Between the stress and celebration, the holidays are a time where many people indulge. For those in recovery, relapse prevention is critical to ensure one’s mental and physical health. You may be feeling apprehensive about the holidays; for many, the holidays trigger individuals to want to drink either through feelings of loneliness, thoughts of upsetting past events, or unruly disagreements with loved ones. Although these holiday nuances may seem nerve-wracking, relapse does not have to occur if you go into the holidays with the right mindset and take precaution.

  1. Acknowledge the risks that you have this holiday season. Recognize specific people, places, food, smells, phrases, topics, music, emotions, advertisements, stress, unrealistic expectations, etc. that could trigger you. When you experience something on this list, how does it make you feel? Identify what mental and physical sensations you experience to begin noticing warning signs that could lead to a relapse.
  2. Develop a plan for managing triggers. How will you know when it is time to leave? Do you have transportation to leave when you want, or do you need to get a ride? What do you plan to say if you need to leave? Is there someone you can call to talk to if you’re experiencing triggers? Coming up with a plan beforehand may prevent you from relapsing. Everyday Health also notes listing situations as low, medium, or high risk to help you gauge when it’s time to leave.
  3. Practice saying “no”. Write down or act out what you need to say to yourself if you’re in a sticky situation. Plan ahead of time how you want to signal you want to leave to your ride home, or construct sentences ahead of time for how you will exit a holiday event.
  4. Find and utilize your support system when needed. Do you have certain people that will be available to you throughout the day whom you can call? Make sure you call them before arriving at places you might be triggered to have that extra support.
  5. Get into the joy of holiday spirit. Practice mindfulness and center yourself around what really matters this holiday season – your mental, physical, and spiritual health. So many things are incorporated into that and the holidays are a time to be thankful for those that do enrich these aspects of your life.

New Vista Behavioral Health is home to several world-renowned California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery treatment centers. We believe that holistic recovery is vital, meaning that recovery should incorporate all aspects of one’s being – mind, body, and spirit. Make the decision this holiday season to seek help. It’s time you took care of you. Call us today for a consultation at 888-316-3665.

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