The winter holidays bring up many thoughts of joy and mirth for many people around the world. Who doesn’t smell cinnamon and spice, hams and turkeys baking, sweet desserts, and savory fillings when they think of this time of year? However, this time of the year can also bring the dreaded holiday blues.
For some, the experience is different. Not everyone experiences the winter holidays in the same way. For those who don’t have those things to look forward to, it can be a frightening time. Even the stresses of holiday shopping and the obligations the season brings can make us lose our wonder.
At this time of year, it is essential to keep your mind on what matters to maintain your sanity. You don’t need to be perfect; no one expects that of you. It is a time to seek kindness and respond in kind, to keep a hold of what matters, and most importantly, to be kind and forgiving of yourself.
As an alumnus of Renaissance Ranch and a person in recovery, you may face some unique problems and uncertainty during the holidays. Read on as we discuss some of these issues and give tips on working through the holiday blues.
Managing Mental Health During the Holiday Season
Managing mental health during the holidays can be challenging. However, taking care of yourself is worth the effort. After all, the holidays bring you together with loved ones, the comforts of home, food, friends, and times of joy and happiness.
Remember your goal of sober living. No matter the stresses or the temptations you might encounter on the holiday table, you are more important. You can make a choice to have a healthy and safe holiday.
The Holiday Blues and You
Loneliness is common during the holiday season. Switching from big get-togethers to being alone can be a shock to your system and mental health. However, you are not alone. You are a part of a community of alumni who stand united no matter the season.
For most people, stress increases during the holidays. This can lead to sickness and depression. At all the get-togethers, you may be confronted with the ultimate temptations and vices. Staying clean and sober is important. Do not fall victim to the holiday blues. Talk to your loved ones about your needs, which can help you keep yourself safe.
Tips for Coping With Holiday Blues
During the holiday season, stress can often reach a zenith. Unintentionally, you may feel burdened with obligations to family and friends. Even during the happiest time of the year, people can be rude and unruly in crowds. When the holiday blues get you down, remember these tips to ground yourself:
Be Honest About How You Feel
Lots of things can happen during the holidays that get you down. The loss of a loved one, not being able to celebrate with those you love, or just stress can make you feel sad. That is okay. Your feelings are valid. Be honest with those around you about why you feel this way, especially your brothers in the program.
Reach Out When You Need Help
Don’t be afraid to contact your peers and mentors in the Band of Brothers. They are there for you, during the holidays and throughout the year. If something is going on during a holiday get-together, tell your friends and family what is bothering you. Reach out, and you will be surprised how many are there to listen.
Be Realistic With Yourself
You are not superman, and no one expects you to be. The holidays are not about getting everything. They are about being thankful for love and friendship. If you need time alone, that’s okay too. You deserve to be loved too.
You can learn to manage your life during this joyous but chaotic season. Just remember:
- Stay active and work off that stress
- Problem-solve in the moment
- Relax and enjoy time with others or by yourself
- Express how you feel
- Practice good time management
- Think positively
- Have fun
Holiday Blues to Holiday Bells
Sometimes the simplest things can help turn the holiday blues into holiday bells. It may seem daunting, but making a few simple changes can add happiness back into the holidays.
One way that you can get over the holiday blues is by commemorating a loved one who has been lost. During holiday celebrations, don’t be afraid to acknowledge those who are no longer with you. It’s okay to miss them and to share grief with family and friends who also grieve their loss. Doing this together can make all of you feel better.
Set reasonable boundaries. Your family and friends know that as an alumnus, you face some unique challenges at any get-together. Let them know what your needs are and what they can do to help you stay sober during this season.
Stay connected with your loved ones, whether they are your family, friends, found family, or peers from your program. Volunteer and feed the hungry. Doing simple acts of kindness and being with those you love can make this holiday season joyful and special, no matter the struggles you face.
The holiday season brings moments of joy and happiness to so many people. However, for some people, the holidays can be a time when they feel sad, lonely, and isolated. During the holidays, we can feel like we are outside looking in, watching as others have fun while we remain alone. During this time, you may feel increased anxiety, depression, and negative self-reflection. If you feel this way, remember that you are never alone. As an alumnus, you are one of a family of brothers. You can rely on your friends, peers, and mentors at Renaissance Ranch to get through the holiday blues. Whenever you need to talk, call your brothers at (801) 308-8898.