The journey to recovery is a bumpy one. It can often call for getting back some of the things we lost during addiction and learning how to rebuild our lives. Like all challenges in life, the reward does not come without difficulties along the way. When in recovery, one of these difficulties can be high levels of stress.
Stress is not always bad. It can fuel us to be productive or make quick-fire decisions. However, coupled with the difficulties that recovery already presents, fluctuating stress levels are an additional and somewhat unnecessary obstacle.
No one needs recovery to be more complicated than it already is, which is why we have put together four tips for stress reduction in recovery.
Tip One - Identify Your Triggers
Upon embarking on the road to recovery, treatments such as therapy encourage us to reflect on our lives.
As many drug users turn to substances to ease negative feelings, pessimistic thoughts, and alleviate the impact of traumatic experiences, identifying your triggers may seem extremely daunting. However, when it comes to reducing stress in recovery, this is vital.
Whether you work with a therapist or journal, identifying your triggers will enable you to uncover the root cause of your stress and help you steer clear from any situations that could make you feel uncomfortable or cause you to relapse.
Identifying your triggers will not entirely remove stress from your life, but it will ease the recovery process.
Tip Two - Practice Mindfulness
Associated with good living, mindfulness has become a widely accepted part of our daily routines in recent years. Unbeknown to many, mindfulness is no new technique. In fact, it has been around for centuries and takes on multiple forms.
To participate in mindfulness, you don’t need to be in a specific position. You don’t even need to sing or chant. Instead, mindfulness is just about taking a deep breath and clearing your mind.
Offering many in recovery a clearer perspective to their day-to-day life, mindfulness and mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) has proven effective for conquering unnecessary triggers that affect our flight or fight responses. Mindfulness brings us closer to our present and helps us connect to our bodies, minds, and environment. Doing so challenges anxiety and helps us battle depression, mood swings, and even seasonal affective disorder.
There is no instruction manual for mindfulness practice; each individual has to find what works for them. Just find a calm place, breathe, and try to clear your head.
It may feel a bit silly at first, but it won’t be long until the positive impact of mindfulness starts to show.
Tip Three - Enhance Your Overall Health and Wellness
During addiction, it is not uncommon for health and nutrition to be overlooked. Many struggling with substance abuse will also develop sleep issues and neglect regular exercise.
Unfortunately, these unhealthy lifestyle habits intensify stress levels. But the good news is that making small steps towards a better diet and moderate exercise can quickly reduce stress.
It is important to eat a balanced diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables. This is because eating the right foods is linked to lower levels of depression. Although you may not realize it, some foods stimulate our pleasure sensors and reduce stress.
When considering what you should eat to maintain a balanced diet, we recommend cheese, oats, milk, and chicken. In addition to helping you maintain a balanced diet, these foods can help with withdrawal symptoms and sobriety.
When it comes to exercise, benefits include enhanced physical health and fitness. However, exercise also releases those all-important feel-good endorphins that boost emotional resilience and reduce stress. In addition, rigorous activity releases serotonin, dopamine, and pleasure endorphins, leading to boosts of happiness that gradually become long-term.
Tip Four - Make Time For Yourself
Everybody needs to take some time for themselves every once in a while. However, in modern societies, it can be difficult to do so. Since recovery is an exhausting process, the importance of making time for yourself, whether catching up on sleep or participating in a fitness group, cannot be stressed enough.
Living a life of constant running adds unnecessary stress to an already difficult process. Taking time to settle into ourselves, reconnect a bit, take some breathing space and gain some perspective is an important part of anyone's life. It is doubly important when going through the challenges that recovery brings.
Though these tips aren’t a recipe for managing the stress of recovery, they play a vital role in reducing stress and maintaining recovery.
A huge part of accepting recovery is managing expectations. If one comes to recovery with a sense of perfectionism, they will likely end up exhausted. For this very reason, you must take some time to breathe, eat well, sleep well, and forgive yourself. In doing so, the road to a long-term recovery will seem that little bit easier.