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5 Tips for Managing Holiday Stress in Recovery and Avoiding Relapse

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The holiday season is a busy and exciting time. With family gatherings, office parties, and community events, the holiday festivities never seem to end, but this time of year can also be stressful. Financial concerns, strained family relationships, and packed schedules can all lead to high-stress levels that can feel overwhelming. For people who recently left residential treatment and are in early recovery, this holiday stress can be especially problematic.

Holiday Stress Management Tips for Addiction Recovery

Stress is a common relapse trigger for people in recovery. When their stress levels get too high, they may be tempted to turn to drugs or alcohol to relax like they did in the past. To keep these drug cravings at bay and avoid relapse, these tips on managing holiday stress in recovery may help.

1. Get Organized

One of the biggest factors that contributes to stress during the holidays is a growing to-do list. You may have multiple events to go to, gifts to buy, festivities to plan, and possibly evening outpatient treatment to attend. Without a realistic schedule and outline, this list can be overwhelming. Set goals and deadlines for yourself so that not everything gets left to the last minute. A planned schedule can also warn you ahead of time when you are overcommitted.

2. Don’t Overcommit

Learning how to combat holiday stress in sobriety may be as simple as saying no. During the holidays, you may be invited to several events, asked to volunteer, or encouraged to take on added projects. While you may want to appease others, taking on too many responsibilities will cause your stress levels to soar. Prioritize your commitments and only take on what you can reasonably handle.

3. Practice Gratitude

One of the best ways to manage stress during the holiday season is to practice gratitude. Take some time each day to recognize the blessings in your life. It can also be helpful to reflect on your recovery journey and how far you have come. Being thankful for what you do have can help put stressful situations into perspective when the holidays get hectic.

4. Practice Self-Care

It is easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays and neglect your needs. Continue to practice healthy habits like regular exercise, a healthy diet, and a good sleep routine. It is also important to focus on your mental well-being. Relaxation techniques as well as just taking the time to do something you enjoy can help drastically decrease stress levels.

5. Ask for Help

Do not wait until the stress of the holiday season becomes too overwhelming to ask for help. Managing holiday stress in recovery is not something you need to do alone. Along with relying on friends and family, there are plenty of resources that you can turn to for help including support groups, books, online forums, or a professional. The holiday season can be a great time of the year, but it can also lead to high-stress levels that can put your sobriety at risk. Learning how to handle holiday stress in recovery could help you stay on track and find joy this holiday season. If you do relapse, it doesn’t have to be the end of your sobriety. At Woodland Recovery Center, we could help you get back on track.