The holidays can be one of the most stressful times of the year, and for those in substance abuse recovery this can be a time of fear and apprehension instead of one that involves joy and socializing with those that you care about. Having a holiday stress plan in place when the holidays roll around can mean the difference between staying in recovery or relapsing and needing additional treatment. An increase in stress can make it harder to maintain your recovery but there are some things that you can plan ahead to minimize this risk. Your holiday stress plan during substance abuse recovery should include:
- The right to say no. You do not have to attend every party or go to every holiday event. Simply decline with a gracious thank you. If you feel the need to give an excuse simply state that you are overbooked and you need time to handle your own holiday preparations.
- Freedom from pressure. Don’t feel obligated to show up and then stay for hours. It is okay to arrive when you want, and then leave when you are ready. If cocktails will be served from 5-6 pm then feel free to show up at 6:30 when dinner is planned instead of arriving at 5 pm.
- Time for exercise and sleep each day. A lack of exercise and not getting enough sleep are both triggers that could cause you to fall back into old habits, something that you are trying to avoid.