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The festive season is a busy time, full of triggers and hidden dangers that can affect your recovery. It is important that you make time for self-care and to know what is happening in and around you. You will be faced with all manner of situation that might trigger relapse behaviours. Self-care is all about looking after mind, body and soul: remember a healthy body is essential for a healthy mind. Schedule a portion of your day to engage in some mindfulness practices (meditation for example). Of course, self-care is not only about your mind, it is also about your body! So being aware of how your body can affect your recovery is essential.

A handy tool to use during this time is ‘HALT!’

And yes, this four letter word has so many implications in your recovery. Not only does the acronym list four of the most dangerous triggers in your recovery, but it also reminds you to take a moment to reflect before reacting. When in a situation in which you find yourself being tempted, ask yourself if you are Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired. These four triggers are often the most dangerous to your recovery. However, they are often the easiest to solve. But, Why are these so dangerous? I hear you ask. Well, when we are Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired¸ our resistance to stressors (and triggers) is lowered which means that we are more susceptible to giving in to these.

Using ‘HALT!’ can help you to identify what might be causing the stress at that certain moment, allowing you the time to use your focus on staying on the recovery path instead of taking one of the paths that will lead you to relapse. If you are hungry – get a snack; if you are angry – identify the source of the anger and make a plan to deal with it; if you are lonely – find supportive friends or family to spend some time with, OR find a support group that you can attend; if you are tired – make sure to get some rest.

Lastly, the final gem of help this acronym offers is to remind you to STOP! Stop and evaluate the situation… even if you aren’t Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired, something is triggering you and you need to find out what that trigger is before it is too late to do something about it. ‘HALT!’ can help you to stop and take a moment to think about what is happening and to find a solution.

Come back next week to find out how you add new meaning to Christmas!