The world of cybersecurity and IT isn’t always glamorous. While it has many high-paying jobs due to increasing demand and continuous technological advancements, our post “Stress and Mental Health Challenges Among Cybersecurity Professionals” emphasizes how prevalent extreme stress is because of high workloads and time pressures. To cope, cybersecurity and IT professionals turn to stress responses like smoking.
Tobacco-FreeLife.org reveals that smoking levels among IT workers are the 6th lowest compared to other fields, but it’s enough to cause concern as this job is highly sedentary. These workers spend hours in front of computers with limited movement, increasing the risk or severity of developing smoking-related chronic conditions—like lung cancer and heart disease.
Fortunately, these effects are avoidable. If you’re a cybersecurity or IT professional, here are a few ways you can let go of smoking as a form of stress relief:
Avoid smoking triggers
Smoking habits can easily develop due to the influence of other workers. After all, smoking areas in workspaces are common. Seeing fellow workers smoke can trigger your cravings, so avoid going to smoking areas or mingling with these employees while they’re smoking.
If you’re used to smoking while performing tasks, you can prevent relapsing by reaching for something other than a cigarette. One example is twirling a pen, squeezing a stress ball (see below), or even using pen and paper to jot down notes. By doing so, you can avoid triggers that will lead to smoking.
Quit gradually using nicotine replacement therapy products
Nicotine replacement therapy (NRT) products are smokeless cigarette alternatives that can help wean you off tobacco dependence. They do so by gradually curbing your cravings and preventing relapses. There is a range of accessible NRT products you can use, including nicotine pouches and patches.
Nicotine pouches are placed in the mouth for a slow nicotine release. They’re completely tobacco-free and contain nicotine, sweeteners, and food-grade fillings. The nicotine pouches on Prilla.com come from various best-selling brands, such as VELO and ZYN. Since these pouches can be bought online, they are highly convenient for home-based and busy cybersecurity and IT professionals. Meanwhile, nicotine patches stick to the skin for nicotine absorption. Brands like Habitrol and Equate are carried by general retailers like Walmart for easy access. Patches are especially practical if you don’t prefer taking oral NRTs due to preference or busy schedules, as they can be worn for up to 24 hours.
Join a smoking cessation group
Quitting alone can be challenging if you don’t know fellow cybersecurity or IT professionals going through the same thing. Alone, you can struggle with accountability and motivation, preventing success.
Fortunately, there are many smoking cessation support groups where you can share your experiences, listen to tips, and find like-minded people who want to stop smoking. Nicotine Anonymous holds regular online video meetings for work-from-home professionals or those who don’t have enough time to attend physical meetings. On the other hand, Freedom From Smoking has face-to-face meetings across different states, so you can interact more closely with fellow smoking quitters to provide and receive support.
Find healthier ways to cope with stress
A sure way you can finally quit smoking is to find another way to relieve your stress. It can be challenging at first, but there are healthier ways to manage the feelings that come with working in the field—and many of them can be done while working or at the office, too.
Some new stress relief methods include breathing exercises or using a stress ball. These activities can calm your brain and body in minutes, preventing you from reaching for a cigarette. Breathing exercises are simple: first, awaken your senses by paying attention to what you see, hear, feel, smell, and taste. Then, breathe in through your nose, hold your breath for a few seconds, and slowly exhale through the mouth. You can also have a stress ball by your desk to release frustrations. When you squeeze it, you release tension and exercise your hands and fingers, which may be tired and cramping from your work.
Cybersecurity and IT professionals should consider quitting smoking to prevent the onset of chronic diseases. Hopefully, you can find inspiration to let go of cigarettes to relieve stress with these accessible tips.