How to Stick To Your Wellness Routine During the Holidays

How to Stick To Your Wellness Routine During the Holidays

It can be challenging to maintain a wellness routine during the holiday season. From hosting out-of-town visitors to parties and festivities to all the gooey, sugary, not-so-healthy treats, it’s easy to get off track. This doesn’t mean you can’t participate and still have fun; it just means requiring a little bit of vigilance and prioritizing. Maintaining a wellness routine is especially crucial for people recovering from substance abuse.

For many people in recovery, the invitation to a holiday party gives them pause, knowing full well there might be alcoholic drinks being served and people who don’t know they’re in recovery. That’s why we recommend a few suggestions of practices to end the year on a good note and start the next one on the right foot.

What Makes the Holiday Season More Difficult?

Many people in recovery struggle to stop themselves at one drink. For some, there is no such thing as “moderation” when the temptation is that severe. There’s no easy way to explain to out-of-town friends or relatives that you struggle with sobriety or that you haven’t been around much because you’ve been in treatment for the better part of the year. How much information you reveal is up to you, but it doesn’t make the situation any less uncomfortable. With luck, most people will be sympathetic and understanding rather than express judgment or condemnation.

Tips for Staying Sober During the Holidays

There’s no reason to hide in a hole for fear of relapse this season. You can participate in all the usual activities, just with a few safeguards in place. Consider the following suggestions.

Formulate and Maintain a Recovery Routine

The holidays have a way of throwing everyday routines into chaos. If you attend regular 12-Step meetings each week or meet regularly with a sponsor, keep doing that. Keep making time for regular exercise, continue making healthy meals, and go to bed at a reasonable hour. These are good life practices in general, but especially necessary for people trying to reset their minds and bodies in recovery. All of these practices help support sobriety and prevent relapse.

Say No to Triggering Events

You may be getting many invitations to parties at this time: friends’ parties, family gatherings, and office events. Depending on where these events take place and who will be there, we advise you to consider which invitations you accept. Will the event be held in a bar or a venue with an open bar? Will there be people there who might pressure you to “loosen up” and have a drink? These are essential factors to consider as you schedule out the last months of the year.

If you do have to say no, you can do so gracefully. You don’t owe anyone a specific reason for being unable to attend unless you’re comfortable giving it. Keep on making progress with your recovery, and you may be able to reevaluate invitations when next year comes around.

Have an Escape Plan

If you do decide to attend a party where alcohol will be served, prepare accordingly. Decide what you will say ahead of time if you’re offered a drink or how you’ll respond if someone asks why you’re not drinking this time. Plan when you will arrive and when you will leave. Ask the host ahead of time if there will be non-alcoholic options available, or bring one of your own (sparkling grape juice looks no different than champagne when poured into a fancy glass). Be sure to have a reliable form of transportation if you’re uncomfortable and need to leave early. You may want to schedule a call with your sponsor or attend a 12-Step meeting after for extra accountability.

Be Extra Helpful

One great way to reduce the temptation to drink can be to offer to help with hosting. When you’re busy carrying out trays and serving others’ plates, you’ll be able to take the focus off of yourself and any cravings. There is also increased motivation to stay sober when you know that people are counting on your help.

You may also want to consider filling your time with volunteering in your community. See if your local soup kitchen or homeless shelter can use an extra pair of hands this season. Doing good things for humanity is another excellent way to enable recovery – and feel good doing it.

Stay Sober and Well With Enlightened Solutions

Enlightened Solutions is a place to start rebuilding your life after struggling with addiction. We advocate for holistic ways of healing and living in order to be fully healthy. Some of the programs and practices we offer include:

  • Yoga: More than just a form of exercise or a way to improve flexibility, yoga is a practice in which participants get in touch with their bodies at a deep level. The poses are structured to allow the body to release tension and promote calmness and relaxation.
  • Meditation and mindfulness: By paying attention to the present and observing our thoughts without judgment or condemnation, we can learn how to redirect negative thought patterns.
  • Wellness and nutrition activities: Many people will be surprised at how much better they can feel, and what conditions may clear up naturally, simply by changing their diet. By learning to cook healthy meals with all-natural ingredients, you can start to feel better both physically and mentally.

The holiday season may be challenging and full of potential triggers, but you don't have to face it alone. At Enlightened Solutions, we offer a variety of treatment and wellness programs to help you in your recovery journey from substance abuse. Learn how to replace unhealthy habits with life-giving ones, change negative thought patterns, and rebuild a supportive community. Through our holistic treatments and practices, we have had the privilege of helping many people achieve long-term sobriety and live healthier and happier lifestyles. We believe in a “whole-person” approach that focuses on physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual healing. If you're struggling with addiction and need help, contact us today at (833) 801-LIVE to learn more. 

