The holidays are stressful for everyone. They can be especially hard on those going through addiction treatment who are already emotionally vulnerable and who could easily relapse under the stress. Spending time with family and old friends can cause a lot of triggers that make the person want to use, as can certain situations that the person would face during the holidays.
You will learn some great coping strategies in your Chandler addiction counseling that you can apply to any situation. However, here are a few other things you can do to better manage the pressure of the holiday season:
You may still be feeling uncertain about your recovery, and you may not want to go to parties where there are going to be a lot of people and potentially a lot of alcohol. Or, you may feel fine with attending some gatherings, but you may know that being around family right now is going to be too stressful because of entrenched dynamics. Know your limits, and stick to them.
You know what you can handle and what might risk your recovery. Don’t give in to pressure.
The holidays are a time to celebrate, but they can also be full of activity and obligation. You can quickly become overwhelmed, and that can become a trigger for using drugs and alcohol. You can prepare yourself for the holiday season by creating a plan. Make a list of all the parties, the gifts, and other things that you want to do. Create a plan or a schedule for doing these things, and cross off things that you think are just going to be too much.
It’s easy to spend too much at the holidays. You want to celebrate and show your family and friends how much you love them by spoiling them with gifts. But overspending can create overwhelming debt that can create a lot of problems for you in the new year.
Set a budget for your gift giving and stick to it. That will help you to manage your stress and help you to feel more in control.
When you are physically healthy, you are better able to handle the emotional stresses you may face, both during the holidays and throughout the year. But it can be hard to maintain healthy habits throughout the holidays, when you are short on time and are presented with a variety of unhealthy foods.
Prioritize eating healthy, getting exercise, and getting regular sleep during the holiday season so that you are more resilient.
Even with careful planning, things can go wrong. When they do, you may feel overwhelmed and triggered to use. One thing you can do is build in buffers to be better able to handle the unexpected if it happens.
For example, you may leave early for parties knowing that you might hit traffic, or you might build in more time to finish a project knowing that something could come up that makes it take longer. You might give yourself more time to cook a meal in case you run out of an ingredient or something goes wrong and you have to repeat it. There are many more ways you can build in buffers so that unexpected challenges don’t turn into a crisis.
You need time to be alone with your thoughts and to just de-stress. Yet you are likely to feel pulled in all directions during the holidays and to feel pressured into spending time with others, even when you’re not in the mood. Don’t feel guilty about prioritizing your own needs. Take time for yourself – whether you just want to read a book, go for a run, or enjoy some of your own hobbies.
The holidays can be stressful for everyone, but as an addict, they can be especially triggering for you. Follow these steps and stick to your Chandler addiction counseling schedule to get the support you need. Make your ongoing health and sobriety your gift to yourself this holiday season.
Corebella Health and Wellness is here to support you in whatever stage of recovery you are in, whether you are hoping to start your addiction treatment or you need to get continuing support and addiction counseling to maintain your sobriety. We are also a wellness clinic, offering services to help you create a healthier lifestyle. Call Corebella Health and Wellness today to learn more about our addiction clinic and services.