If you are in recovery from a drug or alcohol addiction, managing stress during the holidays is crucial to avoiding a relapse. Although the holidays are supposed to be a time of joy and celebration, a packed schedule, family conflict, financial problems, or seasonal depression can lead to anxiety and stress. This, in turn, can trigger a relapse.
Effective stress management starts with remembering what you learned in your addiction treatment program and applying it in real-life situations during the holidays. Practice mindfulness to guide you through stressful moments and be aware when your triggers try to creep up. You can manage stress during the holidays by having a plan of action to conquer your emotional triggers before the holidays begin.
Manage Stress During the Holidays by Limiting Your Activities
If your holiday calendar is already filling up, you may want to rethink your busy schedule. Weed out events or activities that are not necessary or cause you the most stress. Choose fewer events to attend and only go to the ones that you find truly relaxing and enjoyable. If you are normally in charge of certain events, then put someone else in charge this year. You can relieve a lot of stress just by clearing out your calendar.
Avoid Family Conflict
Family does not always make the holidays more enjoyable. Some people are difficult to get along with. Others create a lot of stress. Remember, your recovery is the most important thing in your life right now. So, if you must choose between your recovery and family, you may want to pick your recovery so that you can be better for your family down the road. This means avoiding certain family members that may trigger your relapse.
Learn to Have Fun This Holiday
There are plenty of ways to have fun without drugs, alcohol, or anxiety. The holidays are filled with fun activities such as:
- Personal shopping
- Attending a Christmas show
- Day trip
- Volunteering/helping others
Instead of pressuring yourself to buy dozens of gifts or chair the next Christmas event, find fun and simple events. Spend time with people who know how to have fun and want to spend time with you.
Practice Mindfulness and Meditation
A stress management technique you may have learned in your mental health treatment program is mindfulness. You can practice mindfulness any time, especially during stressful moments. You can also practice focused mindfulness through meditation. Mindfulness can help you control your emotions, accept your situation, and even find clarity in stressful moments. It can reduce stress during the holidays during times when you need it the most.
Prioritize your Finances and Set a Budget
Your bank account can only go so far. You also have financial obligations, such as paying bills and taking care of monthly expenses. Do not put yourself in a situation where money is a problem because you have blown your budget. Set a realistic Christmas budget and stick to it. You may have to get a little more creative with buying gifts this year. However, you will find that your stress level goes way down.
Stay Connected with Your Support Network
Your substance abuse treatment program provides an extensive support network that includes:
- Support groups
- Alumni programs
- Sober living homes
- Telehealth services
You have access to people and programs that can help you manage your stress during the holidays and keep you on track with your recovery goals. When you are most vulnerable, you can reach out to someone who can help you say no to drugs or alcohol.
Oceanfront Recovery Offers Mental Health Services in California
Do you need help with an addiction or mental health issue? If so, contact Oceanfront Recovery at (877) 296-7477. Let us help you manage stress during the holidays while overcoming your addiction to drugs or alcohol. We can get you on the road to recovery with our alcohol addiction treatment program.