How to Relax During the Holidays

How to Relax During the Holidays

The holidays can be a hectic, stressful time. Yes, the holidays are supposed to be about family and spending time together. However, this in itself can be stressful or overwhelming for some.

Maybe the holidays make you feel lonely or isolated. You see friends and those around you spending time with loved ones and perhaps you feel a little left out. Or, maybe spending time with family causes you stress. If you are battling addiction, time spent with those you care about can be tense.

The holidays bring on stress and anxiety for many different reasons. People often feel financial pressure during the holidays. The obligation to buy gifts for everyone can be overwhelming. Sometimes, you might even find yourself taking on debt as a result.

If you are struggling with substance abuse or are in recovery, you may be working hard to re-establish financial stability for a variety of reasons. Feeling the pressure of buying gifts around the holidays can be very stressful if you aren't in a position to do so.

You are also more likely to be exposed to social situations that might involve substances. The holidays are known for parties. You may have a party for work, a party with friends, family parties, and the list goes on. If you are in recovery, these social settings can sometimes lead to discomfort or temptation.

Setting Boundaries

Boundary setting is something you may hear a lot about and discuss throughout treatment. Setting boundaries, especially with those you care about, can be tough sometimes. The truth is, setting boundaries can actually improve relationships. Often, when you are struggling with substance abuse, the relationships you have may become strained or tense. Boundary setting in recovery helps both parties heal and avoid any codependent or triggering behavior.

It is also important to set boundaries for yourself when it comes to navigating the holidays and the many parties and events they can bring. This does not mean you have to avoid these activities. Setting boundaries to ensure you are comfortable and avoid anything that could lead to temptation or relapse is key.

A few tips for setting boundaries in these settings include:

  • Leave early
  • Have an exit plan
  • Connect with your sponsor before and after the event
  • Bring your own non-alcoholic beverages

In addition to setting boundaries for yourself when it comes to attending events, you need to set boundaries for yourself when it comes to your own energy and time. Often, with the best of intentions, family members, coworkers, and friends may place high demands this time of year.

It is crucial to remember the importance of self-care in recovery. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed or unable to meet certain expectations, take a moment to explore your own needs. There is nothing wrong with putting yourself and your needs first. Sometimes, this might involve speaking up about how you are feeling, or creating a little distance between yourself and those who are applying the pressure.

Maintaining Balance

Recovery is all about finding your footing without drugs and alcohol. You are focused on building your new life and are likely choosing wisely when it comes to your environments and the people you spend time with. The holidays have a way of disrupting normal routines.

For example, you may have some time off from work for the holidays. This can be an excellent time to rest and recharge. Time off also provides you with extra downtime, which, especially in early recovery, can be tricky to navigate. It is best to stay consistent with your normal routine as best as you can during the holidays.

Wake up and begin your day with some quiet time or meditation. Even if you have the day or week off from work, you still want to start your day off right. Make it a point to continue making it meetings, even if it means attending at a different time, or leaving a gathering a little early.

Relaxation Techniques

When you do find yourself feeling overwhelmed and stressed out during the holidays, take some time to relax. A few activities to help promote relaxation could include:

  • Taking a warm bath
  • Listening to calming music
  • Diffusing essential oils
  • Engaging in breathing exercises
  • Practicing Meditation
  • Practicing Yoga

Maintaining the boundaries and balance you have created in recovery is critical. In order to avoid relapse, you must prioritize yourself and your sobriety during the holidays. It can be easy to let your guard down or give in to the pressures of others during this time. Extra stress and high expectations can lead to the temptation to seek substances if you aren't prepared with solid coping strategies. Make the effort to relax when you need to. Your success in recovery is your number one priority.

The holidays are a time for family, great food, and gathering. While this sounds joyous, it can also be stressful. The holidays have a way of applying added pressure. This can include financial pressure, pressure to spend your time with certain people, and pressure to expend energy on things and activities that may not serve you well. It is important to set healthy boundaries and work to maintain balance as you enjoy the holidays. At Enlightened Solutions, we help clients develop routines and habits that promote relaxation. This allows them to be better prepared to cope with stress and adversity in recovery. If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, call Enlightened Solutions today at (833) 801-LIVE.

New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s Resolutions

It’s the beginning of the year and it’s time for new year’s resolutions. Just like packed gyms with ambitious people looking to better themselves, AA meetings can be the same way. Individuals with addictive personalities can find new goals or resolutions with extreme expectations. Having expectations is a way of trying to control something or someone and that is not suggested. However, if the goal is to take a new lifestyle one day at a time, it’s easier to stay on track. There are a few things to keep in mind while attempting to achieve personal goals.

