The time to relax is when you don’t have time for it.
– Sydney J. Harris
Stress and anxiety can ruin your holidays and your recovery. Setting realistic goals, seeking support and planning ahead can help to lessen the stress this holiday season. Check out the following 7 ways to practice recovery and avoid stress during your holiday festivities!
- Know your limits.
Don’t overextend yourself. Don’t be afraid to set healthy boundaries and know when to say no. Saying yes when you should say no can leave you feeling resentful and overwhelmed.
- Go to a meeting, do step work, call your sponsor.
Engage your support system and beef up your recovery efforts during seasons of high stress. Don’t be afraid to reach out or ask for help when you feel overwhelmed. Take a deep breath and go back to the basics of 12-Step recovery.
- Get some physical exercise, fresh air and plenty of sleep.
Exercise stimulates the feel-good hormone serotonin. Getting out in nature and going for a walk, run or hike can help relieve stress and reduce anxiety. Yoga and meditation are also great ways to refocus, clear your mind and calm your nerves during times of stress. Getting enough sleep is also crucial when avoiding the holiday pressures and being able to think clearly.
- Focus on being grateful.
Making a gratitude list helps put things in perspective. Expressing gratitude or just paying a compliment has a way of lifting others’ spirits by bringing a smile to their face and yours.
- Pray and meditate.
Silent reflection is always a good way to refocus and reduce anxiety. Holidays can be a deeply spiritual time of year. Take time to connect with your higher power or something greater than yourself; it will help you feel calmer and more centered.
Spending time doing service work or volunteering with those less fortunate helps put things into perspective. Wrap gifts for a local charity, volunteer at a homeless shelter, buy a gift for a child in need – whatever adds meaning for you.
- Set realistic expectations.
Focus on fun and relaxation, rather than on creating the perfect table, meal or moment, and you will see your holiday stress melt away. The most precious thing we can give to anyone else is our time and attention. Tune in to the people around you and really be with them, so you don’t miss out on what counts most.