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Non-Food Related Holiday Festivities

The holidays can often seem like a time of year where everything's focused on food. For some, this may provide a sense of joy, comfort, and tradition, however for others this may make this time of year feel challenging and daunting. Depending on where you're at in your recovery journey, it might make sense to try to build holiday traditions that don't necessarily revolve around food. Not sure where to start? Here are some ideas to get in the festive spirit...

1. Volunteer or donate - This time of year is based around the spirit of giving, and what better way to do so than to volunteer your time and/or donate to somewhere that feels valuable to you? Maybe you decide to volunteer at a soup kitchen on Thanksgiving, adopt a family to buy gifts for at Christmas time or make it a goal to donate blood throughout the year. Whatever feels significant to you can create a really meaningful tradition, and help you practice gratitude for what you can do for others!

2. Create holiday themed arts/crafts - Perhaps baking and decorating cookies or making latkes with your family does not yet feel safe to you in your space of recovery, but you are missing this creative outlet. Could you possibly create something different that still allows you to feel like you "made" and/or decorated something? Maybe it's a holiday themed painting or coloring book, a sewing project to give as gifts or making candles in scents such as pine or cranberry.

3. Spend time with loved ones - This time of year often means connecting with friends and family around holiday events so be intentional in how you spend time with others; make it a goal to commit to quality time with those you love and work to be present and engaged. Bonus points if you have any children you can try to spend time with and see the holiday new through their eyes!

4. Engage in cold weather physical activities - If you are at a point in your recovery where movement feels joyful and is safe/allowed for you to incorporate, it can feel nice to try new activities and/or revisit previous types of movement that you maybe haven't included since this season last year. Some ideas include: sledding, ice skating, skiing/snowboarding, building a snowman, or snow shoeing.

5. Take in holiday media - Yes, watch the cheesy Christmas movies if you so please! If this isn't your speed, maybe try something else festive such as reading a book, watching your favorite TV specials, attending a play or parade or putting on a festive playlist.

6. Decorate your home/office - Adding decorations can make your spaces feel more festive and cozy. Pairing this up with #1, maybe it would also feel valuable to you to ask an elderly relative or neighbor if they want any help decorating their place so they can feel the same coziness.

7. Create your own traditions altogether - Maybe you're just not that into the holidays and this isn't necessarily the "most joyful time of year" for you, and that's OK. Decide how you wish to spend this next month or so and give yourself unconditional permission to do it. Maybe you decide to make December the month where you slow down and practice giving yourself more rest instead of leaning into the hustle and bustle of the holidays. Maybe you volunteer to work on the holidays but take some time off in January for a vacation or stay-cation. Remember, the holidays do not have to look any one certain way to be the best way to take care of you and your recovery!


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