My friend, Jennifer Scott, has the following advice to share with you in order to help you survive the holidays! Take a look!...
Let’s face it — the holidays are the most wonderful and stressful time of year. Catching up with loved ones can be a blessing — or an anxiety-inducing nightmare. For some of us, having a game plan to keep the holidays stress-free and sober is extra important in a society that both glorifies alcohol and uses it as a coping mechanism. Here are five tips to keeping sane (and sober!) this holiday season.
Control your expectations
One theory about why it’s such a stressful time boils down to expectations. The holidays need to be “perfect,” or no one will enjoy them. This just isn’t possible, and accepting that things will go awry beforehand can greatly lower your holiday worries.
Minimize your engagements
A big part of the problem is being spread too thin. You have to see your parents, your grandparents, two aunts, an uncle and that’s just the beginning. With shopping, cooking and traveling, it’s easy to be overloaded. This year, consider skipping the visit with your aunts and uncles and write them heartfelt cards instead. Or choose one and visit the other next year. By minimizing how many people you’ll see, you can cut down your stress.
Schedule some personal time
This can be so hard to do when everyone knows this time of year is about “family.” But even taking one afternoon off to be by yourself and have a long soak in a tub, or a few hours of quiet reading or TV can ease your anxiety and help you enjoy time with your loved ones. If you take a few hours to truly unwind, not only will you be able to enjoy yourself more with those you love, but they’ll enjoy being around you too if you’re not so stressed — think of how you’ve been affected when a family member was overly stressed or in a bad mood! Do everyone a favor and let yourself relax when you need it.
Plan out your “excuses”
The holidays and alcohol often seem synonymous — but to people in addiction recovery, or even those of us who simply don’t drink, there needs to be a separation. This can be difficult if aunt Sally is a notorious busybody, or uncle Joe really hates taking “no” for an answer. By figuring out your excuse early on, you won’t feel that on-the-spot pressure to come up with a lie, or deal with explaining more than you like to people you only see once a year. Know exactly what you’ll say, and maybe even rehearse it in the mirror until you feel sure about yourself and your words.
BYOB —Bring Your Own Buddy
If you aren’t traveling far, but still feel anxious about family gatherings, consider bringing a friend with you — one who knows about your anxiety, one you trust and can rely upon in a stressful pinch. Having a friend there, someone you know you can talk to about anything, can help steer conversation away from topics you don’t want to discuss. Even if they simply provide a hand to squeeze under the table, having a friend with you can make a world of difference.
With these tips in mind, you can handle whatever hurdle is blocking you from enjoying the holidays in peace. Family is important, but it’s also what you make of it — so make it a pleasant, happy one, even if that means only seeing your friends this holiday season. This time of the year is one of the most wonderful and most stressful; take care of yourself so you can usher in the new year with joy.
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com