Mistletoe. Turkey carving. Family photos. More turkey carving.
Sometimes, it can seem like the holidays are more stressful than they are relaxing. Although it is said that a Thanksgiving or Christmas break is the perfect time to rest and unwind, the harsh reality is that in between shopping for gifts and dealing with in-laws or other family, we don’t always make enough time for ourselves.
As men in recovery, it’s important that we make ample time for self care, even if this time of the year can be overwhelming. Learning to relax and go with the flow can help us combat many holiday stressors, and maintain our sanity as well as our sobriety. In treatment, we learn the importance of changing our perspectives when we can’t change our situations. That skill couldn’t be put to better use at any other time than right now, during the busy holiday season.
One of the best ways to de-stress this holiday season is to focus on a novel concept: it’s okay if everything isn’t perfect. We may not get every gift, plan every event, or see every single person that wants to see us between now and January 1st– and that is something we must find acceptance for. We can make lists, plan menus, and organize gift ideas in our down time, but even all the planning in the world won’t helps us to achieve perfection. Remembering that we’re humans, and that our happiness and sanity is always most important, can help us understand when we’ve reached our limit and need to stop pushing ourselves so hard.
Another great way to avoid stress this holiday season is to maintain an exercise regimen. When we exercise, we give our bodies and minds the space they need to recuperate. We also get to focus on something other than what’s stressing us out. Exercise is an escape that both de-stresses and keeps us in shape. It’s a win-win that can be tremendously helpful when it seems like everyday can bring something new to worry about.
Finally, we can avoid stress by looking at the big picture beyond the scope of the holidays. The holidays are about spending time with loved ones and friends. The gifts, food, parties, and gatherings are nice. Of ultimate importance is that we stay healthy, happy, and well, while spending quality time with the people we choose to spend it with. In treatment, we learn how important sustainability is to our recovery. Finding the right balance between pushing ourselves too hard and not pushing hard enough is a core focus of treatment, and it should be the same way post-treatment. Wanting a perfect holiday season isn’t realistic and attempting perfection isn’t in the amount we do or how well we do what’s asked of us during the holidays. It’s in how happy we are doing it.
Tree House Recovery is a premier men’s addiction treatment center in Portland, Oregon that helps men conquer all types of addiction through modalities that champion sustainability and holistic recovery. Call us at (503) 850-2474 to see how we can help you.