Stress is elevated during the holidays for everyone, no matter what your struggles are at that moment. Sobriety is no different, except it kind of is different for you. Cravings, triggers, and everything else that comes with recovery can be a real bummer if you let it get you down. The main thing is to focus on holistic practices that can help you enjoy the holidays and stay sober.
If your mind ain’t right, everything else will follow. That is to say, you can quickly go on a downward spiral if you don’t get the right mindset early, before the holidays arrive. Some of these tips may help you build a positive mindset:
- Know your stress triggers. Whether it is that uncle who always asks if you want a drink because he can’t seem to remember you can’t, or work and other issues that come up. Know what sets you off, then set aside some ways of relieving stress through self care.
- Mentally prepare for the holidays well in advance. If you know your job requires end-of-the-year reports, stressful schedules or an increased workload, get ahead of the game. Set aside a few days where you can take off work early and exercise or get outside for some fresh air.
- Meditate. It can be hard to think of this in the moment, so set aside time in the morning and at night to give you the time you need. Meditation has a range of benefits including increased concentration, lower stress, and more brain power to do the many tasks you have to do.
Your body is going to need some extra TLC this holiday season. It is difficult to give back to yourself when you are doing so much for others to get ready and prepare. Whether this is your first or one of many sober holidays, you’ll want to keep these tips in mind:
- Don’t give up exercising. Some people give it up because they think it will give them extra time to sleep or shop or work more hours for buying holiday gifts. Try not to fall into the trap of giving up exercise. Your body needs to be healthy if you are going to stay sober.
- Say ‘no’ to overindulging. If you go to parties or holiday festivities starving, you will stuff your face and mess up your whole body’s chemistry. Give up too many sugary treats for one or two instead and bring some healthy nibbles with you.
- Bring healthy foods. Even if people are cooking, ask if you can bring healthy, well-balanced foods to add to the smorgasbord. If you have to, eat in advance of the party or event and just nibble here and there rather than indulge on horrible foods that will make you feel worse for wear.
When you are in the midst of the holiday season, it feels like your spirit is the last thing you tend. Your spirit needs attention, too. Here are some tips to help you give it a try:
- Visit with friends. Don’t give up seeing friends because of family obligations. You may be busy but you need friends who are nonjudgmental, healthy, and most of all, sober. They will help you stay straight when you feel like the holidays have you all over the place.
- Do yoga or breathwork. If you can’t stop what you’re doing right that moment when you feel a trigger or craving to do downward dog, breathe. Take a deep breath in and slowly exhale. Have a card with notes on how to breathe if you forget when people or circumstances stress you out.
- Give back. Giving and serving others helps you get in the right frame of mind. When you give back, you feel better. This impacts you spiritually, but also mentally and you might even get some physical benefits like a sense of peace and overall well-being.
A holistic approach to the holidays is not just about organic, natural foods. It is about a mind, body, spirit approach to finding your way through the holidays and staying sober. It is about sobriety being the main focus, no matter what else is going on. Everything is interconnected. A healthy mind can help you stay focused on doing what you need to keep your body strong and spiritual practices can ground you when the holidays feel overwhelming.
The Springboard Center’s addiction treatment programs are tailored to meet the needs of each client. Our goal is to help you find the right tools and resources to support your journey to sobriety. It is important to recognize that many of our services offer a group setting and environment, so that the client spends time with other people affected by the same chronic disease and problems. 432-620-0255