Christmas can be a time of joy. Families and friends come together in celebration as they reflect on the past year and look forward to the upcoming year. However, Christmas can take a toll on your wellness. The turbulent relationship between Christmas and mental health has been documented extensively, as the holidays can trigger depression, anxiety, loneliness, stress, and, for those in recovery, relapse.
The holiday season typically begins around Thanksgiving and does not end until New Year’s Eve. During those five weeks, you may be bombarded with Christmas shopping, event planning, attending parties, and numerous temptations. Overeating, emotional triggers, financial concerns, and disruption in your routine can derail your efforts to stay healthy and sober.
Christmas and Mental Health: Ways to Stay Mentally Strong During the Holidays
Visit Your Therapist
If you are concerned about Christmas and mental health, you may want to schedule a session with your therapist. Revisiting a treatment specialist in your individual therapy program can remind you what it took to get sober and why you are fighting to maintain your recovery from addiction. You can learn how to navigate the holidays and manage your triggers.
Eat Healthy and Exercise
The key to beating depression is to stay active and watch what you eat. Sure, you may load your holiday plate on Thanksgiving or Christmas Day. Just make sure that the occasional binge does not cause you to revert to an unhealthy lifestyle. If it is too cold to exercise outside, try downloading an exercise app, or joining a gym. Staying active keeps you mentally and physically strong.
Take Some Alone Time
Is your seasonal social calendar filling up? Make sure you pencil in some alone time. Try to take some time out to engage in meaningful activities such as:
- Keeping a diary
- Starting a hobby
Being alone for a few hours can help you reflect and recharge your emotional batteries.
Find a Support Group
A huge contributor to mental health during the holidays is finding support from others. If you are in recovery and you need to connect with others, find a support group. If you do not know where to start, then visit your local addiction treatment center. A treatment specialist can give you resources and tell you where groups are meeting in the area. This is especially valuable if you are traveling during the holidays.
Learn to Say No
Your stress level can affect how well you enjoy Christmas and deal with the mental health issues that you experience. One of the best ways to reduce your stress is to say no. If you are a type-A personality that takes on too many responsibilities during the holidays, it’s time to learn how to delegate or walk away. This year, you may want to shift your focus from leadership to volunteering. Simply helping can be as fulfilling as taking charge.
Join an Alumni Program
If you are in recovery, you need all the help you can get to make it through the holidays without relapse. An addiction alumni program can put you in touch with a mentor who can encourage you, keep you motivated, and hold you accountable through the season. Talk to your therapist about how to join an alumni program. Keep in contact with your mentor and reach out if you are feeling tempted to relapse.
Dual Diagnosis is Available at Sunflower Wellness Retreat
At Sunflower Wellness Retreat, we are committed to helping you manage your anxiety or depression symptoms while recovering from addiction. Our dual diagnosis treatment center can help you in all areas of your condition, giving you a better recovery chance. Contact Sunflower Wellness Retreat by calling 855.730.8825 or completing our confidential online form to get started with your treatment program. We can help you learn more about how to manage Christmas and mental health.