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Tips on staying in recovery during the holidays

Substance use recovery
Posted at 2:43 PM, Dec 21, 2021

BOISE, Idaho — The holidays are filled with fun but they can also be stressful, and that can lead to relying on unhealthy coping methods.

With all the Christmas parties and traditions, there is a big focus on indulgence and having a good time. For people living with a substance use disorder, taking part in those traditions or having to miss out on them and staying isolated, can mean getting off track with recovery.

Julie Hardle with Optum Idaho says sticking with your current schedule during the holidays can help you manage.

"Don't change up your routine during the holidays because it's more likely your routine that keeps you really in a place where you feel more balanced," said Hardle. "If your routine is walking in the morning, then keep doing it."

Hardle says you can adjust parts of your routine, like maybe taking a shorter walk than usual, but make sure to keep it up. American Addiction Centers has other tips, including staying busy at a gathering and being okay to leave if you feel overwhelmed or uncomfortable.

If you sense a holiday party might not be right for you, politely decline the invitation. Seek out volunteer opportunities or indulge and entertain yourself with a new TV show, exercising or getting creative in other ways.

Hardle adds for family members or friends of someone in recovery, make sure you are understanding and encouraging during what could be a challenging time.