Relationship conflicts, family feuds, finding a new job, finances – these are just a few of the many real world stressors you’re likely to face while in recovery. Unfortunately, stress is unavoidable. It is also a common trigger for every type of addiction. Learning new, healthy stress management options can not only save you from a relapse but can also help build your confidence in yourself and the new world around you.
Begin with listening to your body. Here are some clues your body can give when you need to de-stress, according to the American Psychological Association
- Headaches, muscle tension, neck or back pain
- Upset stomach
- Dry mouth
- Chest pains, rapid heartbeat
- Difficulty falling or staying asleep
- Loss of appetite or overeating “comfort foods”
- Increased frequency of colds
- Lack of concentration or focus
- Memory problems or forgetfulness
- Short temper
Recognizing these common stress clues is your first defense in avoiding a slippery slope back to self-medicating. From here, when stress rears its ugly head, give some of these tips a try:
- Manage your time. Believe or not, poor time management or mismanagement of time is one of the most common sources of stress. Making a reasonable schedule which includes time for 12-step meetings and other activities related to your recovery are crucial.
- Connecting with the right people. Being by yourself is fine for short periods of time but early recovery requires support and empowerment from those who support your recovery. Additionally, there needs to be some distance between oneself and those who do not fully support your recovery.
- Talk. Bottling up emotions often leads to an increase in frustration and stress. Sharing feelings with trusted people such as sponsors, supportive friends and family members is vital. If necessary, seek professional help.
- Exercise. Physical activity plays a key role in both reducing and preventing stress. Physical activity can relieve tension as well as both relax and energize. Find enjoyable activities and make regular time for it. Click here to learn about 5 Reasons To Exercise During Addiction Recovery.
- Sleep well. A solid night sleep, which for most people is seven to eight hours of shut-eye per night, can do wonders for your mood and your ability to manage stress. That’s because sleep restores body and mind. Unmanaged stress can interfere with sleep by making your mind and body more alert, aroused and awake.
- Stop and Breathe. Formally practicing deep breathing whenever you feel angry, upset, frustrated, stressed or anxious is an excellent way to reduce those negative feelings and calm yourself down. Scheduling a few “deep breathing breaks” into your day is also an excellent way to keep your emotions in check. Start with five minutes in the morning and five minutes in the afternoon.
If you or a loved one is suffering with drug or alcohol addiction, R.O.A.D To A Better life can help. Please call 603.841.2307 to speak to our new patient consult team.