By Jeremy LeBlanc, CAC
With the holiday season right around the corner, chances are we may be surrounded by friends, family, and those we care about. While the holidays and Thanksgiving are a time for celebration and fun, they can also bring a level of stress that we should be prepared for going into them. Here are a few tips to have a relaxing and enjoyable Thanksgiving:
1. Remember that Thanksgiving can be a stressful time. Many of us will be planning dinners, having family over, traveling, and giving extra time for family and friends. This is a time when we need to increase self-care as we are emptying our reserve tanks even faster than normal. Ensure that you are attending your meetings, exercising, eating properly, practicing sleep hygiene, and staying connected to your recovery network. Practicing self-care is how we refill our reserve tank so we can remain present and at our best when stressors present themselves.
2. Whether you are traveling or hosting, be prepared and have a conversation beforehand with your family about the use of alcohol during Thanksgiving. Hosting a sober Thanksgiving can be a helpful way to avoid all the potential triggers. If we are traveling or unable to avoid all situations with alcohol, acknowledge that people may be drinking and create a plan for yourself if you feel the urge to drink. Gatherings, football, cooking, friends, family, and old environments can all trigger cravings, and utilizing a “check-in” call with your sponsor or close friend in the program can help give you a safe space to work through these cravings should they happen.
3. Focus on gratitude. Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful for all that we have and by increasing our own expression of gratitude, it can help us stay grounded and present. Volunteering at a soup kitchen or event is a fun and active way to practice gratitude and give back to your community. Practicing these skills can help when we are feeling overwhelmed or stressed, and allow us to tackle any of the challenges we may face this season.