Sunday, December 20, 2009

Don't Let Upcoming Holidays Trigger Past Addictions

Here's an article I wrote a year ago, and since it's Christmas time, I thought I'd publish it again today on my blog. Merry Christmas everyone.....

Holiday temptations to over-eat or drink too much can trigger a return to past addictions. For those who have stuck to their diets, or quit drinking or smoking, avoiding temptations can be especially tough with the extra stress created by this year's battered economy.

Right now, before the holidays are in full swing, is when you can call on the same inner resolve that led you to quit your past addictions in the first place. You can vow right now to be pro-active, and you'll be better prepared to resist holiday temptations and stress. On top of traditional temptations of holidays and social obligations, this year's holidays might prove even more stressful because of the dire state of the economy. A new CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll reports that 75 percent of people surveyed said they are suffering high stress because of the economy. Here are five common sense tips to avoid letting the holidays or a bad economy undermine your addiction-free lifestyle:

Avoid friends and acquaintances who are not supportive of your resolve to stay free of past addictions. Even when you can't avoid holiday occasions involving non-supportive family members, minimize your time spent with them or insist on bringing along a supportive friend or relative.
Avoid environments that might tempt you to return to your past bad habits. If you have stopped drinking, don't go to holiday parties at bars or even homes where alcohol will be a major focus. Politely decline. Your health and lifestyle are more important than social obligations.
Take a stress-busting walk. Exercise is a great way to reduce stress. Every time you feel internal worries building up, take an energizing walk through the woods, at the beach, or even around the block outside your office. If you can't outside to take a walk, practice deep breathing exercises to calm you.
Start a new hobby. Instead of worrying about past bad habits, begin a new good habit. Find a hobby that interests you, and one that is fun, too.

Join a group. When you were addicted, life was all about you. Getting involved with other people who are doing something positive will stop you from focusing too much on yourself. Join a social group, enroll in a class or become a volunteer in your community. Volunteers are critically needed in a struggling economy, and especially before and during the holiday season



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