Now that Halloween is over, stores are putting up holiday decorations and countless radio stations will be playing an endless loop of jingles until New Year’s. Some of us are thrilled by this (I do shamelessly get into the spirit by the time Thanksgiving rolls around) and others – not so much. It is very possible to crush the holidays as a student in recovery, regardless of how you feel about the decorations and the jingles. Here are a handful of my favorite ways:
1. Self-care, self-care, self-care.
By now we know that there are countless ways to take care of yourself (in fact, this might get its own blog post next time!). When finals are approaching and we are running around like chickens with our heads cut off, it is so easy to think, “I am barely sleeping; how am I supposed to make time for a sunset walk or exercise or Sunday Night Football?”. Yes, I consider a study break consisting of Sunday Night Football to be self-care. The key is that you’re hitting the reset button. If it feels like a deep, recharging breath, it is self-care. Make time for these things! Schedule them into your calendar. “Sorry, (insert your least favorite class here), you’re going to have to wait an hour or two. I have a date with (insert favorite self-care activity here).” I know it is easier said than done. Practice, practice, practice!
2. Get your sleep on.
This could certainly be considered self-care but I believe it deserves its own section. A loved one recently reminded me – 110% relatable – that when they are overtired they are far more likely to make horrible, terrible, cringe-worthy decisions. Many of us have exams coming up. What is worse than being so sleep deprived that you cannot make it through even one exam question without losing focus? Okay, many things are far worse than that. STILL! Prioritizing sleep is a fool-proof way to be on your game throughout finals and during the sometimes overwhelming string of holiday parties.
3. Be okay with saying “no” to a party invite (or two).
Speaking of holiday parties… ‘Tis the season for ‘em! They can be so much fun – and so much food. Whether you are spent on socializing, have other plans, or just don’t feel comfortable in a boozey party atmosphere, remind yourself that you can turn down invitations. As a student in recovery, I have experienced pressure to consistently show up for parties that are pretty reminiscent of my pre-recovery days. I still need this reminder, too: if you feel mentally, emotionally, physically stable, there’s nothing wrong with showing up AND there is nothing wrong with saying, “Thanks, but no thanks.” Who knows the positive influence you might have on a classmate who is also looking for an alternative to the classic party scene.
4. Keep in touch with your #squad.
Especially if you are travelling home – or elsewhere – for the holidays, being able to group text about everyone’s ridiculous family antics – everyone has a classically obnoxious aunt/uncle/second cousin – might be an even better connection that you realize. Keep the goofy going by conversing strictly in memes. Send videos of your family’s best and worst rounds of charades. (PSA: you can turn off group text notifications.) You could absolutely hold an informal All Recovery meeting via group text or Facebook Messenger! At this point, the options for staying in touch with your recovery supports are endless.
5. Prepare for the coming semester.
The first couple of days of the new year tend to be a good check-in time. Do you have a copy of your schedule? How about the binders and other supplies that you need? I am big on reusing these items if they are in good condition. These might seem like silly reminders but we can save ourselves a lot of last-minute stress by getting these things together sooner than the night before the semester starts. I may or may not still wind up scrambling at the last minute… progress is a process, right?!
What are your favorite ways to rock the holiday season?
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