Handling stress over the holidays can become increasingly difficult over time and added distressing factor to the equation can be when you are an alcoholic and/or addict. When the drink and/or drug is no longer a viable option and you are celebrating your first Thanksgiving newly clean and sober, you may cringe in fear, being unsure of what to expect. How do you cope with the holidays and the insanity of the disease of addiction simultaneously?
Tips for Handling Stress on Thanksgiving
No matter where you are or what you end up doing, the most helpful piece of advice for handling stress on the holiday might be to take a minute to calm yourself if you notice that you are becoming agitated. If you see that you have become overwhelmed, disgruntled, or upset, try going for a walk, contacting a friend who can get you out of your unhealthy head space, writing down your thoughts, or another healthy coping mechanism [link] to take care of the on-coming negativity. This will get you back into the better state of mind so that you can focus on having gratitude, which is what Thanksgiving is really all about.
Balance and moderation are words that an individual dealing with addiction might have a difficult time grasping but it is important to find a healthy median between giving back enough and then learning when to say “no.” Overexerting yourself and putting strenuous effort into activities that you simply aren’t enthralled over partaking in can place heavy weight on your shoulders and throw you into physical exhaustion. This can bring unwanted distress and put intense strain into your life. Know that it is okay for you to decline activities if you know that you have outdone and overbooked yourself. Don’t take on more than you can handle over the holiday season, especially if you notice yourself becoming overwhelmed. After all, being clean and sober over the holidays can be enough of a stress on its own at times, particularly if you end up around others who are drinking in front of you to celebrate. Handling stress over the holidays can be difficult enough, so if you need to set a boundary by politely turning down some requests, don’t get yourself worked up over it. It’s better to turn them down than to commit to something that you know you won’t be able to put all your efforts into without thrusting all your energy into it and endangering your own mental health in the process.
You may be placed in a situation with family, friends, and/or others that causes you to feel discontent because they aren’t acting according to your personal preference. This is where you truly have to take a step back and use the tools that you have gained in your recovery process to accept the things that are simply out of your control that you cannot change. Accepting life on life’s terms, particularly in situations where arguments may arise will help a disturbance find its way to ease and lay at rest. This will be important when it comes to handling stress on holidays like Thanksgiving because you will want to be able to enjoy focusing on being present in the moment and grateful for the joyous, happy, and free life that sobriety has provided you.
Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday that allows you to truly be appreciative of the gifts of recovery. These simple ways of handling stress to redirect your thinking and keep a healthy mindset in tact will further benefit you on your road to recovery.