Staying Calm During the Holidays

Tips for Avoiding Stress and Substance Use During Festive Get-Togethers and Other Holiday Events

With Thanksgiving in the rearview mirror, all eyes are focused on the December holidays. No matter what you celebrate, the holiday season can bring stress and anxiety to even the most level-headed person. Whether you are overspending an already strapped budget or having family in town, there are numerous triggers that could leave you feeling frustrated.

Avoiding these triggers may sound easy, but it can be difficult to achieve. It is important to take time for yourself and prioritize your mental and physical health throughout the end of the year. If you find yourself leaning on alcohol or drugs to help get you through the holidays, it is never too early to seek treatment. There are numerous treatment options available.

Tips for remaining calm during the holidays:

    • Deep breaths, this too shall pass. Take a minute to walk away from a stressful situation.
    • Be willing to say no. People normally feel a lot of pressure during the holiday season to say yes to everything. Stand up for yourself and your loved ones by being willing to pass on a get-together that you know adds more stress than needed.
    • Focus on what makes you happy. Find the things that you love about the holiday season. Maybe it is holiday movies or going to see Christmas lights, whatever it is embrace that and be sure to take the time to enjoy that festivity.
    • Plan ahead. If you are in sobriety, plan ahead for parties. Bring your own drink and have an exit plan if you begin to feel uncomfortable.
    • Get some exercise. During the holidays it can be easy to stop exercising, after all, it is the busiest time of the year. But that may be a big mistake for your mental health. Exercising is key to staying mentally and physically fit.
    • Do something for others. Giving back is an essential component to the holidays. Think of ways that you can help loved ones or your community to do your mind and soul some good.