Self-care Help for Mental Health and Substance Use Challenges


The holidays may not be the most wonderful time of the year for everyone—especially as we increase socially-distancing and navigate COVID-19.

We asked our counselors to come up with the top 12 tips for managing stress and navigating the holidays.

If you like these tips, please share! You can download a PDF flyer of the 12 tips here.

12 days of Recovery

The 12 Days of Recovery

  1. Be aware of your triggers. Triggers that may cause anxiety could include certain activities, people or factors such as loud places, busy places, or places that bring negative memories.
  2. Keep your expectations realistic. Pace yourself. Let go of striving for perfection. Be flexible. 
  3. Know your limits/boundaries. It’s ok to say no or no thank you, even around the holidays. 
  4. Try to stay in the moment. Rehashing old events or pressure about the future can be stressful and take away from the joy of the present moment. 
  5. Have a support system in place. Know who is available and can help you when you feel stressed or need support. 
  6. Check in with yourself every day. Do a self-inventory. Use the acronym “HALT:” Are you Hungry, Angry, Lonely,Tired? 
  7. Practice self-forgiveness. Focus on your strengths. If you find yourself getting overwhelmed, remember you’re only one person and it’s impossible to do everything.” 
  8. Trust your instincts. If you don’t feel right about going somewhere, or doing something, DON’T DO IT
  9. Prioritize your own needs. Even during the holidays, putting yourself first is always the best practice
  10.  Keep a list of activities to do if you get overwhelmed. Practice mindfulness, get some fresh air, journal, call a friend or sponsor…or call SouthLight! Check our Resources page for phone numbers and online help. 
  11. Plan ahead. If you are attending holiday gatherings with family and friends, have an exit strategy in case you need to leave or take a break
  12. Remember, help is always available. There are many resources and support groups open even on the holidays.

Visit the Resources page of our website to get help on where to start or who to call. Here are a few resources (not meant to be a comprehensive list or endorsement.)

Special thanks to these SouthLight counselors for their input: Christopher Deviney and Jacki Agusta, and Director of Adult Outpatient Services Jennifer Whitfield.

About SouthLight:

Founded in 1970, SouthLight Healthcare is one of the area’s largest nonprofit providers of substance use treatment and mental health services. SouthLight partners with individuals and communities to provide innovative treatment solutions delivered with compassion and dignity. With outpatient and community-based programs, SouthLight provides prevention, education and treatment services in the Triangle and beyond.