For people in recovery, the holidays can be a hard time. This season affects our emotions, thoughts, and behaviors, and is filled with countless activities and social events. When you’re learning how to navigate daily life without returning to unhealthy coping behaviors, this time of year can feel like a real gauntlet.
It’s important to protect yourself and your wellness throughout the holiday season. Here are a few tips that may help you redirect thinking and control urges to use during the holidays.
1. Develop some coping strategies with the help of a loved one. Enlisting a loved one (or a few!) to offer support is key. Brief them on what you’re going through and what you hope to achieve this holiday season. They can help make sure you stay on track, and be ready to offer some extra support whenever you need it.
2. Redefine the holiday. Not everyone has happy memories of past holidays. But the good news is that we can always recreate what a holiday means by making new memories and traditions. Mix it up, do some things differently. Organize a gathering with friends, old and new. Add a gratitude wreath in the entryway. Spend some time jotting down what you’re grateful for this year, or something that made you happy recently, or one new thing you discovered about yourself that excites you.
3. Create safe spaces, places, and activities. Take some “you” time before you head out to all those parties and dinners. Before the day’s festivities begin, take a long walk and experience nature. Being outside has proven to be an effective decompression technique for anxiety and stress.
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