Sober Survival Guide to Warm Up Your Winter

Baby, it’s cold outside. Let’s face it, you’re less inclined to battle the wind, snow, and sleet, and opt to stay indoors. For those struggling with substance use or in recovery, this time of year is especially challenging.  Check out our sober survival guide for winter.

Tips to Strengthen Your Recovery This Winter

These tips will help you preserve your sobriety and well-being, and even enjoy the cold winter months.

1. Update Your Music Playlist

Playing upbeat tunes do wonders for the psyche. When you are stuck indoors make it fun and dance in the living room. In need of some “happy” suggestions? Your playlist could include: “Don’t Worry Be Happy,” “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” “Good Vibrations,” “I Gotta Feeling,” and “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.”

2. Try a New Workout

Try some exercise at home. Pull out your yoga mat or hit the rug and do some moves or a routine. Stretch your muscles. Lift weights or, if you don’t have any, use canned foods instead. Look for an exercise show on TV or stream one. Get those endorphins going!

3. Bundle Up.

Head outdoors and go for a brisk walk. If the situation is conducive, build a snowman. Shovel snow. Other ideas: Ice skate, ski, or snowshoe. Get a little sunlight. Then come in and have some hot chocolate.

4. Cook.

Comfort food warms the heart and soothes the tummy. Have a favorite? Prepare it and refrigerate or freeze the leftovers to use whenever. This is the time to try a new recipe or concoct something of your own. Bake a batch of cookies, a cake or a pie. Interested in trying a new food regimen? See if Keto Diet, the Mediterranean Diet, or another one works for you. Do, as Rachael Ray says, and make something delish and stay healthy in the process.

5. Entertain.

Use your kitchen or shopping skills to plan a gathering. Invite friends who understand your situation and may even share some of the same issues. Keep the time stress-free and light. Play games, or watch a movie.

6. Read, write, and get creative.

Head to the library and take out a bestseller or something that inspires you. See what’s new on the shelves, which piques your interest. If you’re so inspired, put your thoughts down on paper or on a screen. Start a journal. The same goes for drawing or painting. This may be a good time to test your talent. The results may please you.

7. DIY (Do It Yourself).

A coat of paint can do wonders. So can clearing out the clutter that somehow accumulates. And those closets – dig in and organize, toss, and donate gently used items. These are great ways to cheer up and spread cheer.

8. Phone a Friend.

Reach out to people. Catch up. Stay in touch. Call on occasion or more often. Share your thoughts, events of the days, things you’re heard, read and done. Talking and listening are therapeutic.

9. Attend a meeting(s).

If you don’t go to AA or NA, now is the time to start. Try a local chapter as well as different ones in the area to see which you like best. Check out virtual options if the weather is too harsh. You can listen to experiences and share your own.

10. Seek treatment.

Do you need a treatment tune-up? Or, if you’re not in treatment, plan to get help. It’s the path to forging a productive future. Look into alternatives. Figure out the way forward. Deciding to take action is comforting in itself and a springboard to the best possibilities this winter season, for the rest of the year, and through the years ahead.


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