Covid-19, Recovery, and The Holidays

Across the world, friends and families come together during the winter months to celebrate the holiday season. Holiday gatherings can provide a much-needed break from our busy lifestyles, but they also can present challenges for those in recovery.

The Covid-19 pandemic has only made navigating this time more difficult. Many are struggling to find new ways to feel close while still maintaining a physical distance. Here are a few important tips to keep in mind during this holiday season.  

Rituals are important in recovery, and shouldn’t be completely lost 

With the impossibility of in-person gatherings, it can be tempting to decide to forgo celebration entirely. Following this instinct can lead to a loss of stability and feelings of belonging and connection, all of which are vital to maintaining recovery 

Figure out what traditions are possible, and stick to them 

Not everything will be doable this year, and trying to recreate the past will lead to heartbreak. However, there are certain things that can keep rituals alive. Family members can walk each other through a treasured recipe over Zoom. People can decorate their homes the way they remember it from when they were kidsEven just playing beloved holiday music can help keep this time of year more predictable and safe. 

Have a sober buddy 

Having someone trusted who is working through the same challenges of this time of year can keep away feelings of isolation. Frequent phone calls and outdoor walks can help everyone stay accountable to their goals. Consider making holiday meals and treats to drop-off to loved ones and your sisters in recovery to make the days feel more festive.

Remember the challenges holiday gatherings have brought in the past 

Few are thrilled to be alone for the holidays, but there are silver linings, especially for those in recovery. Every year, rates of relapse spike during the holidays, as the stress of being around family and the pressure to let loose collideThough it may be disappointing to stay home, it can also be an opportunity to take complete control of planning a holiday without all the anxiety-inducing surprises.  

Remember the strength you have and allow it to carry you through the rest of 2020. This has been a difficult year for too many reasons to name, and everyone should be able to take some time to find a little joy over the next several weeks. Take time to think about what will help you relax, connect, and celebrate this year. Whether it’s a huge Zoom with family, decorating with your kids, or exchanging recipes with friends, the holidays aren’t canceled. Things just look a little different this year.