How to Overcome Holiday Stress

Is it truly the most wonderful time of the year? Not for everyone.

The holiday season provides an additional level of stress for everyone, but for those in recovery, it comes with its own unique set of challenges. However, being prepared with practical tips can keep you moving forward in your recovery journey. And who knows – with a renewed mindset, you could end up enjoying the holidays so much more than you ever expected.

  1. Make time for the things – and people – that make you happy. The holidays can be full of social visits and sometimes, that means seeing people we don’t always enjoy spending time with, especially those who make recovery more difficult. Be sure to make time for the family and friends who not only support your recovery, but also make you feel happy and loved.
  2. Laugh – a lot! There’s a reason why they say laughter is the best medicine – because it is! Not only does laughing improve your blood flow, but it keeps tension levels low. Next time you’re feeling stressed, pop in a funny, classic holiday movie and get ready to laugh!
  3. Get outside. Nothing picks up on the magic of the season quite like wandering through the fallen leaves or snow. Take some time to explore the sights and sounds and take deep breaths. You’ll feel cleansed with each breath, as you inhale fresh, clean air and exhale toxic energy.
  4. Move past your cravings. Did you know that a craving only lasts for a few short minutes? The next time you’re hit with one, no matter what it’s for, give yourself a change of scenery. Move to a different room or step outside, change the topic of conversation or just take some deep breaths. You’ll be surprised how quickly the art of distraction can curb your craving.
  5. Plan ahead. Where are you going and who will be there? Always know the answer to those two questions. If you aren’t comfortable with the location or people, politely decline and make other plans. You want to be surrounded by family and friends who share the journey of your recovery – not make it harder. With the right support system, you’ll be able to create your own fun.

Recovery isn’t always jolly, but following these tips may open up new ways to enjoy the holidays.

Article by Dr. Deni Carise, Chief Scientific Officer at Recovery Centers of America 

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