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Although stress is not considered a diagnosable mental illness, it impacts all of us. It can be related to mental disorders and how an individual perceives the people and situations around them. For example, an individual with a phobia or anxiety disorder may interpret normal situations as more...

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Overly high expectations, increased obligations, financial stress, escalated demands at work as the year draws to a close, all accompanied by decreasing hours of daylight, can make the holiday season far from merry and bright. The holiday blues present even more of a challenge for recovering alcoholics. Stress, fatigue, loneliness and relationship problems, all triggers that threaten to throw us off course, are magnified as holiday activities root us from our established routines. Add the proliferation of social functions centered on drinking, and a fall off the wagon seems inevitable. It doesn’t have to be.
Perhaps you experience some joy at being able to announce Christmas shopping is finally completed, or feel proud of the 10 dozen decorated cookies cooling on your kitchen counter, but what happen to the magic? The sense of anticipation and awe you felt as a child during the holidays? You don’t have to abdicate your role as a responsible adult to once again experience the holiday joy.
It can be difficult to remember which came first: substance abuse or stress. One feeds the other until the line is dimmed but the outcome is clear: stress clearly can be a factor in the beginning of alcohol and drug abuse, as well as in contributing to relapses.
Exercise is a great stress-buster. Even moderate physical activity will increase your blood flow, bringing more rejuvenating oxygen to your brain. Exercise triggers the release of endorphins, those feel-good chemicals that lift your mood and wash away stress. Strength training exercises relieve muscle tension created by the stress response. Flexing your muscles will boost your ... more