For many people, the holidays are full of excitement, family, love and joy. However, for others, the holidays is a time that is filled with sadness, self-reflection, loneliness, and anxiety. This can be a really difficult time for many people. This can lead to many people struggling with depression and even turning to substance abuse. The weight of the season could even trigger some people to relapse. It is possible to make it through the holiday season without turning to substance abuse. Take these steps to help avoid relapsing during the holidays.

How-to Avoid Relapsing During the Holidays: Steps to Take

Depression and Stress

The holiday season can be a source of depression and sadness for many people. For example, those who have lost a loved one may be experiencing their first holidays without that special person present. This could make the traditions, celebrations and memories especially painful. Due to COVID-19, holiday plans may look different this year. This could mean that many people are not able to see loved ones over the holidays. This season can also be especially stressful, with financial and personal expectations and commitments. Any of these things could cause depression or stress. These emotions and feelings may end up triggering some people to relapse.

Plan Ahead

There are some steps you can take to prepare yourself for the risk of relapsing during the holidays. First, start by acknowledging your feelings. If someone close to you passed away, it is okay to grieve. You do not have to force yourself to be happy just because it is the holidays. Next, reach out to others around you. If you are feeling lonely, seek out other people. Religious organizations or other communities can be great options if you are unable to be around loved ones. If you are feeling stressed out, talk to a friend or family member about your concerns. Practice gratitude, and give back to the community around you. Volunteer at a shelter, food pantry, or charity. This will help you connect with others and practice joy even though you are hurting.

Avoid situations that could make you vulnerable. Do not go around people who will criticize you or those who will tempt you to use or have a drink. If you are in a social situation, go ahead and have a non-alcoholic drink in your hand so that you won’t risk having someone offer to make you a drink. Practice self-care this season. Exercise, eat properly, and take care of your mind. This will help keep you in the right mental space. Most importantly, remember that if you start to struggle, do not be afraid to seek help.