Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Tips to Avoid Holiday Depression

Feelings of sadness and negative mood affect many people at the holidays, and those battling a dual diagnosis of depression and addiction are at heightened risk. What’s more, the season also exacerbates loneliness, which is a known relapse trigger and can certainly add to depression.

Despite these not-so-merry facts, the holidays can be (and should be) a time of joy and happiness – and a great opportunity to reflect on the many things you have to be grateful for this season. 

The Mayo Clinic offers these tips to help you avoid depression and embrace the holiday spirit this season.
  • Acknowledge your feelings.  Just because it's the holiday season, it doesn’t mean that you’ll automatically be happy. You are still entitled to your range of emotions, so take time to cry or express your feelings and then try to move forward.
  • Stay connected. Now isn’t the time to isolate yourself. Lean on your friends, family members and recovery sisters this time of year. Volunteering to help others is also a great way to lift your spirits and be part of something special.
  • Set realistic expectations. The new, sober you might not be up for old traditions and rituals and that’s okay. Be open to creating new ways to celebrate the holidays. Along the same lines, don’t get bogged down by perfectionism. Just focus on doing the best you can with what you have.
  • Learn to say no. Your recovery should be number-one on your to-do list, so keep this in mind when you decide which holiday commitments you can and cannot keep this year. Saying “no” isn’t selfish; it’s a matter of self-preservation. 
  • Don't abandon healthy habits. In fact, sleep, exercise, diet and stress management are perhaps your biggest allies against holiday depression.
  • Take a breather. Make time for yourself – even if it’s just 15 minutes to slow down and restore your inner calm. Some ideas: Meditate, take a walk, listen to soothing music, get a massage, read a book. 
  • Seek professional help. If you feel persistently sad or anxious, plagued by physical complaints, unable to sleep, irritable and hopeless, and unable to face everyday chores, talk to your doctor or a mental health professional.
The Gift of Recovery
Perhaps the best gift you can give to yourself this season is to seek help if you or someone you love is struggling with a co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorder. At Rising Roads Recovery, we can help you find sobriety and learn new life skills to create a vibrant, fulfilling life – one that includes profoundly meaningful relationships with friends and family. We are here to plan, support, and love. To find out more about Rising Road Recovery’s treatment program for women, call today: 866-746-1558.


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