Working During the Holidays: Avoiding Burnout Without Drug Use

Woman at work struggling with addiction

Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC Special Projects Coordinator at Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope

Depending on your type of job and work environment, it may be necessary for you to work during the holidays or put in long hours before the end of the year.

Whether you straining to meet deadlines or facing surmounting pressures at work, the stress of overworking can be particularly overwhelming, especially during the holiday season.

While friends, associates, or family members may be vacationing or seeming to enjoy a leisure holiday season, the demands you may be facing at work can leave you feeling resentful and burned out.

For any person who has struggled with an addiction to drugs and alcohol, experiencing stressful situations can be a trigger to misuse substances.

Alcohol and drugs may seem to offer a temporary escape from a situation that is bleak or difficult to face on a daily basis, and the experience of a high from substances can serve as a means of numbing out from circumstances or emotions that are hard to endure.

Work Situation

If you are in recovery from an addiction and have found yourself in a less than ideal work situation during the holidays, be aware of how this may trigger urges to use drugs and alcohol once more. Being able to actively practice healthy coping skills can help you work through an overwhelming situation at work and ultimately deal with the emotions you may be facing this holiday season.

Senior Man and Woman Couple Sunset on BeachWhile you may not be able to change everything about your work environment or job situation, try to make the necessary time to rest and practice self-care.

Cravings for drug and alcohol use may really just be a manifestation of a self-care need. If you find yourself needing drugs or alcohol to cope or deal with burnout while working during the holidays, ask yourself what you may really need.

Perhaps you need sleep and rest, consistent meals and snacks, time alone enjoying a hobby you like, time to exercise or enjoy nature, or affection from friends and family. Whatever it might be, attempt to find ways to truly nurture yourself during a difficult time at work and meet your needs through self-care.

Keeping yourself a priority is essential during your recovery and to help prevent relapses into addiction behaviors.

Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

Have you experienced burnout in your job and work environment? If so, what are some healthy coping skills that have helped you work through this situation? What encouragement might you share with other individuals who are also experiencing burnout at work?


Crystal Karges photo

Crystal Karges

Crystal is a Masters-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with a specialty focus in eating disorders, maternal/child health and wellness, and intuitive eating. Combining clinical experience with a love of social media and writing, Crystal serves as the Special Projects Coordinator for Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope, where her passion to help others find recovery and healing is integrated into each part of her work.

As a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, Crystal has dedicated her career to helping others establish a healthy relationship with food and body through her work with EDH/AH and nutrition private practice.


The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of addictions. These are not necessarily the views of Addiction Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.

We at Addiction Hope understand that addictions result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on November 25, 2015
Published on AddictionHope.com