The holidays are coming, and that means visiting friends and family, attending parties, and indulging in festive foods and drinks. There are parades, crowded stores filled with holiday shoppers, and indoor gatherings. However, with the pandemic this year, is any of that even possible? This year, there are more things to consider for these gatherings than just drunk drivers after a holiday party. Before you invite all of your friends and family over, it is important to know how to safely host a holiday gathering during Covid.
How-to: Safely Host a Holiday Gathering During Covid: Be Wise and Considerate
The only guaranteed way to safely host a holiday gathering during COVID is to reconsider having a get-together this year at all. COVID is certainly not a holiday gift that anyone wants to receive. The more people you are around, the higher your risk is for getting COVID. While it is not replacing gathering in-person, many medical professionals recommend finding virtual substitutes for family holiday traditions. While masks and social distancing can help, the only way to completely reduce the risk of infections is to remain separated.
Testing and Precautions
If you do choose to host a holiday gathering during COVID, there are some added precautions you can take. For example, your guests can agree to quarantine before the event. This will reduce the risk that they will contract the virus from someone else who has it, then bring it to you. You do run the risk that your attendees may break the quarantine or not be as diligent as you would like.
Another option would be for you to have your guests take a COVID test as close to the event as possible. Then, they should quarantine up until your event. This may be easier to ask for a family gathering than it would be for friends attending a party. Neither of these options is guaranteed to prevent COVID, but they can lower the risk.
Meals and Logistics
You may need to rethink the menu options you have at your holiday gathering during COVID. Instead of a buffet-style set up, a better option would be to serve individual plates of food. This keeps the number of people coming into contact with the food to a minimum. The person plating the food should be wearing a mask. When possible, use touchless garbage cans during cleanup.
Instead of opting for an indoor gathering, hold your event outdoors. However, this is not always possible depending on where you live. If your event has to be indoors, invite fewer guests. Also, have your guests wear masks when they are not eating.
While there is no perfect way to have a holiday gathering during COVID, these tips can help keep you and your guests safer. However, it’s good to remember that the best way to reduce your risk of COVID at a holiday gathering is to make it a virtual gathering instead.
When you begin your road to recovery, it can be tough to go it alone. As such, it’s helpful to build up recovery relationships. These bonds can go a long way in giving you the extra support you need during this time…
Recovery Relationships: Helpful Support
Value of relationships
Recovery relationships are quite helpful for those who are seeking to get sober. If you try and do things alone, it can be hard to resist things such as cravings. You could also start to feel rather discouraged and lose your enthusiasm as you begin to face some difficulties.
However, having people to support you can make things different. Here, you’ll have people who can encourage you to keep sober and help to hold you accountable. Not just that, but you’ll also have people who you can trust and be honest with. Knowing you have people in your corner goes far in giving you the strength you may need to get and stay sober.
If there are recovery relationships you don’t want, it’s any unhealthy ones. These toxic relationships will serve to hurt your efforts to get sober. Instead of support, these people may tear you down instead. Or, it could be the case that they are a bad influence and try to encourage you to relapse back into drug use.
These kinds of relationships can be hard to cut off, as they may be people you know or did drugs with. Still, you have to understand that it’s what’s best for your well-being. Being around these kinds of people will just add a lot of unneeded stress during an already-stressful time.
Creating new bonds
Building recovery relationships can be done in a number of ways. For starters, it’s good to turn to existing friends and family. Those who show that they’ll still help and support you are great to keep around. It’s only those who won’t that you’ll want to cut off.
As for new friends, many people create new bonds when they go through treatment. Meeting people at these facilities is great for making new friends that know exactly what kind of situation you’re in. You can also find new friends at group therapy or treatment sessions. It’s easy to form new connections as you share stories about your experiences.
Drinking in moderation can be a good way to relax and enjoy yourself. However, if you notice that you’ve been drinking more and more than usual, it could be the sign of some dangerous behavior developing. That’s why it’s good to know what you can do to cut down on your alcohol intake. This can help you keep healthy while still enjoying your favorite drinks…
How-to Reduce Alcohol Intake: Important Techniques
Set a limit
One good way to lower your alcohol intake is by setting a hard limit. Usually, before someone start drinking, they’ll have a basic idea of how much they want to drink. Yet, once they begin drinking, it’s easy for them to drink way more than they expected.
By setting a hard limit, you know exactly how much you want to drink. That way, when you start drinking, you know when to stop. Plus, it’s good to let any friends with you know what your limit is as well. This will help them not pressure you into drinking past this limit, and instead help you stick to it.
Some people try to not eat much before they drink. In their eyes, they try to balance the empty calories that comes with drinking by limiting what they eat. In reality, it’s not a good idea to drink on an empty stomach, especially if you want to limit your alcohol intake.
By drinking on an empty stomach, you’re setting yourself up to drink way more than you should. It’s pretty simple, as the more space there is in your stomach, the more you can drink before feeling full. By eating beforehand, you’ll be able to better limit your alcohol intake. This will also help you avoid feeling sick or nauseous after a few drinks.
Choose healthier options
Picking healthier choices is also good for when you want to cut down on your alcohol intake. Of course, the most apparent choice is water. Drinking water will help keep you hydrated after drinking alcohol. Plus, it’ll also help you feel full without needing to drink any alcohol. You can also try out some non-alcoholic drinks. Many of these drinks will taste similar to their alcoholic ones, just without the alcohol in them. Choosing these drinks can be good if you want to watch your intake, but still want to experience some unique flavors.
