Christmas and New Year’s are right around the corner and, while this should be a joyful and celebratory time, it can actually be one of the most challenging times for those of us trying to stay sober.
Doing Battle with Holiday Stress
Luckily, dealing with an addiction doesn’t have to ruin your holiday season. Here’s a couple of tips to help keep you on the right track in those moments you’re feeling anything but jolly and full of holiday cheer.
- Tip #1 Give Back
Serving others always has a way of shifting the focus off yourself. It helps zap those feelings of negativity (resentment, worry, sadness and self-loathing), while also giving you a different kind of “high.” So, if you’re going through a low period, volunteer at the local food bank or help gift wrap for an organization. Giving back will give you a boost and remind you of all you have to be thankful for.
- Tip #2 Play the Tape All the Way Through
Chances are, if you attend any holiday events, alcohol will be present in some form. So in the event you’re hit
with an unexpected craving, pause for a second and play the scenario out in your head. Remember all the destruction your addiction caused in the past and focus on all you’ve got going for you now. Sometimes thinking, rather than acting impulsively, is all we need to hurdle over a weak moment.
- Tip #3 Keep Your Hands Full
If you’re out at a holiday gathering or New Year’s Eve party, make sure to always have a non-alcoholic drink in hand. This not only prevents others from handing you a cocktail, but it gives you something to sip on just in case temptation strikes. It also allows you to avoid the “why aren’t you drinking?” peer pressure from others, which can get old real fast.
- Tip #4 Stay Out and About
Holidays have a way of bringing out the loneliness sometimes, especially if we’re away from family or not in a relationship. So, it’s natural for us to resort to old habits and isolate when we’re feeling down. But pulling away from others makes it harder for us once we decide to reach out for help. We are, inherently, social creatures, and there is a lot to be gained from spending time with others, especially from a mental health perspective.
- Tip #5 Show Appreciation
Research has proven that gratitude can be a transformative habit in both your personal and professional life. It makes you happier and healthier, and experts believe that the simple act of feeling grateful can have an astounding impact on mental and physical well-being. The holidays present the perfect opportunity to reflect on all your achievements over this past year. Make a list, journal or say aloud all you’re thankful for – it might just do the trick in boosting your mood when you’re feeling low.
- Tip #6 Take it Easy
No matter how stressful the holiday season becomes, remember to get plenty of rest, practice healthy eating habits and exercise regularly. In other words, maintain your recovery routine as much as possible.
ADDITIONAL READING: 5 Tips to Avoid a New Year’s Existential Breakdown
Image Source: iStock