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. Winter can be especially challenging for many people who struggle with the emotions evoked by winter blues, less hours of daylight, or just the upcoming holiday blues.

Try These 6 Ways to Stay Sober in the Winter

Sobriety and staying clean in recovery does not have an on/off switch. Winter can be especially challenging for many people who struggle with the emotions evoked by winter blues, less hours of daylight, or just the upcoming holiday blues. Combat winter doldrums with these recovery tips to help get started:

Winter-Time Blues

Fighting off the winter-time blues is no easy feat, especially if you are already struggling with mental health issues in recovery. There are some things a person can do in recovery to help ease up the winter blahs, even if just for a short period of time.

  • Head outdoors. Going out of the house and getting even a little bit of Vitamin D from the sunshine can have positive effects on mood. Sunshine is a mood booster. Exposure to sunlight increases the release of serotonin, which promotes an improved state of mind. Getting that daily dose by taking a walk also boosts the brain chemicals that improve mood by exercising.
  • Stay connected. The holidays require participation in activities that may involve substances and may just be a real bummer. It is crucial to stay connected to a support system for tips, strategies, and an outlet for the winter-time challenges, along with holiday blues.
  • Plan ahead. Going to holiday parties at work, with friends, or with family can create a sense of anxiety when knowing there might be alcohol present. It may trigger old memories to be around certain people, or perhaps their asking about recovery is triggering. Whatever the case, carry non-alcoholic beverages to keep hands occupied at the party, have a rehearsed spiel in mind just in case anyone asks you about why you are not drinking. Being prepared can help stack the deck in your favor so you don’t feel so overwhelmed when potential triggers come your way.
  • Practice gratitude. An attitude of gratitude can be as simple as being appreciative of life’s everyday joys. Mental and physical well-being often rely on this to help sustain a person through life’s challenges. Make a list of accomplishments and say out loud what you are thankful for–it might also boost your mood as a bonus.
  • Be realistic. If this is your first sober winter, come to grips with this reality sooner rather than later. Don’t suffer in silence. Learn ways to adjust to this way of life and find ways of building a healthy, happy life where you are right now. By knowing this ahead of time, you can keep expectations in check to avoid discouragement and relapse.
  • Find a routine (and stick to it). This is easier said than done, but no matter how crazy life gets, you need a routine. With plenty of practice, you will be able to navigate how to eat healthy, go to meetings, and exercise. Sticking with a recovery routine will keep you sane and help you throughout the winter.

There are many challenges in recovery but you don’t have to suffer in silence. If you are struggling with addiction and mental health issues, call us. Winter can be tough on many people, but it does not have to be in isolation. We will help you navigate the first steps to recovery. Call us 24/7 at our toll-free number: 866-294-9401