The holidays are here and the FCCG would like to wish you and your families the best. For many of us, the holidays can be a difficult, stressful, emotional time. Take a deep breath and know this is typical. We all need to be sensitive to ourselves and to others during this time. This includes the problem gambler, family, friends, and co-workers, since many of us do not fully understand how emotions play out in our daily lives. We may unknowingly feel emotions and not even know why we are feeling, thinking, or behaving as we are.
Holidays may be different than the memories we have as a child. Life can be hard and often change happens without our control. We may have expectations that can never be fulfilled and in turn cause disappointment. One thing we can all practice is managing our emotions, so they do not cause harm to ourselves or to others. However, to manage our emotions, it is important to first recognize we are behaving in some negative or stressful way, and then take steps to stop the behavior and alleviate the stress caused by it.
Here are some reasons we may have emotions rise to the surface during this time of year: Maybe being alone without family or friends to celebrate with. Possibly the loss of a spouse/partner, home, or job. Grief from guilt or shame caused by past behavior. Sometimes having, not having, spending, or overspending money can be emotionally stressful.
Here are some ways to help alleviate stress:
- Share how you feel with someone you feel safe and close to
- For others, open a dialog with someone in a safe space about their emotions after sharing yours
- Ask for help or attend a self-help support group meeting
- Pace yourself
- Know your options and choose the one that is best for you
- Remove yourself from a situation
- Talk yourself through it or journal how you feel
Emotions can take us places we don’t want to go to escape the feelings associated with gambling, drinking, drugging, isolating, and/or arguing with loved ones. Emotions are triggered by our thoughts, so remember, you get to choose how you feel and how to react to any given situation or event.
Try using some grounding techniques. There are 3 ways of grounding:
- Mental – Focus on what is going on in your mind and slow it down.
- Physical – Focus on your senses like touch, what you see in front of you, and hear around you, and calm your breathing.
- Soothing – Talk to yourself in a kind and gentle way, listen to music, or take a hot bath.
If you or someone you know is experiencing difficulties due to gambling, start the journey of recovery today by contacting the free, confidential, multilingual, 24/7 Problem Gambling HelpLine at 888-ADMIT-IT (888-236-4848), texting (321-978-0555), emailing (email@example.com), chatting (gamblinghelp.org), or visiting us on our mobile app or on social media.