such a potentially rewarding challenge - if you make it through the 28 days, you’ve already cleared a massive hurdle and you’re well on your way to the happier, healthier version of you that Kerri can attest is both within reach and definitely worth striving for.
Quitting can make improvements to your lifestyle and health in ways you might not expect.