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How Can People In Recovery Manage Depression Post Holidays?

The holidays are often a let-down for many people who are struggling with recovery already. Perhaps they experienced conflict with family or were seeking support when they got met with a cold shoulder. It is never easy to walk into family functions where there is no certainty of triggers and cravings staying away or people behaving their best. This can lend itself to depression after the holidays when expectations are not met. Even when they are, the post-holiday blues are very real and maybe a trigger for people in recovery. Find out how to manage it better and seek support for challenges after the holidays

Mental Health Challenges

For people in recovery, there is no completely letting go around the holidays. There are too many triggers to be aware of to not plan ahead. Mentally, it can also be difficult because people can say harsh things, boundaries are down, or people are around each other pushing buttons who are not always around each other. The holidays are also a great time to reconnect with family and friends. The key is to make sure loved ones know how hard this season is for the person in recovery. A family action plan should be in place to support them and offer help if they are struggling. 

Stay on Medication

If antidepressants or other medication is being taken, don’t stop now. A person may feel they are not going to need it for a short time, but it is never good to quit medication or restart after stopping. This can change the way the brain functions or even trigger substance use for some people. Speak with a psychiatrist about the upcoming holidays before messing with meds.

Therapeutic Support

Talk to a therapist before, during (if possible) and after the holidays. Set up appointments beforehand and have an on-call therapist ready to talk to if needed. A therapist cannot help a person experiencing a crisis if they don’t know about it. A real crisis may require calling emergency services but a therapist may be able to mitigate issues ahead of the curve and support a better experience.

Importance of Self-Care

Self-care is so important for people in recovery. Stay on a healthy diet and focus on only eating a few sweets. Sugar can throw the brain’s balance out of whack. Add in walks and exercise as much as possible. Just being outside to breathe is important. Self-care may seem elusive but it is important to ‘plan it’ into a schedule, especially when going away for the holidays. 

Planning ahead for the holidays means setting up an action plan. Speak with a sponsor or sober mentor/friend to help create a list of things to do in the event of a challenging holiday experience. Post-holiday, plan for a fun party with sober friends, go bowling, go on a hike, or spend time in nature. Arrange things to look forward to that will help mitigate any issues with depression that may arise. It may not be possible to stop it from happening but the more a person plans ahead, the better. Don’t feel shame or regret and blame if it doesn’t go as planned. Things happen and there is not always something to be done about it. Try not to worry too much and focus on connecting with a therapist, talking through things with sober friends, and relying on good self-care to get through the rough spots.

The Guest House Ocala knows holidays can be a tough time for people. There are opportunities to find healing and help in rehab for those difficult times. If you struggled throughout the holidays with relapse triggers or mental health issues, we are here to support you. You are not alone. Call us to find out how to get started: 1-855-483-7800