Socks in front of Christmas tree

The holiday season can present heightened challenges to sobriety. However, there are many strategies available to help manage seasonal stress and triggers. A big part of relieving holiday-induced stress comes from self-care. Developing an effective self-care plan can help you manage and overcome holiday triggers and enable you to engage in the spirit of the season.

Use these tools to build a successful holiday self-care strategy: 

Recovery First

Make your sobriety the priority by maintaining your recovery program and schedule. Go to an AA meeting or support group every day if you can. Adjust your meeting schedule if you need to, but do not skip. Skipping out on your recovery norms can put your sobriety on a slippery slope as the season progresses. Straying from your recovery program and schedule will weaken your ability to power through holiday triggers. Working your recovery program is the ultimate self-care practice.

Meditate

Meditation is a powerful option for self-care. In AA, Step 11 tells us, “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with god as we understand him…” Take control of your thoughts and emotions with a meditation practice. Even five minutes a day can make the difference. Meditation will calm your mind and enhance your spiritual health. As you build your routine, expand your meditation practice.

Stay Active

Staying active is an essential self-care strategy. Throw on some layers and take a brisk walk outside or hit the gym and sweat out your stress. A healthy body will monumentally boost your ability to stay on track with your recovery. In addition, during the holidays, regular workouts will lessen the guilt of indulging in extra calories.

Treat Yourself

You have worked hard on your recovery. Reward yourself with things that bring you joy. Self-care also includes indulging in the best that the holiday season has to offer – in moderation. Enjoy the sweets and comfort foods. Schedule a spa day or reserve tickets to a holiday performance or movie. Bring friends from your recovery community.

Give Back

Take care of yourself by taking care of others. There are countless opportunities to serve your community during December. Homeless shelters, recovery programs, community toy drives – volunteer to help others this season and stay out of your head. Participate in charitable giving or adopt someone who could use some holiday hope and cheer. Keep a check on your sober friends and offer support. Do something that is good for humanity and your recovery this season.

Remember that recovery provides the opportunity to enhance your holiday experience in incredible, powerful and hopeful ways – make every effort to leverage your ongoing support community and self-care plan to celebrate the season while staying focused on your recovery journey and avoiding relapse.