Holiday survival? You better believe it!! With the holidays round the corner, most of us find ourselves searching survival skills. About two to three weeks into the season we feel we are ready to collapse. Thanksgiving, Christmas – even if you celebrate nothing, you end up involved in the hype: Shopping, parties, buying gifts, cooking, gift wrapping, writing, mailing or e-mailing cards, baking, planning and a whole lot of deadlines cause big stress – not good for anyone with addictive behavior.

When we’re overloaded with things to do, we can easily sabotage ourselves with drink, food, or whatever we do to get relief. So you must make plans -- even simple, fun, family gatherings can take its toll. Everything adds up -- not fulfilling a gift request, not to mention the expense.

Holiday stress plays in your brain. There can be an impending trip home to see friends and relatives great in theory, but in reality? Maybe not so much……

Stress doesn’t have to ruin the holidays or sabotage you by returning to addictive behavior. So that being said, here are some holiday survival tips that will help you get through the holidays with minimum amount of stress;

1) Don’t over-do-it -- shopping, eating, drinking during the holiday season. This is a season of excess, so stay balanced.

2) Make a plan. Make a budget. Set things up and stick to it. You know how easy it is to go out of control, so have a back-up. Here’s some logic to think about –You’ll probably consume a lot of caffeine, alcohol and holiday goodies during the holiday period. This increases your blood pressure and your stress hormone levels. Either reduce the intake or drink at least 10 glasses of water to balance their effects. Remember that less is more and more can be overload.

3) Do not do everything yourself. Designate as many tasks that you can, so you have room for relaxation – and don’t feel guilty about doing it..

4) Ask yourself if the travel time and financial pressure is worth it, to see the family and friends over the holidays. Ask yourself it it’s emotionally good for you. If your answer is NO, don’t go. Make the trip when life has less demands on you

5) Rest. Holidays can reduce your normal sleep pattern, which can be emotionally and physically draining. A few minutes of stretching or exercise will do wonders. Make time to read, meditate, yoga etc. Get a massage, a facial or pedicure etc It sounds so simple, but when we are stressed, we forget about these simple things that help us relax.

6) Set boundaries by filtering what you take on and don’t become anybody’s dumping ground. Put things in perspective by going to a movie, do some volunteering, cooking, walking or listening to music – all this reduces holiday stress. No time you say? Set boundaries and you can do it.

7) Go to meetings. If you go to support groups, AA etc. now is the time to keep at it. When you’re under stressed, we tend to forget what keeps us on track. So if it’s meetings – go. If it’s talking to friends or a therapist, reach out. Now is the time to do it.

8) If you’re concerned about all those parties and drinking leads to cravings, set it up so you’re not alone. Arrive late and leave early. And sometimes it’s best not to go.

During the holidays, certain things are out of your control -- moody people, time, the weather…but not everything. You are in the control your feelings, your reactions and the way you handle your pressure. It’s always a good reminder to take things ‘one day at a time.’

Author's Bio: 

Beverley Glazer MA., CCC helps people suffering from all addictive behaviors: alcohol, drugs, food, compulsive sex, gambling, compulsive shoplifting, codependency as well as relationship/family issues for those affected by these problems. I provide confidential, effective professional services that are also available on line or by phone:
Have a problem? Just ask. Have a story to tell? Share it on the site. Stressed? Need to relax and take the edge off? Check out these downloads: Untwist-your-thinking and create a fulfilling life!!