The holidays can be a stressful time, but even more so if you are newly sober. Being surrounded by friends or family who are indulging in festive drinks can make it hard to stay on your journey. Keeping your stress level under control and having tools in place to help manage the season will keep you focused and lower the likelihood of relapse.
Some ways to ways to manage holiday stress include:
- Plan a holiday you can enjoy sober. Maybe past holidays involved drinking with friends and family. That doesn’t mean they have to continue that way. You can plan a holiday that you can enjoy sober without being surrounded by the temptation to drink or use other substances. Consider hosting a holiday celebration where you are in control of who is invited and what is being served.
- Don’t put yourself in uncomfortable situations. There is no reason to go to a party where you may feel uncomfortable or put yourself at risk of relapse. You do not have to go to every holiday party or event. Make your recovery your first priority; if you know an event will put you in dangerous situations for your recovery, avoid it at all costs. Being somewhere that makes you feel uncomfortable will only add to your stress.
- Be with those who understand your recovery. Being around people who don’t support or understand your recovery can add to the stress of the season. Spend time with those who encourage your recovery and can give you the support you need to keep on your journey.
- Go to meetings. Attending support group meetings can help you deal with holiday stress. Hearing experiences from others in recovery and how they manage stress can give you ideas to try yourself.
- Take care of yourself. Being busy with the holidays often leaves little time to take care of yourself. You will want to make yourself a priority and find ways to relax and unwind after a busy day. These can include anything from taking a relaxing bath to listening to calming music.
- Eat healthy and exercise. You may be tempted to overindulge in holiday treats and foods throughout the season, but letting your health go will only make you more vulnerable to relapse. Even during the holidays, eat healthy foods and make time to exercise. Nourishing your brain and body can help you manage stress and stay physically strong.
- Don’t take on unnecessary stress. The holidays are filled with stress, and taking on unnecessary stress can put you at risk for relapse. If you do not want to attend an event, remember that it’s okay to say no. Remind yourself that it’s okay to not find the perfect gift for a friend or a new outfit to wear to a holiday party. Do only what you need to do and spend only what you can afford. The friends and family who support you will understand.
- Start a new tradition. You can start new holiday traditions to take the place of ones that may cause you unneeded stress. Instead of baking cookies, try a new restaurant with friends–and order dessert. Tired of Christmas movies? Have a movie night featuring summer vacation instead. Remember that volunteering in your community is always a fulfilling way to spend your time.
- Recognize your triggers. When in recovery, it is important to recognize your triggers so you can avoid them before you put yourself in a stressful situation. A trigger can be anything from people to places. Avoiding these triggers can help eliminate certain stressors and keep you away from a situation that can put you at risk for relapse.
- Don’t hesitate to ask for help. If you need help during the holidays, don’t hesitate to ask. Endless resources are available. If you completed treatment at a recovery center, they may be able to provide continued care or assistance. If you get overwhelmed with the demands of the holiday season, ask a friend or family member to help you out. Never feel that you need to do everything on your own.
Do You Need Support During the Holiday Season?
If you are struggling this holiday season and are looking for treatment options, contact Mountain Laurel Recovery Center today. We can help you find the path to a lasting recovery. To find out more about our programs and services available in our Pennsylvania recovery center, contact us online for a confidential consultation.