Many people have a difficult time during the holiday season. Throughout the year, but especially from mid-November to mid-January, managing your mood, attitude, and disposition is extremely important. You can make good lifestyle choices and changes.
Troublesome Holiday Stressors
Consider the following areas of stress. Which is the most difficult for you to manage?
- Family conflict
- Family expectations
- Food temptations
- Alcohol temptations
- Drug temptations
- Unrealistic expectations from others
- Time constraints and pressures
- Unrealistic expectations of myself
- Financial pressures
- Grief and loss from the past
- Pressure to look good in front of others
Prevention is the Best Medicine
If you struggle with holiday stress, seasonal affective disorder (SAD), or depression, it is especially important to have a plan in place. Using the following list, identify some strategies you find helpful:
- Enjoy the present; live in the moment and not the past.
- Remain drug and alcohol free; drinking and drug use will only increase feelings of depression.
- Plan ahead. Some structure can be helpful to your recovery.
- Don’t set yourself up for disappointment by comparing today with “the good old days.”
- If you are lonely, schedule some time to volunteer and help others.
- Find free holiday activities that also support your recovery.
- Try something new – celebrate in a way you have never celebrated before and start a new tradition.
- Spend time with caring, supportive people.
- Reach out and make new friends.
- Attend extra AA/NA meetings.
- Listen to soothing, relaxing music.
- Resist the urge to overeat.
- Increase your level of accountability
- Make time for yourself.
- Let others share the holiday responsibilities.
- Get outside, or at least sit by a window, as often as possible.
- Maintain a healthy sleep schedule; stress and depression are worse if you are tired.
Holiday stress and mood disorders can be managed with planning. Be strategic in preparing for activities, duties, and responsibilities. As much as possible get around those that support you and limit contact with those who do not. Find joy inside of yourself rather than looking for it from others.
Recovery is a Journey. Enjoy the Ride!