How to Combat Substance Abuse Around The Holidays

The holidays are known for indulgence––gifts, food, parties––that includes drinking and drug abuse. And because of the pandemic, this year could prove to be more tempting than usual. The stress wrought by COVID-19 among medical professionals is paramount.

Whether you abstain altogether or only prefer to limit your recreational substance indulgence, the holidays can present opportunities that challenge your commitment to sobriety. As well, the holidays are notorious for triggering mental health challenges. For those who have a history of substance abuse, holiday stressors create an opportunity for relapse.

Here are a few tips to protect your health and avoid overindulging during the holiday season.

Identify and Limit Triggers

Consider the triggers that induce anxiety for you. Identify which situations, places, and people tend to initiate relapses and try to avoid them. Also, beware of any painful memories you have or guilt from not spending time with family. It’s also helpful to identify warning signs, such as behaviors, that indicate when weaknesses have been triggered.

Have a Game Plan

Know which invitations to accept and which ones it may be best to decline. If you know you’re going to be in an unavoidable situation where you’ll be around friends or family who you know make things challenging, you can be prepared ahead of time with an exit plan and remember that you can leave whenever you need to.

As well, plan your response to those who insist on your participation. You may want to bring an accountability partner with you to help overcome specific temptations.

Practice Self-Care

While self-care can include spa days, staycations, and mediation, it also looks like surrounding yourself with people that you trust. Likewise, schedule time for favorite past times or hobbies that spark joy.

And be sure to include mindfulness into your repertoire because the act of remaining present can give you the calmness of mind to avoid destructive choices and behavior.

Develop a Support System

Find a support group to participate in. It’s also helpful to stay connected to supportive friends and family that are familiar with your journey. Stay close to like-minded friends who know how important it is for you to avoid temptations and celebrate victories.

Ready to learn more about how to support your employees’ mental health during the holidays? Contact Arbor Associates today!