Independence Day can be tricky if you’re trying to avoid drugs, alcohol, and unhealthy activities. Going back to old habits or developing new ones in an attempt to cope with the festivities can set you back in your recovery.
Honor your own independence along with that of your country with these six healthy ways to celebrate.
1. Leave the Fireworks Display to the Experts
The Fourth of July falls during fire season in Arizona, making fireworks hazardous to the landscape. They have caused large fires in Arizona in the past. Stick to the legal fireworks like ground spinners, flitter sparklers, and ground sparkling devices. Be sure to only light fireworks in the allotted times of June 24th through July 6th. As the laws may be updated, be sure to check what the current regulations are.
Remember to be mindful. From a mental health perspective, fireworks can cause many people anxiety or even trigger one’s PTSD. Also, many people with mental health problems are triggered by large crowds. Holidays like Independence day could cause sensory overload for some, so recognizing these triggers can help you or someone else celebrate in a healthier state of mind.
2. Take Other Safety Measures
Temperatures in Arizona on the Fourth of July can be brutal, so it’s important that you take precautionary steps to stay healthy. Public health officials recommend several ways to stay safe on Independence Day, including:
- Drinking plenty of water or electrolyte rich beverages like Gatorade or Pedialyte
- Wearing sunscreen
- Seeking shade or going inside during the hottest parts of the day
- Keeping your food either hot or cold, depending on the conditions that make it safe to eat
- Keeping children close
- Being prepared for frightened pets
3. Enjoy the Holiday Without Alcohol and Drugs
Avoiding alcohol and drugs when you celebrate Independence Day is especially important if you are in recovery or if you or a loved one are in danger of becoming addicted. To avoid drugs, stay away from the people and places associated with your past use. If certain activities led to your drug use, make sure to avoid them.
Staying away from alcohol is difficult on holidays like the Fourth of July, as it is readily available at stores and many cookouts and other celebrations. If you want to avoid drinking, here are several tips that can help:
- Know your triggers, such as using alcohol to make it easier to socialize, and prepare to deal with them in another way
- Understand mental health issues such as difficulty coping that lead to your drinking and seek help if the holidays bring up bad feelings
- Reduce your temptations by avoiding places where there are few other sober people to socialize with
- Take advantage of your support network by staying close to friends and family who understand your struggles
- Keep tasty backup beverages on hand that you truly enjoy, even if it means indulging a little with a soda or slushy
- Create a backup plan to exit your situation quickly and without problems if your surroundings are challenging your sobriety or mental health
4. Treat Your Body and Mind to Healthy Foods
Food that is good for your body can also help make you feel better about yourself. There are several types of food that let you enjoy the holiday without the guilt, including:
- Proteins like lean ground beef, chicken breast, seafood, veggie burgers, or veggie hot dogs
- Fresh summer vegetables in salads, on kabobs, or on their own
- Whole-grain bread and pasta
- Dairies like cheese in salads or yogurt dipping sauces to add calcium to your meal
- Low-sugar beverages like water with fresh fruit
5. Focus on Family and Friends
If you think you should avoid parties and other large gatherings, trust your instincts. One healthy way to celebrate Independence Day is by celebrating at home with a small group of family and friends.
Watching movies that focus on Independence Day and the American flag keeps you in the holiday spirit without the large crowds or temptations. Cooking together or letting everyone help pack a picnic are also fun, healthy activities with you in charge of the menu.
You can also help others as a way to help yourself. Check your local area for soup kitchens or other volunteer opportunities that make you feel good about yourself. Another option is to look for ways to volunteer with veterans or to help out with an Independence Day parade.
6. Get Help if You Need It
If you don’t think these healthy ways to celebrate Independence Day will be enough to stop you from engaging in risky behaviors, or if you simply feel that you are ready to get your life back, reach out for professional help. At Core Recovery, we offer education, assessment, and treatment through our Intensive Outpatient and Partial Hospitalization Programs. You don’t have to go it alone on Independence Day or any other day.