Are you one of those people who gets sad or down in the winter months, especially during the holiday season? If so, you’re not alone. Millions of Americans report feeling stressed, unhappy, blue and irritated much more significantly during the holidays. When you’re in recovery, this can still happen to you. In fact, many 12-step meetings around the holidays have people that are stressed out and seeking shelter from the hubbub. There are a lot of triggers for people who are new to recovery, and it’s best to be aware of your surroundings when the festivities begin.
What is about the holidays that make life stressful in recovery?
Holiday times are filled with memories. Some of those are good, and some are bad. For people who have experienced trauma or mental illness, there is a lot of reflection that may be painful. After all, things may have once been different. (Or, everyone pretended they were!) Now that you’re in recovery, things have changed for you. But that doesn’t mean that everyone will respond to that change in a way you feel is supportive.
Some people come from families where drinking or drug use are a part of the natural festivities. If this is you, you may have trouble being around your family. You may feel guilty if you can’t participate, either.
What are some coping skills to use when you’re feeling vulnerable during the holidays?
During the holiday season, make a plan for recovery with your sponsor or support network. You can plan to check in every few hours or only when you’re feeling “freaked out” or stressed; it’s up to you. Schedule 12-step meetings and therapy around special events that you’re worried about. This way, you can hold on and then get some help immediately if a family get-together has stressed you out.
Don’t be afraid to say “no” this year to a celebration centered around alcohol.
Finally, practice self-care. It’s important to look after your own mental health needs. Schedule time in for yourself and much-needed breaks. Take time to meditate, take a long bath, or buy yourself an early Christmas present.
Do you need help?
You’re in recovery when you decide to be, but getting clean isn’t always easy. You’ll need help to heal your body and your spirit. A detox center that focuses on helping you find yourself and plan for your next steps is available. If you’re ready to give yourself another chance at life, there is no better time than now. Find out more about your options by calling 1-800-970-8774.