The holiday season may be an excellent time to spend seeing friends and family. However, if you are in recovery, it can become a painful and overwhelming time of year. It is common for the end of the year stress to catch up with you, but after a year spent in so much uncertainty, the holiday season might be the last thing you want to celebrate. Instead of going into isolation, you may want to consider trying a different approach. After all, everybody is hurting this past year, and everybody needs to make connections, even you.
While there are many practices and exercises necessary on the road to recovery, gratitude might become overlooked. Gratitude can have a profound impact on your recovery. Making an effort toward being grateful can help you maintain positive emotional and spiritual health, physical health and strengthen the connections with yourself, your surroundings, and others close to you. You might keep a gratitude journal to help you look at some of the good things in your life this past year. You might help another discover the same.
The Connection Between Mindfulness and Gratitude
You may have heard about the power of gratitude in treatment because it is often in early recovery that you still have a “me against the world” mindset. Your therapist or another peer might have mentioned the practice of mindfulness. Mindfulness helps to challenge your thoughts and shift your mindset to break specific thinking patterns and focus on positivity and control. Expressing gratitude during recovery further supports this mental shift by allowing you to take control of your thoughts and actions. While you cannot control the things that are happening globally, you can control how you react to them.
Shift Your Perspective
Sometimes recognizing that you are around and healthy to experience another holiday season helps to put things in perspective. There might be the grief of memories or not traveling to see loved ones, but this does not mean that the holidays will be disappointing this year. While these are unique times, there are also unique ways to see family and participate in holiday traditions. You might even take the opportunity to make new traditions.
Motivation can come from recognizing all the things you are grateful for. You still have your health, your sobriety, and despite living under this “new normal,” maybe being home more has allowed you to spend more time with your spouse and children – all of which are reasons to be thankful. It is easy to subscribe to the negative because it feels more comfortable or familiar, but remember who you are now that you are sober.
You have worked hard to maintain your recovery. While taking time to shift your perspective is essential, so is remembering all the people who help you along the way, including family, friends, a therapist, counselors, and peers from your support system. These are the people that you love and that love you and want you in their lives. Keep active in attending community groups, therapy sessions, and other meetings – online or otherwise. Remember, this is your support system, which means they offer you a comfortable and safe place to come and share your feelings when you feel doubtful or scared about the state of your health and recovery.
Recognize your gratitude for those in your support system. They have helped you along your journey to recovery and continue to be present for you. Without them, you may not be where you are today.
Taking time to give back to others in a time of need is an excellent boost to your self-confidence, energy, and motivation. You might give back to another that is just beginning their journey toward recovery as a way to remind you and help you appreciate all you have learned in your recovery journey. You might ask another friend or family member to participate with you. Volunteering with others also helps to strengthen the connections you have with loved ones and your community. Giving back can help you recognize that you are grateful for what you have and what you have endured on your recovery journey.
If you are leery of volunteering in a situation where you might come in contact with others, there are plenty of online opportunities where you can give back in the comfort and safety of your own home. It might be taking time to talk and visit older adults over the phone or make online appointments weekly to help counsel a peer from recovery. Remember, when deciding, take the opportunity to find something that excites and motivates you.
Expressing gratitude, whether by writing it down, sharing with another how much they mean to you, or helping another are essential acts to keeping your recovery healthy. Gratitude can show you how far you have come and how much you mean to other people. It helps you use, sharpen, and develop new tools and techniques to use in your recovery. While the holidays present difficult challenges, especially amid the COVID-19 pandemic, remember that help is only ever a phone call away. At True Recovery, we understand that the holidays can be trying, which is why we continue to provide 24/7 admissions and Telehealth services to ensure that your needs are always appropriately handled. We also offer a range of treatments and therapies from conventional to alternative because we believe each individual has their own path to recovery. For help during the holiday season, call True Recovery today at (866) 399-6528.