Surviving the Winter Blues
So you made it through the holidays sober – now what?
Happy New Year welcome to 2020! whether you are new in sobriety or not hopefully you just made it through a sober holiday season. The holidays are the most stressful time of year for everyone whether you have substance use disorder or not. the added stress of traveling, traveling with bad weather, Financial stress of buying gifts the financial stress of traveling and spending a lot of time with family can really weigh on a person. if you are new and sobriety you are probably still trying to figure out Simply how to live your life go to work and survive in a sober environment much less adding all these stressors.
So if you’ve made it to January through Thanksgiving the holidays and the New Year celebration sober, congratulations! Whether you enjoyed it or not, that is a feat to celebrate. But now what? The winter months can often be cold, dark, and dreary and lead to what is commonly known as the “winter blues”.
So how are you going to survive this winter blues season?
Surviving the Winter Blues
Not only are the winter blues common during the months of January and February (and sometimes March, depending on where you live!) due to shorter, darker days and cold weather, but the winter blues also follow a very festive, exciting, and busy season of the year. So it can be very difficult for some people to slow down and be okay with the calm and quiet.
There’s no need for you to have a rough time during these winter months in sobriety. There are plenty of things that you can do to survive the winter blues, just like you can survive any other season of life. The point of sobriety, of course, is to be able to not only survive but thrive in everything that you do at all times of the year.
Things to Do to Stay Busy
If you already have a program of recovery, whether it is through a 12-step program, a counselor or a combination of a variety of programs, you should continue to do whatever your program requires of you during the winter months. If you go to meetings regularly or see a counselor or therapist or visit with your family, continue to do all of these things. The world may slow down a bit during the colder and darker months, but you can keep your calendar full of keeping on your regular schedule.
Another thing to consider in sobriety is new activities that you can do in the winter months that you may not have done in the past. While it’s obviously easy to consider some drinking activities you may have done in the winter months, what have you not tried that you would be willing to try now that you are sober?
Some options you might consider:
- Outdoor winter activities – winter hikes, ice skating, sledding, winter sports
- Indoor activities – puzzles, game night, book clubs or read a new book, bake goodies
- Be of service – volunteer at a homeless shelter or animal shelter, volunteer at a nursing home
- Take care of your body – join a gym, find indoor classes such as boxing or yoga
- Be sure to eat well – take a nutrition class, make new exciting recipes, have friends over for dinner, take any appropriate vitamins or supplements
- Take this time of hibernation to cozy up inside and meditate or read spiritual books
What other ideas do you have for things to stay busy during the winter months?
Ultimately we know that we can stay sober regardless of our circumstances, meaning the time of year, the season, our family circumstances, our work environment, etc. It has been proven through 12 step programs and other recovery programs that as long as you stick to your recovery plan, you can stay sober through all of life’s ups, downs, and various moments in time. Even those darn winter blues!
Contact Us for Help
As always feel free to contact us for help for yourself or a loved one. Also, check out these other blogs we have about maintaining recovery through life’s various trials tribulations and activities.