Like anything that’s going to be difficult, it’s always better to be prepared. If you know that this time of the year is a difficult one, why not have some coping tools you can rely on when the going gets tough. This article has gathered together a list of tools that you can use when you’re feeling depressed, manic, lonely, sad, or simply down on yourself.
Try not to isolate. When we are not feeling well emotionally, it’s easy to decide to stay home. However, too much loneliness can actually worsen feelings of depression and low self worth, which can create triggers to drink or use drugs. If you don’t want to be around friends and family, go out and listen to holiday music, attend a local neighborhood event, or volunteer your time to help others.
Stay within your budget when shopping for gifts. One of the biggest concerns that can contribute to depression, anxiety, and substance use is financial worry. Don’t stress yourself out if you don’t have the money for gifts. In fact, if you’re spending money you don’t have, then you’re only creating heartache for yourself later.
Don’t forget to exercise. It’s been proven that exercise not only helps a person when feeling depressed, but it can also prevent depression and sadness. Exercise is a great immune booster; it creates endorphins, and helps create more neurons in the brain. If you’re experiencing cravings to drink or use drugs, try to redirect your mind to the gym. A good workout can quickly change the way you feel.
Don’t try to do too much. Having a full to-do list can create anxiety, and for many people, too much stress leads to cravings. Give yourself plenty of time to relax, do nothing, and enjoy the season!
Plan ahead. If you’re worried about spending time with others that might trigger you, plan to bring someone that can look out for you. If you’re concerned about being at a party with alcohol, prepare ahead of time how you’re going to answer if someone asks why you’re not drinking. Planning ahead for moments that you think might be triggering can prevent triggers, cravings, and emotional distress.
Accept others for who they are. If you know that you’re going to see someone who has always made you feel bad, rather than try to ignore them or retaliate, simply accept them for who they are. Accept them for being aggressive, rude, or unkind. If that feels too difficult, you can leave. Go for a walk. Or take a drive.
Focus on your breathing. The above tools are those that you can use to plan for a sober and safe holiday season. However, you might need tools to use right in the moment of anxiety, depression, triggers, or cravings. In these moments, you can breathe, get outside and get some fresh air, meditate, practice yoga, get creative with paints or your journal. Having some tools to use right in the moment can help avoid relapse and curb emotional stress.
These are some suggestions and tips on how to stay safe and sober this holiday season. By planning ahead and having the right tools by your side you can stay happy, healthy, and sober.
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