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Staying Sober: 10 Activities to Help Your Loved One Stay Busy During the Holidays

Two women cooking together and having fun during the holiday season.

As Andy Williams said in his 1963 hit, the holidays are the “most wonderful time of the year.” After all, the holiday season is full of beautiful Christmas lights, delicious food and enjoyable get-togethers with family and friends.
At least, that’s how you may view the holidays. Your spouse, child or loved one who is in recovery may not view this season the same way.

The holidays can be extremely challenging for someone in recovery. For starters, alcohol and sugary treats and desserts that would disrupt their sobriety may be constant, front-and-center temptations. And second, the holidays can bring up feelings of anxiety or distressing memories that may tempt your loved one to relapse.

You obviously want your loved one to enjoy the holidays with you. But what can you do to help them relax and not think about addiction? We’ve got 10 activities that can keep your loved one busy during the holidays!

Productive Things to Do During the Holidays

Staying busy can help prevent boredom and keep your loved one’s mind off alcohol and drugs, especially if this is their first holiday season in recovery. Here are 10 ideas that can keep your loved one distracted, help them enjoy themselves and bring you closer together.

1. Cook Holiday Meals and Bake Together. There’s no better place to bond with your loved one than the kitchen! If you’re hosting Christmas this year or if you need to prepare a dessert for a holiday party, ask your loved one to help you. This will keep them busy and help the two of you prepare dishes that are healthy and addiction recovery-friendly.

2. Spend Afternoons Out in Nature. Spending time outside can be extremely calming and beneficial for people in recovery. If you’re a native of Florida, spend days with your loved one at the beach. If you’re in a colder part of the country, bundle up and go hiking through local metroparks or national forests.

3. Go to the Gym Together. Exercise is good for the body and mind, especially for your loved one in recovery. For example, working out increases strength and helps to release feel-good chemicals in the brain. The challenge is finding the motivation and time to exercise. Together, you and your loved one will find the experience more enjoyable and keep each other inspired.

4. Begin a New Project. What are your loved one’s passions? Do they like to play an instrument, or do they enjoy competing in a sport? Maybe they’ve always wanted to start a blog or begin their own business. Encourage them to pursue those interests during the holidays. For example, help them find a sports league to join or help them set up their own website for their blog or personal business.

5. Volunteer at an Animal Shelter. Interacting with animals can help relieve stress, anxiety and trauma. And even if your loved one doesn’t suffer from an underlying mental health disorder, petting and playing with animals helps you feel good. If your loved one is looking for something to do this holiday season, encourage them to give back by volunteering at the local animal shelter.

6. Do Holiday Shopping Together. Giving to others always feels more rewarding than receiving. Take your loved one holiday shopping and have them help you pick out presents for family and friends.

7. Decorate the House for Christmas. Decorating your home for the holidays is one of the best ways to put you in the Christmas spirit. This is also a project that your loved one can be in control of and feel accomplished about when done. Let them pick out decorations at the store and encourage them to get creative and make some of their own decorations – after all, art is also very therapeutic!

8. Start a New Book Series. Storytelling has a way of reigniting our imagination and transporting us to worlds full of magic and wonder. Help your loved one find a book series to read and join them in the reading to help them stay motivated. If your loved one is open to the idea but doesn’t know where to start, help them find a book club to join at the local library.

9. Go Ice Skating. Whether you live someplace that gets snow or not, you can always find an ice rink that offers ice skating! This is a fun and festive activity that can help your loved one get some exercise and put them in the holiday spirit.

10. Go to AA Meetings with Your Loved One. Your loved one’s AA meetings are important to their recovery. If they’re struggling this holiday season, ask if you can attend the meetings with them. Communicate that you simply want to support them as much as you can. If open to the idea, going to AA meetings with your loved one can help them feel loved and more motivated to maintain their recovery.

Get Addiction Treatment for Your Loved One at Footprints Beachside Recovery

At Footprints Beachside Recovery, we understand that the holidays aren’t always a happy or wonderful time of year for those in recovery. And even if your loved one does enjoy the holiday season, there may be a lot of temptations that can put their sobriety in danger.

If your loved one is struggling to maintain their recovery or if they’ve already relapsed, our team at Footprints Beachside Recovery can help. When your loved one comes to our family-owned and operated treatment center in Florida, they will learn how to get back to a life where they aren’t controlled by substance abuse or crippled by mental health disorders.

Talk to one of our team members today to learn more about our treatment programs and how we can help your loved one recover from addiction.

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