Be realistic:

Do not attempt to do anything that can be overwhelming. People who have alcoholism, should not say they will never drink again. This can be the manifested but there’s something to be said by starting small. One day at a time.

One thing at a time:

Often times there can be a “pink cloud” or a period of time where there is an intense amount of confidence in early sobriety. This is a wonderful thing, but there should be cautious around doing too many things at once. Getting sober is a huge deal and should be treated so. It’s not recommended to also quit smoking, go back to school, lost 20 lbs, and so on.

Be open:

With sobriety, it’s important to let others know what you are doing. This will help with staying accountable. If family and friends are aware of your goals and resolutions, they will be there to support you at weak moments. If someone is trying to get sober or healthier in any way it should not be kept a secret. Own your new way of life!

Be nice to yourself:

If there are bumps in the road it is important not to dwell on the negative. For example, if someone had begun to live a vegan lifestyle and they had a steak. It’s more helpful to think about what had gone right, rather than slipping. Focus on the positive and let more positive things come. Focus on the negative and more negative

If you are looking to find a new path to recovery for the body, mind, and spirit, help is available. Enlightened Solutions offers a clinical, holistic, and 12-step approach to help patients heal and transform. Begin to make the shift into a hopeful future with us here in New Jersey. Call for more information: 833-801-5483.

Stress Around the Holidays

Stress Around the Holidays

With the holidays approaching, it’s important to have tools set in place for all the unforeseen events that take place during this special time of year.There are many triggers that come into play, and it’s suggested that alcoholics in early recovery take all precautions seriously. There are many tips that make the holiday season much more tolerable and even enjoyable!. When the alcoholic is able to stay in gratitude, it becomes more of a pleasant experience. After living through certain tragic holiday scenarios with families, it’s a new opportunity to spend quality time with loved ones. This is wonderful and will be cherished by all who can appreciate the miracle taking place. For those alcoholics that have lost everyone due to the consequences of the disease, there are ways to get through these times without falling into self-pity. It all comes down to gratitude. Staying grateful for each miracle, each day of sobriety, will always be helpful in staying connected to a higher power. When there is this connection, the alcoholic will be guided towards the light.

Alcoholics working a 12-step program must also stay connected to its members. There is an immense amount of support in these support groups and all alcoholics should “stay in the pack” when navigating life at this time of year. Being aware of triggers and hearing how others stay sober will keep the alcoholic in action. Being in a state of fear during these times can derail any alcoholic and hearing faith in others will hopefully give the alcoholic hope. In regards to the inevitable holiday parties,alcoholics must put their sobriety first. If that means skipping a year of festivities, then that’s what needs to happen. Nothing should come before sobriety. In many AA communities they offer meeting marathons on Thanksgiving and Christmas. These give alcoholics a safe place for 24 hours if needed. AA members are there to help each other through thick and thin, and these are especially dire times.

When the alcoholic begins to feel lonely and depressed, it’s time to remember what had gotten them to this point. Continuing down a path of self-love is imperative. Often times, people like to indulge in the holidays. The idea of giving a gift out of love and appreciation is wonderful. However, people can get too caught up in all of the stuff. While on a sober spiritual path, the alcoholic can begin to see that it’s not the stuff that makes people happy. It’s the love and laughter that brings joy. Abusing alcohol and drugs can skew anyone’s view on the meaning of the holidays. It’s when the alcoholic clearly sees the true beauty in why holidays are so special, that a transformation takes place. Grace flows freely and soon what felt like a chore to see family, will become a privilege. Those who are without families will find new ones in the rooms of AA and that is beautiful.

Our holistic, clinical and 12-step approach at Enlightened Solutions will teach patients the awareness of triggers and tools to stay on a solid road to recovery. Just like koi fish in our logo, patients will learn to rise prosper as they integrate back into the chaotic world. To learn more call: 833-801-5483.

The Holidays Might Not Be Perfect And That’s Okay

Everything is picture perfect during the winter. Snow on the tree tops, decorations perfectly in place, the winter’s fashions making everyone look cozy. For perfectionists, especially those in recovery for drug addiction and alcoholism, trying to hold together the perfect holiday season is taxing. Many of us try to compensate for ruined holidays past by making each new one as perfect as possible. We have to realize that life continues to occur on life’s terms, even when it’s the holidays. Like any other day, we have to take each hour in stride and accept what we cannot change. Rather than fixate on what is going wrong or what might go wrong, try to focus on acceptance. Move past the judgments of good, bad, right, and wrong. Instead, take time to truly participate in holiday cheer and laugh merrily along the way. The true holiday miracle is that you’re alive and sober to see another winter season.


