The holiday season is rife with opportunities to socialize with friends, family, and coworkers. From sit-down dinners to cocktail parties, alcohol is often involved in these occasions. For individuals in addiction recovery, whether for drinking or drugs, this can be triggering. On top of this, the deadlines and social obligations that come with the holiday season can leave you feeling stressed. Stress is one of the most dominant triggers when it comes to relapsing. Don’t despair, however: The below tips will help you stay sober throughout the festive season.
Maintain a healthy diet
Holiday food may be tasty, but treats like Christmas ham and cookies tend to be high in fat and sugar. Try to maintain a healthy diet as this can influence your mental health. For example, research shows that a well-balanced gut microbiome is essential to combatting depression, which can be another trigger for substance abuse. Eat foods that contain prebiotics and probiotics to foster the “good” bacteria in your gut. Options include dark chocolate, almond milk, wild salmon, yogurt, and pickled goods like pickles and sauerkraut.
Find ways to stay physically active
Exercise is also an all-natural way to combat depression and stave off the possibility of a relapse. Find ways to keep moving if you’re traveling for the holidays. Visiting the family? Volunteer to take the dog for a walk. Spending time with friends? Propose a pick-up game of basketball or touch football. You don’t have to forego spending time with your loved ones in order to break a sweat.
Request gifts to support your recovery
Your friends and family will obviously want to support your recovery process. When they ask what they can get you for Christmas, suggest gifts that will aid you on your journey. Fitness-related presents, like a yoga mat or gym membership, are one option. You can also request helpful books, such as inspiring memoirs from individuals who overcame addiction. Gift certificates for experiences like spa treatments and massages are also great, giving you a chance to show your body some love.
Stay away from toxic situations and people
The holidays can be stressful. Pinpoint those things that stress you out this time of year and avoid them. If you have cooked a huge Thanksgiving dinner for your family in the past but it always gives you anxiety, skip it this year. If there is that one relative who always stresses you with prying questions about your personal life, steer clear of them. If you do find yourself in a stressful situation, step away for a few minutes to calm down. A meditation app can help you refocus and recenter.
Identify sources of support in case you relapse
If you do fall back into some bad habits, be kind to yourself. Addiction recovery is a lifelong journey, and relapse is possible. The key is to identify a source of help to get back on track. As soon as possible, find a treatment program with certified medical professionals to assist your recovery. They will be able to provide the support you need to deal with physiological effects of withdrawal.
As you prepare to enter the whirlwind holiday season, keep these tips in mind. They will help you maintain mental balance, and get the tools and resources you need to stay on track. With some dedication and help from a supportive network, you will be able to get through the hectic holiday season and enter the new year with your sobriety intact. This can be the best holiday present of all.