The holiday season is meant to be a time for celebration. For those in recovery, however, this season could be challenging to navigate. Fears of triggers or relapse may be on the mind, and when family comes together, it could be a stressful time for everyone involved.
If you’re in recovery during the holiday season, you don’t have to let fear and stress consume you. With the right tools and effort, you can make this holiday season in recovery one of the best.
The Importance of Boundaries During the Holiday Season
If you’re in recovery, you have likely heard of the value of setting healthy boundaries. Boundary setting helps you to identify and honor your values. In turn, they help you to stay mentally, physically, and emotionally healthy. Boundaries are crucial for those in recovery, especially during the holidays. When you set strong boundaries with both your loved ones and yourself, you will be able to get much more enjoyment out of the season.
Boundaries With Loved Ones
If you’re heading home for the holidays, it’s more important than ever to be honest with your loved ones about the healthy boundaries that you expect. This is even more vital if this is your first time coming home or seeing your family since you began your recovery journey. Undoubtedly, your loved ones may also feel a bit anxious about this time. Once you “break the ice” and let your loved ones know your boundaries, it is likely that everyone will be able to enjoy their time together much more.
Even if this isn’t the first time you’re celebrating the holidays in recovery, healthy boundaries should still be established. If you feel comfortable enough to do so, talk to your loved ones about what you’re going through so they know what to expect. Let them know what you will not tolerate, like being pressured to drink. You can also tell them if certain things trigger you so they can be avoided.
Even though healthy boundaries with loved ones are extremely important, your own personal boundaries should not be overlooked. Knowing when and how to set personal boundaries will strengthen your confidence in yourself and your sobriety.
To set personal boundaries, you should be honest with yourself about what you will and will not put up with during the holiday season. For example, if you know that a relative is a heavy drinker, you can set a personal boundary to stay away from that person, no matter what. Other personal boundaries may include how you handle your triggers and the kind of behavior you will not tolerate from family and other loved ones.
Learning How to Manage Stress
The holidays are inevitably stressful. There’s something about this time of year that can bring out the worst in people, including family fights and high tensions.
If you’re in recovery, you’ve already been through a lot, so you deserve to enjoy this time and protect your sobriety. You can do this by learning stress reduction methods to help prevent relapse and handle tense situations.
Mindfulness and Meditation
Mindfulness and meditation are often grouped together as two great ways to handle stress and live in the moment. For those in recovery, these two methods can help you focus on the joy of the holidays and keep your mind off of substances.
Mindfulness is when you train your mind to focus on the present moment. Mindfulness can be used during your daily activities, like walking, eating, or even brushing your teeth.
Mindfulness, including mindfulness-based treatments, is associated with a number of health benefits. Some of these benefits include reductions in anxiety and depression, lowered blood pressure, and improved sleep.
Meditation is a form of mindfulness where you observe the sensations in your body, as well as thoughts and emotions, without judgment. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), “The term ‘meditation‘ refers to a variety of practices that focus on mind and body integration and are used to calm the mind and enhance overall well-being.”
Journaling is a therapeutic practice that can help you detach from stressful situations and strengthen your relationship with yourself. If you’re in recovery during the holiday season, you can use journaling to track your progress or express heavy thoughts and emotions that may come up.
It’s no secret that exercise is beneficial for both physical and mental health.
Exercise is not defined by intense workouts. Research shows that adults who are anxious can engage in small amounts of exercise throughout the week to experience immediate reductions in their symptoms. Additionally, physical activity can improve symptoms of other conditions, such as depression.
During the holiday season, try to make it a point to get some exercise outside. This will help you unplug from stressful situations, which can prevent relapse and strengthen your recovery process.
The Value of Recovery Support
During the holidays, stressful situations and an abundance of alcohol can be the perfect recipe for relapse. Strong support systems will allow you to enjoy the season and ensure lasting sobriety.
Outpatient addiction treatment programs can offer you support during the holiday season. Many of these programs contain group therapy, where you can talk about your struggles and find support and accountability.
When searching for the right outpatient program, you may want to find one that offers recovery coaching. Recovery coaching is a great tool that will help keep you accountable and focused on your goals.
If you ever feel like you’re on the verge of relapse or unable to handle a stressful situation, you can confide in your recovery coach instead of derailing your progress. Your recovery coach can be a strong pillar of support to get through the holiday season. This will help bolster your confidence in yourself and your recovery throughout the holidays and beyond.
The holiday season can often be a time of stress and negativity, especially for those in recovery. Fears of relapse and anxiety may come up when seeing your loved ones, but you don’t have to let this stress consume you. At Lighthouse Recovery Texas, our outpatient programs contain intensive group therapy in groups no larger than eight people. Small groups like these will ensure your voice is truly heard as you find support in others who understand your struggles. Every single client at Lighthouse will also be matched with a recovery coach to help them stay accountable and lend support when it’s needed the most. Call us today at (214) 396-0259.