The holiday season can be a time filled with warmth and joy with a mix of hustle and bustle. For many, this time of year evokes feelings of celebration and togetherness. Yet, for lots of us, the festive season might also bring its share of challenges. You are not alone in this, in recovery we must navigate the holidays while prioritizing our wellbeing. This season calls for self-care, a gentle reminder to focus on yourself during the holiday chaos. Here are some practical tips to help you embrace a sober holiday season and stay safe:

Prioritize Daily Self-Care

With all of the of holiday events and gatherings, maintaining a routine focused on self-care is important to keep you grounded. Incorporating daily practices that improve your wellbeing can offer stability during the holiday season. Embracing activities like meditation, exercise, journaling, and mindfulness gives you support in managing stress and having a sense of balance.

Create a Supportive Environment

Navigating the holiday season in sobriety often involves consciously placing yourself in supportive environments that align with your recovery. Surrounding yourself with understanding friends, family, and your recovery community can significantly reinforce your commitment to recovery. During this time of the year connection with others in recovery can become your lifeline. Many local recovery communities host sober events where you can find likeminded people and have fun!

Mindful Decision Making

When receiving invitations, take a moment to consider the environment and whether it is safe for your recovery. Think about your three circles and if attending an event might be a middle circle behaviour. While some events may be conducive to your wellbeing, others might present triggers that could compromise your safety. It is okay to politely decline those that may jeopardize your recovery. You should always have a safety plan before attending any gathering or event that could be dangerous: Who will I call if I am triggered? Do I have an exit plan if I do not feel safe? Can I bring a sober friend with me? Who will I check-in with?

Establish Healthy Boundaries

Setting healthy boundaries are crucial when interacting with friends and family who may not comprehend the significance of your recovery. Family can be a major trigger thus communicating your needs with clarity is an important piece to navigating the holidays. When discussing your boundaries, aim for clear, respectful communication. Express your needs calmly and assertively. Whatever your boundaries may be, do not feel afraid to stick to them in fear of people pleasing. Your recovery is something that should be protected at all costs.

Stay Out of Isolation

While the holiday season includes events and gatherings for some of us, many of us find the holiday season to be a lonely time of year.  Even if you are involved in festivities, it’s not uncommon to feel disconnected or emotionally distant from others. If you’re experiencing feelings of isolation, seek out opportunities to connect with others who understand your situation. Consider attending support group meetings, connect with your recovery peers and mentors, and don’t be afraid to pick up the phone! During the holiday season there are plenty of volunteering opportunities that can help you branch out into the community and offer a sense of purpose and connection.

Navigating the holiday season in recovery can be challenging, but you can do it and emerge stronger! Employing self-care strategies will enable you to persevere and get through the difficult times. We like to say the opposite of addiction is connection, so remember to reach out to your support network! The holiday season gives us new opportunities for growth.