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Coping with Holiday Stress and Triggers
Presented by: Dr. Dawn-Elise Snipes
Executive Director, AllCEUs
Objectives
– Define Relapse
– Identify exacerbating and mitigating factors for relapse
– Explore unique relapse triggers and traps during the holidays

Holiday Stress
– Stress triggers the HPA-Axis
– HPA-Axis triggers
– Fight (anger) or flee (anxiety) or f*** it (depression)
– Immune system suppression
– Inflammation from ongoing stress
– Dysphoria
– Low energy
– Pain
– Reactive behaviors to avoid or numb distress (addiction, risky behaviors, withdrawal)

What is Relapse
– Relapse is the recurrence of symptoms for health, mental health or addictive issues
– Physical/Behavioral (sleep, appetite, pain, substance use, failing to relax)
– Affective (dysphoria)
– Cognitive (pessimism, inflexibility, mindlessness, cravings/longings)
– Environmental (staying in darkness, old places)
– Relational (old people or ways of interacting, overcommitting from guilt or fear, withdrawal from positive supports)
– Relapse warning signs are the recurrence of these symptoms
– Relapse warning signs indicate a vulnerability for relapse

Handling Holiday Triggers
– Loneliness
– People are shopping for everyone else
– Shop for the less fortunate / adopt a family or a shelter pet
– People are going to family gatherings
– Find other people without a place to go and invite them over
– Go hiking
– Commune with your higher power
– Video conference
Unique Triggers Around Holidays
– Abundant Food and Drink
– Don’t go famished
– Stay as far away from the buffet table as you can
– Eat mindfully if you have to eat
– Avoid eating out of stress
– Choose lower calorie and less processed options
– Get very small helpings
– Bring a healthier dish to potlucks
– Actively sip on water
– Have a battle buddy
– Play the tape through
– Cook at your own house (and send the leftovers away)

Summary
– Media tells people that this “should be” the happiest time of the year
– Holidays highlight losses, loneliness, financial stresses
– Relapse prevention involves
– People knowing what their first signs of relapse are
– Preventing getting rundown and vulnerable
– Setting healthy boundaries
– Addressing issues of rejection, isolation and failure
– Setting positive, proactive goals
– Emotional
– Cognitive
– Behavioral

Video by Dr. Dawn Elise Snipes on integrative behavioral health approaches including counseling techniques and skills for improving mental health and reducing mental illness.

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Dr Dawn Elise Snipes provides training through AllCEUs.com that are helpful for LPC CEUs LMHC CEUs LCPC CEUs LSW CEUs LCSW CEUs LMFTCEUs CRC CEUs LADC CEUs CADC CEUs MAC CEUs MCAP CEUs NCC CEUS LCDC CEUs CPRS CEUs CTRS CEUs and HPCSA ACA #NBCC counsellors needing counselling continuing education counseling continuing education ceus for social workers social work ceus addiction counselor training counseling ceus continuing education training
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