This has been a particularly stressful holiday season for many, and perhaps a lonely one as well. In previous blogs, we’ve shared advice about how to navigate large family gatherings while in recovery. Many of us will be forgoing those big gatherings this year in order to stay safe, introducing a new challenge: how to keep your spirits up and stay sober while isolating from loved ones?
We have three tips that we hope will help you enjoy this year’s festivities.
- Put a new spin on old traditions
Instead of giving up your favorite holiday pastimes, try tweaking them to fit new circumstances! Set up a video holiday with friends so you can eat together, do a craft or activity, or just catch up and wish each other a happy holiday. Maybe you make gingerbread houses every year – show them off on camera! This may even be an opportunity to bring in more loved ones to the festivities, when most years you find yourselves separated by distance. There are plenty of socially distant activities you all can do virtually, or outside with friends and neighbors.
This season is about more than gifts – it’s about spending time with the people you care about, and 2020 has shown us that there is more than one way to do that.
- Remind yourself of what to be grateful for
As our own Cathy Collins has shown us, you probably have a lot more to be grateful for this year than you realize. Rather than focusing on material things or dwelling over the big parties that aren’t going to happen, take a step back and take stock of what’s good in your life right now. Allow yourself to feel sad for a while, (repressing those feelings isn’t going to help anything!) and then try to move beyond that. Make a list of what you are thankful for this year, despite all the hardship you may have experienced. Getting out of your negative headspace will make the season more enjoyable and less stressful.
- Make a plan
As always, we encourage you to make a concrete plan for yourself in advance. Where will you be on Christmas, or New Year’s, or Hanukah? How will you be staying sober? What will you do if you find yourself struggling – who will you call, where can you go? What are your triggers? What coping mechanisms do you have?
These are all questions you should be asking yourself now so that when the day in question comes you will be prepared, and you will know you are prepared. Let a friend or a sponsor know that you may need to call them if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Talk to a counselor about what you need. Consider even checking into a rehabilitation facility. There’s never a perfect time to do it and rehab, with its built-in structure and support systems, may be exactly where you need to be right now.
Everyone is struggling right now, and for people in recovery the enforced social distancing has been even harder to bear. Being distant, however, does not mean that we have to spend the holidays alone.
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, call us today at 1-877-MyRehab and learn more about our programming. Hope is here!