Welcome to Podcast Episode 41 (listen here) on how to survive the holidays while being happy and not worrying about your waistline in the process!
Let’s not kid ourselves, the holidays aren’t the “happiest time of the year” for recovering alcoholics and addicts. It’s the time of year when most relapses occur and some of us slip into our deepest depressions. Whether it’s past trauma, being triggered by family, or just the general change in weather and light, it’s a tough time for so many in recovery. What if there’s a better way? One that doesn’t involve self-medicating or relapsing. As a bonus, what if you could get through the holidays without adding those extra holiday treat pounds?
We’ve found a better way to cope with the holidays and we’d like to share these tips with you in the hopes that your holidays turn out to be merry and joyful (and most of all sober!)
Surviving the Holidays: Mindfulness
Perhaps we’re beginning to sound like a broken record on this whole “mindfulness” thing, but that’s only because it works! We think the number one key to finding happiness is through mindfulness and meditation, ESPECIALLY during the holidays. Click here to check out our recent Mindfulness For Beginners podcast.
Drop Expectations: Other people are not responsible for your happiness. Lower your expectations of how you think people should behave and watch your peace and serenity soar!
Meditate: Sit down and get quiet whether it’s one minute or thirty minutes. Practice it everyday. Meditation is a muscle and it needs to be worked often.
Don’t react, instead respond: If you find yourself in family squabbles, take a time out and breathe.
Surviving the Holidays: Planning
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” –Benjamin Franklin
Like every scout motto, be prepared. Setting yourself up for success is best done by planning and the holidays are no exception!
Get Plenty of Sleep: Sugar cravings are far less when you’re well rested.
Don’t Skip Meals: Eat a healthy breakfast, a full lunch, and have a snack before you go to parties. If it’s a potluck, bring a protein dish.
Don’t Be Restrictive: Survey the food in front of you and eat as much of the foods you’ve told yourself are okay for you to eat. Be flexible and don’t be black and white about what you eat that it affects your ability to enjoy yourself. If you’ve decided you aren’t having sugar before you go to the party, take food for yourself and make sure you’re full when you go.
Save Carbs for Night: Leaves you less time during the day to get into a binge mentality. It’s better for blood sugar regulation to eat carbs or any amount of sugar at night. We maintain our fat burning mode during the day without carbohydrates.
Don’t Make Food the Focus: Avoid the treat table. Don’t snack mindlessly or stress eat.
Drink Water: Stay hydrated!
Have an Exit Strategy: Drive your own car in case you’re in an uncomfortable situation.
Avoid Family Members in Active Addiction if Triggering: Keep visits brief or don’t visit at all if you feel that you’re recovery is in danger, especially in early sobriety.
Surviving the Holidays: Movement
Walk: We’re guessing you’re not the least bit surprised that we put this first. If the weather is bad where you live, try to find a treadmill at a gym or go walk at the mall. Yes, that’s a thing! Some malls even open an hour early to let people walk before the stores open.
Surviving the Holidays: Final Thoughts
Stick Close to Recovery: Whatever your method of sobriety, throw yourself deep into it.
Perform Service Work: There are so many service opportunities this time of year. Nothing takes us out of our own struggles, like being of service to others.
Don’t Beat Yourself Up: If you happen to end up face down in a table full of cake, don’t fall into the shame cycle. Pick yourself up, dust off the donut dust and start over!
Take the Pressure Off: Do what you can and don’t be a perfectionist.