Self-Care During the Holidays

Protecting Your Sobriety and Preventing Relapse

The holiday season comes with unique stressors and schedule disruptions that other seasons don’t often bring. With holiday get togethers, travel, and managing relationships, sticking to a program or established self-care practice becomes more taxing and less convenient. Additionally, the holidays can be a triggering time for individuals who have experienced difficulties in their family life or upbringing. For those in recovery from a substance use disorder, this is a critical time to take extra steps to ensure that sobriety remains a priority.

Self-Care Tips for Sobriety

Practicing self-care is one of the most effective ways to stabilize your energy and mood, especially during the holidays. Working through emotions, stressors, and daily life requires a lot of effort, so making sure you take care of yourself is key in protecting sobriety. Here are some tips to help you get in the self-care mindset:

  • Take time to reflect on how you are feeling. Check in with yourself and consider journaling, freewriting, or drawing to express your feelings. Doing something that gets feelings and persistent thoughts out of your head and onto paper helps to release them and allows you to clear your mind.
  • Give back to the community. It may not sound like self-care, but the feel-good chemicals released in the brain from giving to those less fortunate are truly transformative. Additionally, giving to others allows us to see our larger place in the world, and to understand the positive impact we can make on others.
  • Share gratitude for the people and things that make your life better. Gratitude practices. support wellness on multiple levels, and remind us of why we have made the commitment to sobriety. Make a physical or mental list of things you’re grateful for. Come back to it when things feel overwhelming.
  • Make plans with friends who support your recovery. There are sober celebrations for every holiday, though sometimes you have to seek them out or create them yourself! Invite friends over to cook and eat holiday dishes, play games, sing karaoke or even go caroling. Laughter and connection with people who care is strong medicine. If you have plans or obligations that might be difficult to cope with, such as a family event, go to a meeting before or set up plans to attend one after the event, giving yourself an extra boost in stability and support.
  • Get outside. Exercising in the crisp air, or at a gym, is a great way to boost your mood, gain energy, and release any anger or resentment you are feeling. Sometimes a simple walk is enough to regain a sense of calm and stability. Whatever activity you choose, moving your body has both physical and psychological benefits.

Whatever your self-care routine looks like, think of things that make you feel at peace, and do them. Whether it’s taking 15 minutes to meditate, getting outside to exercise, or volunteering at a local food bank, take care of yourself so you are set up for success in your sobriety this holiday season.

Self-Care Resource for Chico and Northern California

If you are struggling with getting through the holidays and need some additional support, our professional team of behavioral health care providers can help. We offer compassionate outpatient care and can work with you to set up a plan for success. Whatever level of care you need, we want to help you feel confident in your sobriety this holiday season.

For more information about behavioral health services and resources for self-care in Chico, call (530) 899-3150 or contact us here.


5 Ways to Navigate Grief During the Holidays

Coping with Loss During the Holiday Season

The holidays can be an incredibly difficult time to navigate grief and loss. While many are overjoyed to see the holiday season in full effect, it is not uncommon for those who are grieving to enter this time with an accompanying sense of fear or dread. They may be concerned as to how they will get through holiday parties, shopping, and workplace festivities while navigating the pain that comes with grief. Remember: Every grieving process is personal, and each unique experience is deserving of attention and respect. There is no time limit on grief, and there should be no expectation to “get over it” or to ignore it.

Here’s What You Can Do

If you are wondering how to handle your grief during this emotionally charged season, you are not alone. The most important thing you can do is allow your process to unfold and take care of yourself as you move through it.

Here are 5 tips to consider when you are grieving during the holidays:

  1. Trust that grief is part of healing and accept that the holidays may be different for you as you navigate your pain. Allowing yourself to feel and experience the emotions that come with grief, rather than trying to hide or escape them, helps you to heal. Working with pain instead of against it is less damaging in the long run, and this is an important ongoing reminder. Remember: Alcohol is a depressant, so even if it sounds like a good idea and subdues pain at first, it can often exacerbate it long term.
  2. Practice self-care through setting boundaries and making time for yourself to reset your energy. This may look like scheduling time to exercise, taking a walk if an environment is overwhelming, taking a hot bath or shower after an event, or sitting down with a journal to write out your feelings. Remember: You can say no to a social gathering if you do not want to go. Your mental health is your priority right now.
  3. Help others by volunteering, feeding the homeless, creating gifts for children who are in the hospital or even walking dogs at a local shelter. Giving back in a time of sadness can lift your spirits, and you can honor your loss by giving compassionately. Remember: The best way to feel love is to offer it, and it is okay to experience the joy of giving in a time of grief.
  4. Focus on what you can control so that you are not overwhelmed. Although you will be subjected to the holiday hustle and bustle, you do not have to participate. If you do not want to put up decorations or listen to music, that is okay. Surround yourself with what you want and what you can handle. Remember: Creating a safe space to grieve is your right.
  5. Ask for help from your family and friends, such as food preparation, decorating help, company on the day-of, or clearing out triggering things from your environment. Your family and friends are here to help you get through the holidays, if you let them. If you feel you need more specialized and focused support, seeking professional mental health care might be beneficial to you. Remember: Help is available, and you deserve it.

Mental Health Services in Northern California

If you are struggling with the grieving process and feel worried that you cannot move through your loss in a healthy way, we can help. We understand that not all grief is managed the same, and sometimes you need the support from therapists, psychologists or possibly inpatient treatment providers in order to find balance. Our compassionate team is available to help you learn ways to handle the hard days and push through the holiday season toward a

Contact our office at (530) 899-3150 to speak with one of our team members today.


Key Differences Between Inpatient & Outpatient Substance Treatment

When most people hear the word “rehabilitation,” they often think of a live-in facility where people reside for months at a time. However, not all forms of rehabilitation/substance treatment require participants to move into a residential facility. Receiving intensive personal care and attention doesn’t have to mean taking a long hiatus from work, school, relationships, and other obligations.

Important Distinctions Between Inpatient and Outpatient Substance Treatment

In addition to the residential aspect of some substance treatments, there are a few important distinctions between inpatient and outpatient treatment that one should consider before enrolling in either:

  • Disruption v. Continuity: Sometimes inpatient or residential treatment is essential for people who are overcoming addictions or other serious mental health challenges. However, leaving behind school, work, and other obligations isn’t always an option for participants who have families and other major commitments. Outpatient substance programs, on the other hand, provide participants with the freedom to continue working, earning an income, and providing for loved ones during the recovery process. This allows them to access the treatment they need at a reduced personal cost.
  • Delayed v. Immediate Application: Inpatient substance treatment provides participants with an opportunity to take a deep dive into their understanding of themselves, their addictions, their triggers, etc., and it allows them to learn about a variety of strategies for achieving sobriety, better mental health, and greater control overall. Outpatient treatment facilitates this same self-reflection, but also allows participants to immediately begin relying on their personal support system and applying strategies learned in treatment, which can increase the chances that they will continue to do so after graduating from their program.
  • Covered vs. Out-of-Pocket Costs: Due to the immense cost of inpatient substance treatment, insurance companies do not often provide full coverage for participants. However, outpatient care is covered under most health insurance policies, making care more accessible for those who need it.

Inpatient treatment is an effective and important step for individuals who are working to stop using substances and may need ongoing support in this process. After they have successfully overcome symptoms of withdrawal and are ready to transition in to long-term recovery, an outpatient treatment program may be the appropriate next step.

Intensive Outpatient Substance Use Program in Butte County

At Therapeutic Solutions, we provide a variety of programs for people in need of behavioral health care in Chico and throughout Northern California. Through our Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), we provide outpatient care for people who have been hospitalized and will be transitioning into aftercare.

Our dual diagnosis Substance Use Program supports long-term recovery through skill-building, compassionate therapy, and developing network of support that can sustain itself long after treatment has ended. Additionally, we provide psychiatric services like suboxone to help our patients struggling with substance use safely transition to recovery.

Participants in all of our programs also enjoy a few additional supportive services, including:

  • transportation
  • Ability to continue living at home
  • More personalized care and attention than other programs
  • Consistent interaction with highly trained staff and regular psychiatric consultations (if applicable)

If you or someone you love may benefit from outpatient substance treatment in Chico, please call Therapeutic Solutions at (530) 899-3150 and request your program assessment.