January and February are often months that people may experience Winter Blues or seasonal mood issues. As Holiday celebrations subside and we get deeper into Winter, some people may experience a decline in their mood and motivation. For those living in regions with four seasons, many struggle with seasonal mood fluctuations. This can be a result of many factors that can include less exposure to sunlight, cold weather, boredom, increased substance usage, relapse, limited activity and exercise, less visible sunlight, Vitamin D3 deficiency, serotonin level changes and more.
There are many people who made New Year’s Resolutions that included decreasing and abstaining from substances and healthy living goals. Initially, getting sober or making a habit changes may feel exciting, new and fresh—the world suddenly appears different and a person may feel better mentally and physically. However, this initial euphoria can wear off and reality of this “resolution” sets in. February is nearly over, and what sounded like a great idea in December may suddenly feel burdensome and harder than expected.
For those in early recovery from addiction, it is crucial to have a social and clinical support system in place for difficult times such as Winter blues. Recovery itself may start to feel mundane and tedious and it can be invaluable to have a support network that helps an individual look at all facets of their lives to see what actions they need to take in order to get back on track. This is the process of “re-committing” and it involves acknowledgement of weakness in an areas of recovery and then self-correcting.
The In-Home Addiction Treatment (IHAT) Institute is training health care professionals to support individuals in the recovery process through this unique and innovative modality. For those who have unsuccessfully tried to get sober at home, it can be life changing to have trained professionals who can effectively support them in recommitting to their recovery in a familiar environment.
IHAT trained healthcare professionals can support individuals in providing comprehensive care in their home environment that will allow them to anticipate and appropriately support clients in navigating the following areas:
- Creating an overall Wellness Plan and life balance
- Obtaining clinical support for mood issues including Winter blues
- Behavioral scheduling
- Sleep hygiene
- Attending regular mutual-help meeting (A.A., SMART Recovery, Refuge Recovery)
- Staying in contact with sober peers
- Recovery accountability
- Family support services
- Avoiding substitute addictive behaviors (ie, shopping, sex, gambling)
- Being honest
- Pursuing spiritual practice
- Following through with daily responsibilities (ie, work, paying bills, chores)
- Giving back to others/service
- Expanding social support network
By Sarah Allen Benton, MS, LMHC, LPC, AADC