Asking For Help And Support Is Courageous

As recovering alcoholics, addicts, and perfectionists, we feel a nagging need to be in control of everything. Unfortunately, we can’t be in control of everything and we cannot do it alone. Out of our effort to put on a perfect face to demonstrate our recovery we forget that it is a sign of true growth and strength to ask for help. Connect with your friends, loved ones, and family members by participating in holiday preparations together.


Keep Your Expectations Low For Pleasant Surprises

Adhering to unrealistic ideals of perfection usually sets our expectations high. High expectations lead to very low disappointments. Tell yourself it’s okay to expect the unexpected and expect nothing at all. Keeping low expectations does not mean you expect the worse. It does mean you leave room to be pleasantly surprised.


Stay Focused On Gratitude And Thankfulness

The true purpose of the holidays is to give us a yearly chance to be in gratitude and thankfulness all the time. What matters is focusing on how our lives have changed and how rich they have become through sobriety. If you feel your perfectionism lighting up like a christmas tree, look at each twinkling light and find something to be grateful for.


Enlightened Solutions offers a sanctuary to those in need of help and support during the holidays. We know this time of year can be difficult and challenging for getting or staying sober. Our multiple levels of care help us to individualize a program to meet your needs. For more information call 833-801-5483.

art therapy

7 Art Therapy Ideas For The Winter Holidays

Holidays are known for beautiful decorations, fun crafts, and delicious meals. Incorporate your recovery into holiday cheer with some of these therapeutic activities.

Art Therapy Ideas For The Winter Holidays

  1. Ornaments.
    Decorating ornaments is a great way to express creativity and add to the holiday tradition. You can buy pre-colored ornaments and use adhesive methods like hot glue gun or modge podge to cover the ornament in decoration or collage. Buy clear, glass ornaments and different color paints. For a therapeutic twist, use the clear ornament as a metaphor and notice how each paint leaves a unique color streak when you pour it on the inside. Some colors mix better than others. As you twist the ornament in different ways you can change the way the paint colors the inside of the glass. Like in life, we are affected in different ways by the things which come into our existence. Not everything mixes beautifully, but by learning to navigate life and accept what comes, we can still create something to cherish.
  2. Wreaths.
    A wreath is a beautiful holiday welcoming symbol that can be incredibly creative. How do you want your door or home to be noticed? Start with a styrofoam ring and start to decorate. You can choose whatever theme you want and hang the wreath proudly for everyone to see. For a therapeutic activity, consider the wreath to represent the circle of your life. Choose decorations to show how far you’ve come and where you want to go.
  3. Custom Wrapping Paper.
    Buy sheets of blank colored wrapping paper and sets of sharpies or paints. Rolling the paper out across the floor, use rocks or something heavy to hold down the corners. Draw, splatter, paint, and doodle all over the paper for a pattern that is completely original and unique to you.
  4. Holiday Themed Coloring Books.
    Coloring is a great art therapy tool. Find holiday themed coloring books and spend time coloring in the scenes which speak most to you about the holidays.
  5. Snow Globes.
    Imagine what your perfect winter wonderland would look like. Using any kind of jar, fill the body with water and white glitter. On the inside of the lid, glue decorations to depict your ideal scene. Is it trees? A log cabin? Walking a dog? Find a small toy or decoration. Once it is dry, screw the lid back on and flip it over.
  6. Holiday Music Meditation Activity.
    Holiday music can bring back a lot of happy memories and a lot of difficult memories. Pick a favorite album or song to do a mindful meditation to. Notice what emotions come up as you listen to the song. Which parts are your favorites? What smells does it remind you of or feelings? After the song, journal your reflections.
  7. Ugly Holiday Sweaters.
    The ugly holiday sweater has become a major trend for parties and celebrations. Finding the right ugly sweater can take tons of shopping in thrift stores and shops. Create your own using fabric paints, decorations, patches, and more. From any store, purchase a plain colored crewneck sweatshirt. Using the colors and decorations you’ve chosen, decorate the front of the sweater. At your first sober holiday party, you’ll blow everyone out of the way with your very own ugly sweater. Use the activity as a time to practice remembering not to take yourself, and even the holidays, too seriously.

We know the holidays can be hard. You don’t have to do it alone. If you or a loved one are in need of seeking treatment this holiday season, Enlightened Solutions is here to help. Give yourself the gift that will last the rest of your life. Call us today: 833-801-5483.