The holidays are a time of both reflection and celebration. Although therapy and recovery might be the main focus of life right now for some, it’s still important for those who are in recovery from a substance use disorder to find ways to enjoy the season. Although the nature of celebrating may have changed in some respects for recovering individuals, going through the holidays in recovery can still be a time to express cheer, gratitude and love for friends, family and, yes, even yourself.
The road to long-term recovery will inevitably present challenges, so take a little time for yourself this holiday season to acknowledge the path you are forging and the positive life changes you are making.
Try a Gratitude Journal
Begin the holiday season with the purchase of a small journal. Each day, write down a few things you are grateful for. Acknowledging these small acts will help you cultivate positivity, which is a great way to begin each day. Gratitude can enhance your recovery journey during the holidays and beyond.
Meditation for Recovery
Spending the holidays in recovery can be stressful when you’re juggling treatment schedules and celebrations. It’s important to set aside time to get away from worries and stress, even if it’s only for 15 to 30 minutes. Create a space for yourself in the most peaceful setting you can find where you can sit quietly to meditate. Use this time to practice mindfulness and to acknowledge and release all negative emotions. This small gift of time and meditation can ultimately help prevent relapse.1
Soothe Yourself With a Long Bath
A long bath can be therapeutic after a stressful day. If you are feeling stressed for any reason during this holiday season, take time out for a relaxing bath. Top it off by listening to soothing music as you soak away the aches and pains of the day. Once you feel calmer, you’ll be able to calmly reflect on the day’s events.
Coffee Dates to Connect With Friends
Call a sibling or good friend and invite them to enjoy a coffee date with you. If you’ve been experiencing anxiety, make it a decaf or a flavorful cup of tea. Reconnecting with people you may have lost touch with can be rewarding, and spending time in a pleasant coffee shop can be energizing.
Holiday Lights to Cheer Your Spirits
Take time to explore the holiday decorations in your town or city. Enjoying the signs of the season will get you out into the world and help you feel part of the holiday celebrations, even if you may feel caught up in your struggles most days. Grab a cup of cocoa and use this sightseeing experience as a pleasant distraction.
Get Some Culture
Take yourself out on a date to see a movie or play. You can also explore a museum or art gallery you’ve always wanted to visit. You can invite someone to join you, but the point is to set aside time to do something positive and rewarding with your time.
There are many ways to celebrate the holidays in recovery. Make a list of activities to ensure that you do something uplifting for yourself each day. Whether it’s ordering your favorite deep dish pizza one wintry evening or buying tickets to a local sporting event, these small acts of self-pampering can alleviate stress and support a positive mindset that will ultimately enhance the treatment process.2