Preparing for the Holidays in Recovery

holiday 2020

As Florida approaches one million cases of COVID-19, residents have become more anxious about the holiday season. The coming weeks are usually characterized by large family gatherings and traditional meals, but now, we must do all we can to stop the spread of the virus. How will we change our approach to Thanksgiving, Christmas, and other observances this year? We’ve got a few ideas for making the end of 2020 both safe and memorable.

Plan a Virtual Gathering

The CDC recommends that we avoid in-person holiday gatherings with people outside of our immediate household. But this doesn’t mean that we can’t celebrate at all! Many Americans are coping with social distancing requirements by hosting virtual Thanksgiving lunches and dinners. During these events, family members will swap stories and eat well, all from the comfort of their own homes. Don’t worry about time limits for your online get-together; Zoom has waived its 40-minute limit for the occasion.

To prepare for an online holiday, we recommend that you…

  • Take the time to get everyone set up. Send out information about the event in advance. A loose schedule and guidelines for logging on may be especially helpful for older family members. Give them a call and walk them through setup if they’re confused; this will save everyone some stress on the day of.
  • Plan some fun activities. Whether your family enjoys trivia or sharing photos, there’s something for everyone on a virtual Thanksgiving video call. Instead of leaving the event open-ended, plan for a show-and-tell or game segment to entertain your loved ones.
  • Take a family photo. Hopefully this will be our only remote Thanksgiving, so you should document the occasion! Ask everyone to dress nicely and pose, then take a screenshot of your entire group call. That picture will be a talking point for years to come.
  • Let everyone contribute. We all have certain family members who dominate the conversation, while others tend to sit and listen. Be sure that everyone gets the floor for a while during your call. If you notice someone staying quiet for a long time, make an effort to bring them into the discussion.

Break with Tradition

For many of us, the holidays are a uniquely stressful time. We’ve already provided some advice about protecting your recovery during November and December, and for good reason. The holiday season is rife with recovery challenges, including prevalent drinking, political disagreements, travel, family tension, and parties. Instead of being upset about spending this year at home, consider the opportunity you have been given. This could be your very first stress-free holiday season!

If you’re breaking with tradition and doing the holidays solo, don’t just do nothing – try something new. For example, if you aren’t a fan of traditional Thanksgiving fare, order in. Maybe a pizza or Chinese food sounds more appealing than turkey; this is your chance to find out. Not into decorating for Christmas or lighting the menorah? Order some jigsaw puzzles or spend your time baking a new holiday treat. The options are limitless.

Practice Self-Care

Contrary to popular belief, self-care isn’t all bubble baths and deep breathing. It also isn’t selfish. In order to navigate the difficulties of 2020, we must take care of ourselves in the ways that matter. This means limiting your time with triggering relatives, letting go of expectations, and praying or meditating as needed.

Holiday self-care for people in recovery should include…

  • Bringing your own safe drinks to gatherings
  • Keeping a list or journal of things you’re grateful for
  • Taking breaks when you’re feeling stressed
  • Finding a meeting online
  • Reading your recovery literature
  • Avoiding meals cooked with alcohol
  • Planning regular check-ins with recovering friends and your sponsor
  • Reaching out to newcomers during the holiday season
  • Exercising to release tension and energy

Resist the Lure of Black Friday

Finally, many Americans participate in Black Friday shopping. In fact, 30% of all retail sales take place between the day after Thanksgiving and Christmas each year. What can you do if you want to take advantage of deals while staying safe this holiday season? The answer, of course, is online shopping. Many retailers have moved their Black Friday sales online in the wake of COVID-19, meaning that you can access all the best bargains from the comfort of your own home. With this in mind, we encourage you to avoid in-person shopping this year.

Support During the Holiday Season

We understand that 2020 has been a crazy year. For those in recovery, the next few weeks will be especially challenging. If you need support or help in the days ahead, we’re here for you. Contact The Augustine for more information.