If the sights and sounds of Christmas evoke dread, anxiety or depression, you’re certainly not alone. It’s likely that many of your friends, family members, workmates and neighbors experience similar emotions. There’s just so much to do — last-minute shopping for the perfect gifts, food shopping, decorating the home, organizing the family get togethers, cards, more shopping, where to hide the presents so prying eyes won’t find them and the cost of it all! — it goes on and on. It’s enough to make you want to run and hide!......hey, take a break and consider a strategy for enjoying Christmas with a minimum of struggle, and a little joy...
Here are some suggestions that might help:
Whatever it is about Christmas that’s got you out of sorts, imagine whether that same concern will be bothering when the festivities are over and you are well into the new year and you probably won’t even recall the gut-wrenching emotions in one or 10 years’ time. This helps you build a cushion against mounting anxiety and creates a little space you can use to safely navigate the season.
Instead of fixating on bigger and larger quantities, make a conscious effort to downsize. This goes for the number of gifts you buy, the number and types of social engagements you accept or invite others to attend. Trying to get the very best deal on a much-wanted item and so much more. After all, it isn’t, or shouldn’t be, how expensive or exclusive something is. Concentrate on giving from the heart.
Stop feeling you have to be perfect.
It doesn’t have to be the party of the year. You don’t need to be the host whose event is talked about for months to come. If you can make yourself believe that you don’t have to be perfect, you’ll alleviate a lot of stress and accumulated tension. Your digestion will likely benefit as well, since your stomach won’t be tied up in knots over trying to insist on perfection.
Create something lasting.
If you’ve lost a loved one and the holidays are too painful, consider creating something lasting for the remaining family members and loved ones in your life. This could be a family scrapbook, a handwritten letter you put in a “time capsule” of sorts. In their memory bring joy to the lonely, surprise your elderly neighbor with a home-cooked meal.
Give to yourself
Remember that it’s the thought that counts. If you give something to yourself with love, you will remember and appreciate it. You’ll also have a warm spot in your heart knowing you’ve helped bring a little joy to yourself as well as others.
Everyone has regrets. You likely have some as well. If you’re beating yourself up for being inconsiderate, not living up to your word, being rude or impatient or mean to others, spending too much money, neglecting your responsibilities, or drinking too much, now is the time for a little self-forgiveness. Your desire to make positive changes actually begins with forgiving yourself. There’s no better time of the year to start than right now.
Watch your diet
Overindulging in food or drink during Christmas is a surefire way to suffer repercussions later. Not only will you feel remorse, you may have other consequences as a result. By paying mindful attention to what you put into your mouth, you’ll be doing yourself a huge favor, now and later. To thrive during the festivities, exercise discretion and make wise choices in food and drink.
Finally, this is the season to be thankful. And you’ve got a lot to be grateful for, regardless of how much you’ve thought about it. You’re alive, for one thing and one thing only. Life is precious.
Every day you are on this earth is another opportunity to make a difference, to celebrate life and the deliciousness of living. It won’t come by this way again, so make the most of today. Adopt an attitude of gratitude and you’ll really begin to thrive this Christmas.
I can so much relate to him, the moment I took the pills I regretted it. So glad we both are here to tell the story!
When you read our website, you might think, "This is not about me, I'm not in a real depression and I'm not, and have never been, an alcoholic or a junkie. I got it under control." And yet.. you may feel drawn. Why?
Do you see your own behavior like too much smoking, drinking, sleeping, eating, working, or whatsoever, as a coping strategy? Do you have problems with shame or self-worth that makes it difficult for you to connect or bond with people? Are you chronically unhappy, anxious or stressed and need to smooth or numb your feelings through (self-)medication? If that's the case, then our program might be for you too.
Our program is not only for people who have hit rock bottom, but for anyone who is imprisoned by self-sabotaging behavior and has a desire for happiness. Who might spend each year a small fortune to experience a little bit of that happiness. Do you have ever written down what kind of price you pay for your coping strategy? Not only in monetary terms, although an annual amount of liquor, soft drugs or totally unnecessary items can easily build up to the price for a family holiday. But also emotionally, relational and physical. Sometimes we forget that the body-mind is one and the same, that every thought is energy that is part of our body and that they can makes us ill. So when you suffer from:
.. isn't that a too high price to pay?
The only requirement to participate in our transformational program is that you want to change any self-defeating behavior, voluntarily. Because that means that you are open and receptive to new inspiration, you will see the possibilities to where you were previously blind, and you will find the strength to change yourself, and therefore your life. Sometimes it is a hard nut to crack, but it can also be a subtle change in priorities, which makes all the difference between a life where you are constantly trying to satisfy your needs and a life where fulfillment is your base.
