The holidays are meant to be a time of happiness, yet many people suffer from depression during the holiday season, which brings about feelings of loneliness and sadness. But, for those who are in recovery, the symptoms of depression may increase, which commonly triggers a relapse. The holidays, unfortunately, often evokes overwhelming stress and busier days that do not leave time for the things that help to keep sober living less overwhelming. Post-holidays may be difficult for someone in recovery to get over the stress and depression they experienced during the past month or so leading up to and during the holidays. The good news is there are things you can do to help relieve the symptoms of the post-holiday blues.
Stick to Your Schedule
One of the most important things you can do is to stick with your recovery plan and regular routine, even when things get overly busy. Holiday plans and a busier schedule often make it easier to put off doing what you typically do as a part of your plan for sober living, but it is critical that regardless of how busy you are, to follow your plan. In fact, it is even better if you increase your meetings, especially if you are thinking about using. Create a day-by-day calendar for the holidays and do not stray from it.
During the holidays, you may find yourself surrounded by sweets and larger meals than you are not typically accustomed to having. When you aren’t used to indulging in heavy foods, sweets and caffeine, you may feel less energetic as well as depressed about the extra weight you may have gained or disappointed about breaking your routine, which may lead to thoughts of a relapse. Instead, make time to exercise, go easy on the sweets and eat healthy, well-balanced meals. It is important not to deprive yourself of a few treats, but remember that moderation is the key. Make sure to get plenty of rest to help avoid fatigue and try to plan ahead with holiday activities, such as shopping for gifts and entertaining.
Part of sober living is taking care of you. Remember to take some quiet time every day to meditate, go to a meeting and reach out to your spiritual advisor, sponsor or support group. Spending time with others in recovery is a great way for you to realize and remember your personal limits. Helping others is a great way to beat holiday depression, so this is a great time to do something nice for someone who may be less fortunate. Consider helping out at a local toy drive or food drive, or take food or blankets to the homeless or volunteer to help at a shelter.
During the holidays as well as after the holidays, is a great time to treat yourself to a gift. Visit My 12 Step Store to find the perfect gift to celebrate sober living.