For a variety of reasons, we’re all looking forward to the end of the year. With a pandemic, elections and an overall sense of dread that permeates most of our days, you can’t blame people for counting down the days until 2020 is behind us. It has also been a year where we’ve consumed more drugs and alcohol than expected, with lockdown and quarantine giving people the excuse to drink every day the minute the sun goes down. While some people are able to make things work with these new measures in place, medical experts are concerned by the repercussions of these kind of behaviors.
Trying to get through the holidays without the help of any kind of substance is a tall order under normal circumstances. This year, it almost sounds unrealistic. Still, if alcohol or other substances are causing you discomfort, check out some tips that can help you stay sober through the holidays:
Spot your triggers
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Most of us don’t think about what makes us want to have a drink. Take this opportunity as a chance to be more introspective, thinking about your relationship with a substance and writing down whenever you feel the urge to have a drink and what prompted that reaction. After a couple of days of sticking to this routine, you’ll spot some trends and patterns that can help you steer clear of those situations, making it easier to stay sober. This is also a helpful practice when using alcohol or substances to numb emotions, which should be cause for concern.
Stick to a routine during the big days
Days of celebration, like Thanksgiving or Christmas Eve, are usually associated with a lot of drinking, making it more difficult than other days to stay sober. Make a plan for these days and try to stick to it, waking up at a certain time, working out and planning whatever it is you want to do to celebrate. If you don’t feel like being that productive, it’s okay; plan out your movie marathon, your phone calls with friends or your video game binge. Keep yourself busy and the odds of drinking or overthinking will be dramatically reduced.
Stay in touch with your loved ones
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No matter what your plans are over the holidays, whether you’re riding solo, staying with family or hosting a socially distanced dinner, it’s okay to feel overwhelmed and sad. It’s been a rough year and the holidays usually exacerbate these kind of emotions. Reach out to your loved ones and let them know your situation; odds are, they’re probably coping with something similar.