Our residential program is structured in a way that at the end of the week you have designed your own recovery program, that leads you to a self chosen, new direction. We also show you how to re-orientate frequently, and, if necessary, modify your program.
You can contact us for a retreat in the magnificent mountain area of the South of Spain.
The Christmas commercial bombardment starts way too early for most people, as November encourages us to write our Xmas shopping lists and start planning our family get togethers.
For a person in early recovery this can be overshadowed with fear and dread. Especially if it is to be the first Christmas time of recuperation. Others can be tempted to flirt with relapse, just for this one ‘special’ occasion. But why?
The run up to Christmas is loaded with expectations, pressures, stress, must haves, must do's, and the age old adage “it's not Christmas unless…….”
Many people in recovery associate this time of year with memories of overindulgence, ‘the good old times’, that results in grieving that ‘loss’ and what can lead to anxiety, depression, lack of self worth, anger or whatever.
Perhaps the memories are of big benders that resulted in relationship or family problems or personal loss.
These are all triggers, warnings, that need to be put into the true context of what we want from our recovery.
Triggers such as;
o Family pressures
o Financial stress
o Parties that include alcohol and drugs
o Colder or unpleasant weather like rain, snow, wind, etc.
o Feelings of anxiety, depression, or loneliness.
Financial stress for example is a real concern as we feel obliged to buy and give gifts, as tradition dictates the need to get your children everything they ask for, or find the perfect gift for your husband or wife, even if you can barely afford it. Christmas is supposed to be full of giving, love, laughter, family and celebration; more pressure, more triggers.
However, attending to our inner life and spiritual fitness takes priority. Imagine devoting a day to your own spiritual nourishment in order to truly be present with those you love, and to enjoy every connection, giving our loved ones the gift that they truly want:
the balanced and loving person that we are.
Recovery can be serious work, but it can also be fun, when you laugh a little and then a little more. Start seeing the humor in those things that annoy you. Take from the holiday season what is important for you and leave the rest. Set yourself free.
Suggestions that may help
1: Be sure to get enough rest. – Let’s face it. When you’re tired, you’re more apt to make snap judgments that may turn out to be wrong, say something you wish you hadn’t, or find yourself entertaining thoughts of giving into the temptation. While being well rested can’t guarantee that these situations don't occur, it’s far less likely.
2: Be selective about what invitations you accept. You can expect to receive numerous invitations to parties and get-togethers during the festive period. Avoid situations that will put you under peer pressures to relapse.
3: What’s in your glass only matters to you. – When everyone around you is having a good time, drinking cocktails or champagne or beer, do you really think it matters what you have in your glass? Chances are it only matters to you. The man or woman next to you is only interested in getting his or her own drink. So, if you ask for sparkling water or tonic with lime, it’s your business and no one else’s.
4: Have backup plans ready. – It’s amazing how a simple tip can make all the difference. If you’re prepared with a reasonable response when you’re at a party and getting ready to leave and someone asks you to stay, it’s not only less stressful, it’s also essential. You’ve got an easy out, no one’s feelings are hurt.
Here’s how it works. You always have something that needs to be done. Your response could be that you have to run an errand for your spouse or mother or you have an appointment you can’t miss. Maybe you need to pick up your children or get to the bank before it closes or buy supplies for work. What you say isn’t important. What is important is that you prepare what you’ll say in advance and stick to it. Don’t allow someone to convince you to stay just a little longer. Your time is your own. You don’t owe it to anyone else
5: Go late and leave early. – Here’s another tip that may work for you. It’s simple, really. Just go as late as you can to the party without being irresponsible and leave well before the party’s end. What you’re doing, in effect, is putting in an appearance. That’s all that matters to most hosts anyway. You’ve been invited. You show up, talk to a few folks, and leave. End of story.
6: Take time to enrich your spirit. – Material considerations often take center stage in people’s minds when it comes to Christmas and the New Year. There always seems to be a furious burst of activity around getting ready for the day, being involved on the day, and cleaning up after the day. What often gets left out completely is attention to the spiritual aspect of the holiday.
It is also worth bearing in mind that after the Christmas and New Year excitement there comes the anticlimax and January can herald new challenges. Individuals in and out of recovery will feel lonely. So the question arises, how does one deal with the aftermath of the loneliness of the holidays?
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a form of depression that is difficult to detect which leaves it commonly unseen or misdiagnosed. An undiagnosed battle with any form of depression can lead to self-medicating with alcohol or drugs to help ease the feelings.
With this in mind Soul Recovery Andalusia leaves the first few months of the year open for short notice private retreats for more information contact us through the web site or by email