Holidays are often a time of joy, excitement, and spending time with family. However, they can also be a source of stress, exhaustion, and temptations, especially for those who want to avoid alcohol and other substances.
Holidays come with pressure to conform to particular social and familial expectations and more interactions with family and friends, many of which there is a presence of celebrating with alcohol and other substances. Additionally, loss, loneliness, and shame are powerful triggers this time of year.
According to Amy Villano, Senior Director of NJ Recovery Services, Acenda Integrated Health, “there are often unrealistic expectations that you place on yourself to keep up with certain holiday traditions, like buying gifts that may and social interactions with an increased presence of alcohol. It is so important that you stay mindful of the need for self-care and avoid using alcohol or other substances to manage any stressful occurrences.”
Here are five tips to keep in Mind:
- Remember that it is ok to say no, especially if invited to high stress or triggering situations.
- Challenge unrealistic expectations by asking yourself: Do you need to spend this much money? Do you have to do everything?
- Create new traditions, which may include and a spending limit on gifts.
- Self-care is key! Rest, eat healthy, take a walk, and use meditation or yoga instead of coping by using alcohol or other substances. If in recovery, create and use your relapse prevention plan.
- Reach out for help!!! This includes your sober support network, meetings, or your local mental health professional.