8 Holiday Tips for Wellness and Recovery

December 2, 2016

The winter holiday season can be a beautiful and joyous time of year, but it can also be a stressful time and present challenging situations to people in recovery. With competing demands for time and unrealistic expectations, we find ourselves overwhelmed. During this time, it is important to stay grounded in our health and recovery. We’ve offered some practical tips to help think about the holidays and plan ahead.

  1. Maintain your healthy habits. Don’t let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt. Have a healthy snack before holiday parties. Continue to get plenty of sleep and physical activity.
  1. Take a breather.Make some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, can refresh you and help you handle demands. Take a walk at night and stargaze. Listen to soothing music. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm.
  1. Create a list. Make a list of people you can call if you feel like drinking or using. This list must consist of people who will support you and prevent you from drinking/using; it might be your sponsor.This tip applies anytime of the year. Don’t tough it out. Don’t give yourself an excuse to do something to jeopardize your sobriety.
  1. Steer Clear. Stay away from all the slippery places you once drank or used. Be selective about what invitations you accept. If your family members are big drinkers or have other addictions,  you may wish to steer clear of celebrations on those days. Kindly and confidently reminding your family and friends that your health and safety is the most important way to show them you love them can ease the challenge of bowing out of holidays. If you are going to be in a situation where alcohol or other drugs  are present, mentally rehearse your actions.
  1. Have an attitude of gratitude. One of the best ways to turn the holiday blues around is to write a list of blessings. Write it each morning. It might seem silly at first, but by time you hit ten you’ll be much happier. You might give thanks for your sober days; counting up the days can afford a measure of comfort and peace. This is a big achievement, and one that you’ve worked hard for.
  1. Have back-up plans ready. If you’re prepared with a reasonable response when you’re at a party and getting ready to leave and someone asks you to stay, it’s not only less stressful, it’s also essential. You’ve got an easy out, no one’s feelings are hurt, and you’ve been true to your sobriety.
  1. Spend your time with your recovery community. These friends will understand the impact of the holidays better than anyone. The truth is that those in recovery aren’t any more immune to depression and loneliness than someone who’s never had a problem with alcohol. Thousands of people of all ages experience loneliness and depression during the period from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. But the difference is that you, since you are in recovery, have an automatic support network of your recovery community and 12-step sponsor and group members.
  2. Seek addiction treatment if you need it. Being healthy and present, addressing recovery, might be the best gift you can give to yourself and loved ones. Although you might think the holidays are a time to be with friends or family, if it is creating stress, pain, or strain because of a family member’s substance use disorder, it may be the very best time to get into treatment.

CoRR is here to help; call 5309-273-9541, or complete our Admissions Inquiry form and a counselor will call you; or visit a Family Recovery Education night.


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