For most of my adult (and latter teen) life, I was a smoker. In times of duress, whether sad or stressed, or even just bored, I would smoke a cigarette. It was my crutch.
For obvious reasons, I stopped smoking eventually. It has now been more than a year since I had a cigarette. I don't need to quit or manage cravings, I've done all that. But I haven't found anything to replace the cigarettes. Something to go and do when I'm in a stressy mood.
Vaping has crossed my mind, except I think it looks ridiculous and in my experience having a fake cigarette kind of makes you pang for a real one. If I had seriously considered it, the flavours would make me drop that idea. Strawberry jam? Apple crumble? Cereal flavour???? What??
If I did want to go down that route I think I'd want them to taste, well, like cigarettes.
Chewing gum isn't an option because I despise it. It's just gross, in so many ways.
I've tried asking. I asked Google and the suggestions there were non helpful. Useful tips on now to quit, but I've done that. The suggestions on things to do instead are utterly unhelpful.
Exercise. Nope. This might work for some people but I'm not an exercise-for-the-endorphins kind of girl. I'm more of an is-it-over-yet kind of exerciser. Unless it's swimming, but that's not hugely practical in light of my non-ownership of a pool.
Read a book. I do that anyway, unless it's a remarkable book it doesn't make me less stressed. My current penchant for psychological thrillers mostly makes me paranoid.
Spend time with your family. Whoever thought of this must be lacking in family if they ever think that's a way to relax. I'm very sorry that they are so lonesome, but I see no reason for them to take it out on innocent people. That's where most of the stress comes from to be honest.
Have a herbal tea. Because you must actually hate yourself. There's a time and a place for herbal teas and this isn't it. Nobody has ever found deep and lasting peace over a cup of matcha. If you must, a coffee, but these things never suggest a coffee. Coffee is a pretty good substitute, except for its sleep altering properties. But no. Coffee is one of the enemies. Love coffee...
Have a snack. If being stressed isn't enough, add being overweight to your worries. Having food as your emotional crutch is generally not that healthy for the old mind either.
There's many similar suggestions, ranging from gardening to crossword puzzles. Dullness, in other words.
There's an argument that one needs to learn to do without a crutch and the perpetuation of need etc, but that argument needs to be a lot less sanctimonious and realise that there were reasons for smoking in the first place.
The only suggestion I've got from other people is to have a drink. And they don't mean coffee. I don't really drink at all, so starting to drink when stressed just seems like a slippery slope to debauchery if you ask me.
I need inspiration. There must be a way to deal with stress that neither threatens my health nor my sanity.