Just a simple google search of the phrase “holiday stress” will tell you that the holidays can take an emotional, physical, and financial toll on your wellbeing! With the pressure of juggling shopping lists, holiday parties, and hosting duties, this stress can trigger unhealthy coping mechanisms and be particularly damaging for those who are in recovery. You don’t need to feed your addictions to work through typical holiday stressors or to make your season festive! Dealing with holiday stress is easy with these tips!
1. Set Intentions & Create a Plan
Set your intentions before the stress of the holiday season fully sets in! That’s a great way to ensure you’re well equipped when the season begins. Evaluate each day and develop a plan to tackle any potential stressors that arise! Then asses any triggers you may face and rank them from low risk to high. In the event you’re exposed to these triggers, come up with a self-care routine to ward them off. Whether your plan is to leave early or arrive, phone a friend, or avoid an event altogether, do what’s best for you!
2. Lean on Your Support System
If the holiday stress is getting to you, it might be good to pencil in a few extra support group meetings or therapy sessions! Not a part of any support group? The National Council of Alcoholism and Drug Dependence offers a list of organizations in your area that you can contact! This is understandably a difficult time. Staying in close contact with people who know what you’re going through will help you push through your recovery journey.
3. Pay It Forward
Research has shown that volunteering reduces stress levels and affords you with a sense of meaning and appreciation! Working with those who are less fortunate can make you feel like you’re a part of something bigger than yourself. This holiday season, give your time to a cause that you care about. There are plenty of opportunities to pay it forward that you and your family can take part in! Host a toy drive or donate canned food! Build a home with Habitat for Humanity; host a letter-writing party or serve hot meals at a soup kitchen!
Don’t let the holidays become a time that you dread. Listen to yourself and your body. Be aware of the potential risks and triggers that may push you to relapse. Avoiding stress during the holidays is important in order to help you feel healthy, happy, and safe!