Many welcome the holiday season with open arms. For others, though, this “happiest season of all” can feel nightmarish. For those in recovery from any sort of substance or food addiction, the holiday season is something of a trigger fest.
Whether you love, hate, or feel some conflict toward the holiday season, it’s easy to fall prey to the myriad of stressors.
According to one study, 64 percent of people say their stress levels increase during the holiday season.
The holidays doesn’t have to be something you dread or waiting with feeling rattled.
- Get a good laugh in
Yes, the holidays can be stressful and triggering, but what if we tried not to take it all too seriously? Laughter is scientifically proven to help you process stress and leave you feeling more relaxed. So pick out a good comedy movie, check out the local improv show you’ve been putting off seeing, or simply surround yourself with good friends.
- Identify your triggers
Try to become more aware of your stressors by taking time to reflect on them. If you’re more aware of what stresses you out in the first place, you can pause and take action. For example, if you know your mom is going to make a snarky comment about your cooking, have some options in your toolkit for how to handle it. You can reflect on what you’ll need to prepare for and feel ready for it. Even this feeling of readiness will leave you less susceptible.
- Shake it out
Oftentimes the anticipation of stress is worse than the stress itself. If you’re already worried about the holidays, chances are you’ve created patterns of stress in your nervous system, making your more tense. Take a walk, go dancing, hit the gym, your favorite yoga class. Exercise helps relieve tension in the body, which helps your stress response.
Whatever you do, just get allow that stress to release in your mind and body.