Holiday stress is something Americans are accustomed to and most of us handle it without too much effort. But, for some people, the extra activities and demands are a reason to indulge in alcohol consumption beyond the usual amounts.
Why should we be concerned about how to handle holiday stress without drinking? Let’s look at some statistics before we explore why alcohol is a problem during this time of year.
Holiday Drinking Statistics That May Surprise You
Christmas and New Year’s holiday events are typically accompanied by several kinds of alcoholic beverages. It’s an American tradition that began many decades ago, and it is an accepted form of socialization. But, for some people, it’s more than just an occasional way to celebrate.
You may be surprised to know that in 2020, sales for alcoholic beverages increased significantly. Part of the increase was attributed to the COVID lockdowns, but the numbers are shocking regardless of the reasons involved in the increased sales:
- Boxed wine sales increased by 27.1%
- Liquor sales increased by 31.7%
- Beer sales increased by 15.4%
The above figures were provided by the Neilsen report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
Holiday drinking becomes a problem when individuals become depressed, lonely, or overly stressed during the season and overindulge in alcohol as a way to cope.
Tips for Managing Holiday Stress Without Alcohol
Once again, the virus pandemic is affecting the way we celebrate the holidays. Many people will avoid large crowds or even avoid family gatherings due to their concerns about contracting new strains of the virus.
As a result of the sense of helplessness surrounding the changes in our holiday traditions, many people will seek solace in an extra glass of wine or another shot of whiskey. But, there are healthier ways to cope with the holiday disappointments without drinking.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the following methods for ensuring a sober, happy holiday season:
> Take Care of Yourself
It’s understandable that you feel sad or lonely without family members around during the holidays. But, you can stay in touch through social media, group video calls, and other virtual platforms.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the shopping, cooking, and gift wrapping, take a break. Do something you enjoy such as listening to music or reading a book. It’s also helpful to take a walk. Nothing perks up your mood better than exercise and plenty of fresh air.
Remember, you’re not alone in your struggle to adapt to the restrictions posed by the virus pandemic. Every American feels the same sense of loss for the days when we could gather together without worrying about contracting a virus.
> Take Care of Your Family Members
Your mood affects your family more than you realize. So, take time to help them feel more in the holiday spirit. Prepare a special meal and then watch a movie together. Or, play board games or tell stories. Go play in the snow or have a tree decorating party. Make cookies together or drink some hot chocolate by the fire. Also, make sure everyone gets enough sleep, and spend quality time together when awake.
> Talk About What You’re Grateful for This Year
We’re all feeling the effects of the restrictions we’ve been under this year, but it’s time to focus on something else for a while. Get together with your family and share the things you’re grateful for this year. You may be pleasantly surprised at what your family has to say.
Holidays Without Alcohol for Newly Sober People
Individuals who are newly sober may have extra stress this time of year. They worry about going to get-togethers where alcohol is available. Addiction specialists recommend that newly sober individuals have a readymade escape plan before attending these events.
One tip is to have a pre-set time for leaving. They should also have transportation available if they decide to leave early. Taking non-alcoholic beverages to the event can also help a person resist temptation.
Happy Holidays from Design for Change Recovery
Hopefully, these tips on how to handle holiday stress without drinking will help you or a family member find a way to relax and enjoy yourself without alcohol.
If you are struggling with alcohol addiction during this festive time of year, contact us at Design for Change Recovery. We offer a comprehensive, individualized approach to treatment that is proven successful. Our team of compassionate counselors and staff will ensure that all of your needs are met during your time in our program.
With our help, you can enter the new year with renewed health and anticipation for a better lifestyle going forward.
From everyone here at Design for Change Recovery, we wish your family a wonderful holiday season.
cdc.gov – Holidays and Stress