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Strategies for Surviving the Holidays - H.A.L.T.



As we head into the holiday season, I'm going to post a series of "survival" tips. You are probably very familiar with the stress-reduction suggestions that usually appear everywhere this time of year. But hopefully, these will serve as a reminder.

So what is H.A.L.T.?

HALT is an acronym that serves as a relapse-prevention tool people in early recovery from alcohol and drug addiction have in their repertoire. It's a handy reminder of behaviors/states of minds/situations that are triggers to relapse. But it doesn't just apply to addiction, it can work for all of us.

H - Don't Get Too Hungry

Hunger can be a trigger to drink or use. But how many of us starve ourselves in anticipation of a holiday event and then binge when we get there?

A - Don't Get Angry

When we aren't in control of our emotions, it can lead to unhealthy and/or nonproductive behaviors.

L - Be Careful of Being Lonely

Isolation and social withdrawal is often a precursor to relapse. It is also a symptom of depression and some types of anxiety. Spend time with people who support you.

T - Don't Be Too Tired

Be careful of wearing yourself out. Most of us can make bad decisions when we are overly tired.

HALT is a simple tool, but an easy way to remember some very effective means of self-care during the holidays.

Nancy L., LISW, LICDC

7 comments:

  1. I think this is good advice for people with mood disorders, as well. All of those things can trigger depression for me, especially being lonely or tired for any length of time.

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  2. Depression during the winter is very common. Both my mother and I suffer from it. The depression is mainly a problem at nights from people who suffer from this holiday depression. But I definately agree with your H.A.L.T strategy.

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    ReplyDelete
  3. HALT is such a great way to gauge your feelings/emotions. I saw where an "S" has been added to halt to make it HALTS. "S" stood for 'serious' as in don't take life so seriously but I think it could also stand for "Stress," as in, if you feel yourself getting too stressed out over holiday stuff, stop and take a breather (several nice deep breaths could suffice!)

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  4. Hi Wendi and Matthew:

    I agree about the application of HALT to mood disorders. It's a very simplistic concept, but sometimes those are the most effective strategies.

    Thanks for your comments!
    Nancy

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Anon:

    I really like the addition of "S." Thanks for sharing it.

    Nancy

    ReplyDelete
  6. I think that best way to reduce stress is to have stable life and doing sport activities regularly. i found that I am stress free when I started visiting gym regular.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I love this! HALT seems simple, yet powerful. I wish I had found this earlier..

    ReplyDelete

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