You have worked so hard to get clean, but staying clean can be a challenge in itself. In the short-term and longterm future, you will come across different triggers, events or emotions that may make you want to pick up bad habits again. While it may be a struggle, it is possible to make it through while staying clean. There are different steps you can take to help keep yourself from relapsing.
How-to Keep Yourself From Relapsing: Prevention Steps
Be Aware of Triggers
Everyone will have different things that trigger them, but there are some triggers that are more common than others. It is important to know these in order to help keep yourself from relapsing. First, being around old friends who are still using drugs or alcohol and have no interest in getting sober can be a relapse trigger. It is difficult to keep all of your old life the same without falling into the same bad patterns too. Certain locations that you used to engage in substance abuse can also be a trigger.
Other common triggers include isolation, relationship issues, uncomfortable emotions like feeling hungry, lonely, or tired. Some people are overconfident in themselves, thinking that they do not have a problem, or that the issues are all behind you. This over confidence can actually create the perfect scenario for relapse.
Stages of Relapse
One of the best ways to keep yourself from relapsing is to understand the stages of relapse. This way you can already know what to be mindful of. Relapse is usually a gradual process, and can even start months before the actual relapse event occurs. The different stages of relapse are emotional, mental and physical.
With emotional relapse, you’re not actually thinking about using. However, your emotions and behaviors can set you up for a potential relapse. Some of the signs include anxiety, mood swings, not asking for help or going to meetings, anger, and isolation. Change your behavior and practice self care. With emotional relapse, it is the easiest to get back on the right path and stop yourself from actually relapsing.
Mental relapse is when part of you wants to start using again, and the other part does not. You are being pulled two different ways. Some signs of this include lying, hanging out with your old friends, and thinking about people and places in your past. It also includes glamorizing your past use and even fantasizing about using again.
If you are struggling with mental relapse, talk to someone and tell them what you are going through and thinking about relapsing. This could be a friend or even a support group. Urges won’t last for too long, but just make sure to distract yourself by going on a walk, or calling someone to chat. Remember to take each day at a time so that the process does not feel so overwhelming.
Lastly, the best thing is to try and catch yourself from relapsing before you get to the physical relapse point. Once you start thinking about relapse, it does not take long to get to physical relapse. This is when you actually physically relapse again. So, pay attention and react to the warning signs so that you do not make it to this point. Get help before it is too late.
Addiction is not just something which affects adults. In fact, youth addiction is a serious problem as well. As such, it’s important for parents to know what they can do to help their kids avoid these substances, or help them get clean…
Youth Addiction: Offering Help
There’s a lot of factors behind youth addiction. For instance, it could be a result of things such as social influences. Their friends may try and convince them to take these substances because it’s “cool” or “adult-like.” This sort of peer pressure causes many youths to go overboard and end up with an addiction.
However, psychological factors can also contribute to an addiction. If a kid is struggling with something like depression, then they may turn to drugs to try and cope. Other times, it may even be family members or friends whose behavior encourages kids to use these drugs and become addicted because they think it’s okay to do so.
Like with the factors, there’s also many different substances which are involved in youth addiction. Alcohol is probably to most common kind. This is because it’s relatively easier for younger people to get their hands on it. Plus, with how it’s more accepted in adult society, kids don’t fully understand just how dangerous it can be.
In recent times, many younger people have also been developing addictions to opioids. In particular, stimulants and sedatives have been growing in popularity. The former is used mainly by students to try and improve their study and test-taking abilities. The latter is more used in a party context to help them relax, and is frequently taken with alcohol, which is a very dangerous combination.
The best way to curb youth addiction is for parents to talk to their kids. Sitting down with them and letting them know about the dangerous is key. Many times, kids simply just don’t know how dangerous or addictive these substances are. By informing them, you can better encourage them to make smarter decisions.
At the same time, parents should also show that they still love and support their kids if they are struggling with an addiction. Odds are, they already feel like they have let you down. By showing you are willing to support them getting clean, this can help encourage them to get the treatment they need.
If you’re looking to get sober, then outside support is going to be very important. Still, you want to make sure you don’t surround yourself with people who may encourage negative behavior. There’s a few traits in particular you’ll want to make sure they have…
Outside Support: Find Positive Help
Be there when you need them
Good outside support will consist of people who’ll be there when you need their help. The last thing you want to do is rely on people who are unreliable. It could be that they either ignore your calls or texts, or always have an excuse as to why they can’t help. While there may be times where they are genuinely busy, it shouldn’t be that they can never help you when you ask.
Instead, you want to ask more reliable friends and family for help. There are the people who will be there practically any time you ask. This is important, because things like withdrawal symptoms can go from being no issue to severe very suddenly. Knowing you have people you can consistently rely on is key for your recovery.
Hold you accountable
It’s also important that your outside support holds you accountable. While you want to live a healthier lifestyle, that can be easier said than done. It’s possible that your cravings can get quite bad, and you’ll be tempted to relapse. However, having people who will help you stick to your goals can keep you on the right path.
When things get tough, your support system should give you some positive reinforcement. At the same time, they should also be able to ask you if you’re sticking to your plan and keeping clean. If they themselves went through what you’re dealing with, then they can also offer you some advice which you might find valuable.
Avoid bad influences
One thing you don’t want your outside support to do is influence you in a negative way. Usually, this happens if they themselves continue to drink or take drugs. It’s possible that they could try and pressure you to stop trying to get sober, rather than help you keep clean.
In these situations, the best thing to do is to cut these people out of your life. It can be tough, especially if you’ve known them for a while. Still, you don’t want to put your own efforts at a higher risk than necessary.