Stress around the holidays is as typical as Santa and his sleigh. From the expectations of buying the perfect gifts to all the social gatherings and holiday parties, finding time to breath and decompress can seem like an impossible task. Add the stress of managing a substance use disorder and the holidays can become the perfect recipe for an unexpected relapse incident.

While experiencing stress and anxiety around this time of year is a common occurrence, finding a way to avoid a setback along your recovery journey is achievable with the proper planning and preparation. Having a plan in place to address the temptation to relapse before it occurs is the perfect way to enjoy the most wonderful time of the year.

Ways to Deal with Holiday Stress

The reason so many people living with addiction find themselves facing the temptation to relapse around this time of year is because, as human beings, we tend to fall back into comfortable habits when we are faced with personal stressors.

For someone who lives with a substance addiction, the holidays can provide an easy excuse to pour an extra drink or get high to ‘calm the nerves’ and help them ‘make it through the season.’ The key is to find healthy ways to keep cravings at bay and stand strong in your sobriety.

Holiday Stress Tips

  • Take a Break from Mandatory Family Time
    Making the most of holiday time spent with your extended family and friends is usually everyone’s goal during this time of year. However, finding moments to calm your mind alone is essential. Perhaps you can grab a tea or step outside to breath in the fresh air. That quick break from the group can be just what you need to reset your mental and emotional self and provide perspective.

While the holidays are typically a very social time of year, don’t feel the pressure to put too much on yourself all the time. Your social skills and mental health need a rest sometimes, so take one.

  • Actively Practice Being Grateful
    Try not to take anything for granted because there is always something or someone to be grateful for in your life. Even if you are missing someone this season, being grateful for the people who are still with you is a great way to reframe somber moments.

A great way to change a down mindset is to have something to look forward to at the start or end of each day. That could be a specially prepared latte, a soothing shower, listening to your favorite band, taking a mindful walk outside or even working on a hobby.

It is simply important to find enjoyment while you’re doing it. This is because when you engage in something you enjoy, you dramatically reduce the stress you may be feeling.

  • Take Time to Invest in Your Wellbeing
    It’s common to experience an increase in obligations and events during the holiday season. Planning, shopping and preparations routinely take up a significant amount of time and can cause a fair amount of stress. In addition, it’s normal to increase your focus on others and it becomes easy to neglect yourself in the process.

If you want to be able to genuinely enjoy your time with friends and family, it’s essential that you take care of yourself. Investing in your well-being will allow you to be more present, engaged, energized, helpful and healthy. This can mean scheduling time to work out or finding moments to practice mindfulness. Whatever it is, the key is to purposefully focus on your physical and mental health, so you can manage your stress and appreciate time with those around you.

How to Manage Holiday Stress When Addiction is Already in the Picture

If you are already finding yourself feeling stressed out and overwhelmed, it is important to acknowledge those emotions and reach out for help. It is common for co-occurring disorders to flare up when stressful times set in. This can drive someone with addictive impulses back toward the very drugs or alcohol that exacerbates the problems being experienced.

This is because mental health issues – like anxiety and depression – routinely drive people to self-medicate, thinking they are helping themselves when, in reality, they are significantly compounding the problem. Fortunately, there are holistic treatment options that can help. These options are rooted in proven clinical techniques and trainings, which can address your mental health issues and addiction in a safe and secure environment.

The key is to not wait until the problem grows out of control, but to face your disease early on with the help of a clinically trained treatment staff. This will enable you to gain the support and guidance you need to get your life back on track for all the celebrations and holidays to come.

Holistic Drug and Alcohol Addiction Treatment at Ranch Creek Recovery

From all of us at Ranch Creek Recovery, we wish you a safe and truly wonderful holiday season. If you’ve struggled with addiction in the past, always remind yourself of how strong you are and how far you’ve come.

Should you find yourself in a situation where your substance of choice has crept back into your life, you need to get back on track as soon as possible – and we’re here for you. At Ranch Creek Recovery, we address addiction recovery and relapse prevention head on through our non-12-step, individualized, holistic addiction treatment programs.

Our team of treatment experts will work one-on-one with you to create a custom treatment and recovery plan that will help you feel confident and ready to re-enter your sober life. Have questions? We’re here to help in any way we can. Contact us today.