Coping with cravings – simple tasks you can try at home

A woman stood outside similing

If you’re trying to cut down or quit alcohol, smoking or drugs, cravings are a normal part of your journey. Lots of people experience them, and they’re nothing to feel ashamed or guilty about. They can be frustrating or even scary, but there are lots of ways to manage them. Here are some simple things you can try yourself.  

Breathing exercises and meditation

It might not sound like much, but some simple breathing and relaxation exercises can help you to de-stress when you feel cravings. You might be surprised just how effective they can be! 

Find a comfortable position. You can be sitting, standing, or lying on your back, as long as you’re able to completely relax. Begin to breathe slowly and gently in through your nose and out through your mouth. 

Try to breathe as deep into your belly as you can without forcing yourself or feeling uncomfortable. Some people find it useful to count slowly from one to five during each breath in, and each breath out. Forget everything else about your day and just concentrate on the flow of your breath. Do this for around five minutes. 

You can also find tips and useful apps for looking after your mental wellbeing here.  

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Cravings don’t usually last very long, so distracting yourself until they pass can be a big help.

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Staying active

Exercise is a useful way of keeping yourself occupied, plus it releases chemicals in your brain that make you feel happier and more positive.  

If it’s a nice day, you could go for a walk, run, or bike ride outside. But there are also lots of exercises you can do at home.  

You could try: 

  • Star jumps 
  • Sit-ups 
  • Press-ups 
  • Squats using a chair for support 
  • Step-ups 
  • Balancing on one leg  

Whatever you choose to do, don’t overdo it! Start slowly and build up your routine if you find that you enjoy it.  

You can also find lots of videos online teaching you how to get started with yoga, pilates, tai chi, and other similar ways to stretch, relax and get rid of stress.  

If you have any injuries or medical conditions, please double-check that you can safely do any exercises before you try them. 


Trying a new hobby

Another way to keep yourself distracted is to try out a new pastime. This can be something as simple as cooking or gardening. Or it could be something a bit different like making models, learning a language, or something creative. Anything positive to focus on can make it easier to  

Most Change Grow Live services organise lots of different activities and groups you can get involved in, or you can choose something to do yourself in your spare time. Something positive you can focus on while you wait for cravings to pass can make a big difference.  

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Calling a friend

Don’t be afraid to reach out to other people when you need some friendly support. Sometimes a quick call with someone close to you is all you need to distract yourself.  

If your friends or family know that you are trying to change your habits, they can encourage and support you. Or you could talk about something completely different to keep you busy until your cravings have passed.

If you want to make positive changes in your life, we’re here to help. Cutting down or quitting smoking, drinking or drug use can help you be happier, safer, and healthier.