Anxiety, Stress & Relapse During the Holidays

Anxiety, Stress & Relapse During the Holidays

Counseling Vermont

Tips to Manage Anxiety, Stress, Relapse

For many the holidays are a time of excitement, others find that the holidays can be a source of stress, anxiety, and can be a trigger for substance abuse or relapse.  Vermont, especially the rural areas, may present its own challenges.  For example, if your at Aunt Suzy’s house in the middle the country it might be difficult to break away from the festivities without pre-planning.  Here’s some ideas to help you find peace this holiday season:

Find Balance

Pick and choose the holiday events that you would like to attend.

  • Don’t over obligate yourself
  • Choose events that are safe for your recovery or have a plan in place
  • Breathe… right I know easier said than done… 3 deep breaths will give you the ability to shut off your anxiety enough to access your logical brain functions

Have An Exit Strategy

Make a plan with a friend, spouse, or family member if you’re feeling uncomfortable going to an event.  If you become overwhelmed take a break, step out of the festivities and breath.  Here’s some exit ideas on creating an exit strategy:

  • Have to go home to let the dog out?
  • Need to check your voicemail on your phone?
    • Find a calm quiet location to “check your messages”
  • Forget to turn off stove or something else at the house?
    • Take a minute to go back and check giving you space and time to re-energize between holiday gatherings
  • Need to get the kids home before their bewitching hour?
    • Keeping your children on the same bedtime routine or as much as you can will reduce their stress thus helping you stay balanced

 

Start New Traditions

New traditions for yourself and your family help provide structure and consistency in your daily routine.  Take the opportunity to build the holiday traditions you would like to have ongoing.  Check out these ideas:

  • Go in search of the best Christmas light display
  • Go for a walk in the country
  • Bake cookies
  • Make gingerbread houses
  • Pick your favorite holiday movies and watch them together as a family
  • Volunteer
  • Have sober gathering

Take Time For Yourself

While your busy engaging in holiday fun.  Don’t forget to:

  • Sleep
    • Keep your sleep as consistent as possible
    • Not having enough sleep can increase your anxiety
  • Ask for help
    • If you need help; ASK!
    • Don’t assume that others are too busy ask for help and support
  • Eat a balanced meal
    • Skipping or not eating a meal can increase your anxiety
    • Eating too much carbohydrates (cookies) can give you a burst of energy, but leave you feeling down and out when once you have burned up the energy

What other things do you do to manage the holidays in Vermont?  Comment below!

 

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