Like all major holidays, the 4th of July is a time for joy and celebration. But for some, it can also bring along increased emotional stress and triggers that may lead to substance abuse. Family conflict, trauma, financial concerns, and feelings of loneliness can intensify during the holidays, so it’s crucial to be prepared and equipped with healthy coping strategies.
Here are a few to keep in mind.
Know Your Limits
There are often clear signs or events that act as an open door for substance abuse. As you prepare to celebrate this year, keep an eye out for:
- Easy Access: Parties and get-togethers often have drinks and other substances flowing freely, making it tempting to overdo it or give in to peer pressure.
- Big Emotions: Holidays can bring out all sorts of emotions, good and bad. Some folks might turn to substances as a way to cope with these feelings.
- Stress Overload: Getting everything ready for the celebrations, hosting guests, and dealing with expectations can be really stressful. Some people resort to substances to take the edge off.
Start by recognizing your triggers — whether they are stressors, environments, or specific people. Once you know what those things are that trigger unhealthy coping mechanisms, try to limit your exposure to them.
Also, make sure to also prioritize taking care of your basic needs, including food, sleep, and mood, as they play a crucial role in managing triggers. Pay attention to warning signs, such as negative thinking patterns or seeking out unhealthy situations, and take proactive steps to address them.
Prioritize Your Well-Being
You don’t have to accept every invitation or follow every custom — it’s okay to decline an invitation to a party if there will be people or situations that are unhealthy for you. Prioritize your well-being by celebrating with people in situations you’re comfortable with.
Practice Mindfulness or Meditation
Studies have shown that mindfulness practice can protect against drug cravings and problematic substance use. Engaging in mindfulness or other forms of meditation helps you stay present in the moment, calming your mind from the stressors associated with the holiday and substance use.
Finally, Stay Safe
If you do consume alcohol or other substances this Fourth of July, please take extra precautions to ensure you and others are safe. Make sure there’s a designated driver if you’re going out, and call for a ride if you don’t have a driver with you.