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How to Prepare for Holiday Challenges During Recovery

A woman experiencing holiday stress while in addiction recovery.

This time of year is filled with twinkling Christmas lights, fresh baked holiday cookies and neatly wrapped presents. Unfortunately, the holiday season can bring its fair share of stress alongside the merry and joy. This is especially true for people in addiction recovery, the added stress of the holiday season can be dangerous.

All the opportunities to drink or use drugs to cope with any discomfort pose real risks to your recovery. The good news is that these spikes in stress and tempting situations are predictable. That means, you can plan ahead to stay sober this holiday season.

3 Tips for Staying Ahead of the Holiday Stress in Addiction Recovery

1. Get on a Healthy Sleep Schedule Before the Holidays Start

Sleep is one of your best defenses against holiday stress, as it is directly linked to your mood and wellbeing. This means your ability to socialize with friends and family during the holidays is dependent on your sleep schedule.

To set yourself up for holiday success, start practicing a healthy sleep schedule at least one week before the holidays. It’s important that you shoot for an average of eight hours a night and go to bed around the same time every day to help you maintain a consistent sleep schedule. Since sleep can improve your mood and help you manage your stress, you’ll be more able to ward off relapse.

2. Have an Escape Plan in Place

No matter how much you prepare, there’s a chance that the stress or anxiety of the holidays can be too much to handle. For these moments, it’s good to have an escape plan established, so you don’t have to come up with an excuse on the spot.

You’ll want to have a safe place like a bedroom or maybe even your car where you can decompress. From there, it’s important to have a prepared statement you can tell your friends or family. It’s best to be honest and direct. For example, you can simply tell them you’re having a spike in stress or anxiety and need some time alone.

When you get to your safe place, have a healthy stress relieving activity you can do. For example, you could try different guided meditation videos before the holidays. Once you find one you like, bookmark it and use it whenever you feel overwhelmed.

3. Talk with a Loved One in Advance about Your Triggers

Holiday stress can make substance cravings top of mind. The good news is you can be better prepared for them by recruiting a loved one to help you fight off urges during holiday festivities. Start by telling them what your typical cravings are, like seeing others drink or being reminded of certain thoughts or memories. Next, create a code word or signal to indicate to your loved one when you need help. When you give the signal, your loved one can remove you from that situation and help you implement your escape plan.

Don’t Go Through Recovery Alone at Footprints Beachside Recovery

At Footprints Beachside Recovery, we know how difficult the holidays can be when you’re in recovery. We’ve been through addiction ourselves and know there are times in recovery where you need some extra support.

If you have recently relapsed, our family-run addiction treatment center is here to help. Together, we can help you regain what addiction has stolen from you. From residential treatment to relapse prevention and sober living programs, we have a continuum of care ready to support your journey to lasting recovery.

If you’re ready to overcome your addiction, contact our admissions team today.

Have Questions? We're here to help.

(727) 954-3908