Holiday Simple Pleasures and Mindfulness

Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC for Addiction Hope

hand-212810_640Often times, the holidays are hyped to be much more than they are intended. In the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it can be easy to miss the meaningful memories that are being created or to lose sight of the purpose of family and fellowship.

In the midst of chaos and hectic schedules, substance abuse is another means by which the simple pleasures of life are lost.

If you have chronically abused drugs or alcohol, you can attest to the fact that these substances have blocked out your ability to truly experience life.

When your senses are numb and your mind debilitated by the many harmful effects of drugs and alcohol, you cannot enjoy the many details that make life beautiful.

Escaping from Painful Feelings

Is life also messy, painful, overwhelming, even excruciating at times? Yes, of course. For many, it is these very feelings that ignite a need to escape from the reality that they are presented with.

However, even in the moments of suffering are reasons for joy and living that give hope and encouragement for going on day after day. Perhaps you have turned to drugs or alcohol in attempt to alleviate the pain you have been suffering with.

By doing so, you have also blocked yourself from experiencing the many details – big and small – that make life beautiful.

Reclaiming Your Life From Addiction

If you have been suffering with an addiction, be encouraged by knowing that you can reclaim your life back.

bank-550564_640The many things you may have been missing out on as a result of substance abuse can be reclaimed, be it your child’s upbringing, success in a job or career, a relationship with a loved one, or a hobby you once enjoyed.

While the recovery process is difficult, learning to separate yourself from your addiction will allow you to experience life and thrive.

Experience a New Life Without Addiction

Experiencing life without your addiction can feel like an entirely new process. You may have lived so long under the burden of your behavior that you forgot many of the beautiful aspects of daily living.

Many therapeutic exercises can help you learn how to fully enjoy many of the details you may have been missing out on. Mindfulness is such a practice that can help you be in the moment and draw satisfaction from the here and now.

Practicing Mindfulness

Practicing mindfulness during the holidays is an especially helpful technique that can help you slow down during a busy season. Mindfulness can be defined as the “intentional, accepting and non-judgmental focus of one’s attention on the emotions, thoughts and sensations occurring in the present moment” [1].

This can happen by simply taking a few minutes out of your day to ground yourself, focus on your surroundings, and enjoy the moment you might be in.

Practicing mindfulness is also an element of self-care as you check in with yourself, identify and recognize how you are feeling, and are intentional about the choices you make.

Staying Simple and Sober Through the Holidays

feet-247943_640Through any holiday, don’t get caught up in the hysteria of the season that you miss out on the simple pleasures that are worth more than anything.

Slow down enough to have a conversation, to laugh with someone you love, to reach out to someone who may be hurting, to make memories that will last a lifetime. The holiday season is one that we often cherish, not because of how busy we are or the chaos of balancing several festivities.

We cherish the holiday seasons because of the memories that are made. These precious moments are found during the times that we put off distractions and are intentional about our thoughts, actions, and emotions.

If you or someone you love is in recovery for substance abuse and interested in learning more about the practice of mindfulness, talk with your counselor or therapist. Learning how to apply mindfulness in your daily living can make a world of a difference as you regain your life from addiction.

Community discussion – share your thoughts here!

What are ways that you mindfully experience life everyday? How do you practice slowing down to enjoy life’s simple pleasures?


  1. Siegel, D. J. (2007). “Mindfulness training and neural integration: Differentiation of distinct streams of awareness and the cultivation of well-being”. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience 2 (4): 259–63. doi:10.1093/scan/nsm034. PMC 2566758

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on January 1st, 2015
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About Baxter Ekern

Baxter Ekern is the Vice President of Ekern Enterprises, Inc. He contributed and helped write a major portion of Addiction Hope and is responsible for the operations of the website.