The holiday season can be a time of joy for some, but for others, the dreariness of winter can take a toll and overshadow the glimmering lights and joyful festivities. People in recovery can particularly struggle with this time of year, especially those who are estranged from loved ones or still in the beginning phases of rebuilding their life after addiction. Regardless of the specific reasons for feeling down in the dumps this winter, there are plenty of practical ways to perk up the mood and turn things around for a better tomorrow.
Although everyone’s recovery experience is unique, people in group counseling sessions tend to discover just how much they have in common, including their struggles. Chances are, more than a handful of people within the local recovery community also dread winter months, and starting a conversation could turn into a cathartic vent session. Even serious discussions can lead to smaller tangents that give way to lighthearted topics that can improve moods and outlooks.
Sometimes even minor chores can feel insurmountable, especially when fighting seasonal affective disorder (SAD), particularly for those in the northern part of the country. Keeping a list of sensible and necessary objectives can help set the wheels in motion. Projects included on the list should be doable within a day or two and should stay small, like reorganizing and cleaning the kitchen cabinets and drawers, taking a day to do a laundry overhaul, cleaning only the bathroom from top to bottom, doing a workout, running errands, and so on. With each passing day, the small improvements will add up!
The holidays are a great time to volunteer; every bit matters, whether at an animal shelter or a soup kitchen. There are also plenty of ways to give back to the recovery community, with local groups hosting food drives, winter coat collections for the homeless, and similar causes affecting people struggling with addiction. Not only does it feel great to do good deeds, but the events themselves can be a blast! Working together with other like-minded people to organize and execute a fundraiser or initiative can be a rewarding challenge, with some friendships forming along the way.
Looking back on the past is often challenging for us all, and it can be especially true for people in recovery from addiction. Recognizing that even your lowest moods during the winter months are better than your worst days while struggling with addiction can help you maintain perspective. Practicing gratitude and positive self-reflection is essential when happiness feels difficult to find.
Sometimes a bad mood or a low moment can carry on for too long. When it seems like nothing helps to get things moving in a positive direction, it’s time to ask for help. Speaking to a medical provider who oversees medication-assisted treatment can be the key to exploring whether underlying depression is lurking, making things much harder than they need to be.
Middlesex Recovery is committed to providing professional and private outpatient addiction treatment for those looking to regain control of their lives. Using FDA-approved medication and substance use counseling, each Middlesex Recovery patient works with specialized medical providers and nursing staff to increase their chances of long-lasting recovery and improved overall health. Email or call a local office today to learn about available treatment programs.