By Tristen Winston, MA, PsyD, LP, LCAC, Licensed psychologist and Behavioral Health Director, Health Partnership Clinic
The holidays are usually a time of stress. This year will be unlike any other with additional stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic. While we may not have family stress from large gatherings, this year, the pandemic may lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation. To reduce these feelings, stay connected by phone or video as much as possible. Continue with holiday traditions, with a new twist or start all new traditions.
With an increase in stress, especially around the holidays, it can be tempting to turn to the use of substances, like alcohol. Unfortunately, these unhealthy coping skills can only provide temporary relief and lead to harmful consequences. For those at risk of addiction or in recovery, the holiday season stress can be a trigger for relapse.
This holiday season, plan to use healthy habits to manage stress and use alternative activities to celebrate that do not include alcohol or other substances. Including alcohol as a part of festivities can lead to problems for many of our family and friends. Remember that the holiday season is about gratitude and not simply material gifts. Find new ways to focus on the meaning of the season.
Here are some tips to have a substance-free holiday:
- Stay connected to family and friends virtually
- Enjoy activities such as playing games or watching movies
- Enjoy a cup of hot apple cider or warm cup of hot chocolate
- Celebrate the festivities by singing holiday songs
- Spend time cooking or baking
- Volunteer in the community to help those less fortunate, serve meals at a shelter, join a clothing or food drive, or participate in an adopt-a-family or child program
At Health Partnership Clinic, we provide affordable substance use services at our Olathe clinic and through telehealth services at the Shawnee Mission, Paola and Ottawa sites. Services, including assessment and treatment, are available to adults and adolescents, 12 and older.
If you or a loved one are at risk and need help, please call 913-730-3664.