December: addiction and mental health issues

The month of December has arrived and for many people, it represents a month of fun, festivities, family and bonding.  Unfortunately, for many others, December also represents pressure, loneliness and stress. The pressure we feel to get everything done at work before the end of the year, the presents that have to be arranged for Christmas and, finally, the children who have holidays and celebrate Christmas and New Year’s Eve full of joy and excitement. 

December month 

It is a month of family visits. This can cause a lot of stress and anxiety. Family ties that are not strong and family arguments or uncomfortable conversations at the table. This period is also confronted with missing a loved one around us or a high feeling of loneliness.

December also marks the beginning of winter. The long dark and cold days. The loneliness you feel because you are home more, the boredom that strikes and the lockdowns and confinement are not helping neither. 

It is also a month where a lot of alcohol is consumed or exposed. While it is often seen as a social occasion to drink and celebrate, for many it is just too busy and they have no control over their alcohol intake. Or they struggle with a drug or alcohol addiction. 

What makes December so stressful and emotional

  • loneliness
  • pressure at work
  • financial stress, money problems to buy gifts 
  • exposure to alcohol and triggers
  • feelings of isolation, going back to addiction
  • grief
  • family visits or no family to visit
  • lack of time
  • longer darker days

5 Tips how to get through to the holiday season and maintain your sobriety

  1. go to meetings or meet with sober friends
  2. stay connected with your support system
  3. good rest
  4. be aware of your triggers
  5. know your surroundings and leave if you feel uncomfortable. 

5 Tips how to get through to the holiday season and maintain your mental health

  1. set boundaries
  2. practice relaxation /meditation
  3. walks outside / exercise 
  4. time management, don’t try to plan or do too much
  5. make a daily gratitude list 

 

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