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Managing stress during addiction recovery

Recovering from addiction comes with many ups and downs, but the rewards of a sober life are truly immeasurable.

Choosing a sober life will bring as many blessings as it will challenges. The key is to keep your eye on the ball every step of the way and avoid anything and anyone who may trigger the desire to turn to drugs or alcohol.

Avoiding stressors during addiction recovery may prove to be challenging in the beginning. However, as you progress on your journey of recovery, it becomes easier to stay away from things that don’t contribute positively to you or your path to recovery.

Managing stress during addiction treatment

Apart from being a trigger, long-term stress can have a significant impact on mental health and can lead to depression and anxiety.

Feeling depressed or anxious can often take a person in recovery and lead them astray. This is because experiencing life with a mental health issue can be extremely taxing.

How to handle stress during recovery – The healthy way

Although each individual has a subjective response to stress, it’s safe to say that prolonged levels of stress can be detrimental to anyone.

Furthermore, it’s important to note that in small infrequent doses, stress can be useful in helping us achieve or overcome whatever it is we’re facing.

Either way, finding healthy, sustainable ways to manage stress while recovering from addiction is crucial in preventing relapse.

Below are some ideas on how to cope with recovery related stressors.

  • Regular exercise – daily exercise, not matter how mild, is proven to dramatically reduce stress levels. In turn, your overall mood, mental and physical health will improve. Exercise minimises fatigue, improves cognitive function and increases levels of concentration. It also assists with sleep and can reduce chronic pain if done correctly.
  • Seek refuge in a higher power – whatever you choose to identify with, there are many forms of spirituality that can provide you with guidance during your hard times. Spiritual practices such as yoga and meditation focus on mindfulness, allowing you to become grounded and present. This kind of practice has shown to significantly reduce stress levels and anxiety.
  • Adopt a healthy diet and lifestyle – of course, when we speak of diet, we generally refer to the food we are eating which is of course true. Healthy food which nourishes the body and the mind can play a huge role in recovery. However, your diet can also refer to what you see, what you listen to, what you read, the company you keep. It’s important to be aware of what you allow your body to receive.
  • Keep a positive mindset and take mental breaks – teach yourself to replace your negative thoughts with positive ones. This takes awareness and most of all, practice. An easy way to start is to replace every bad thought with one of gratitude. Instead of thinking “I wish I didn’t have to go to work today”, think “I am grateful I have a job”. Before you know it, you are only thinking positive thoughts and through that, you will attract positivity into your life. It’s also important to acknowledge when you are mentally tired. Take a break and allow yourself some time to rest and recover. These little breaks in between will help you cope better with stressful situations in the long run.
  • Keep a journal and write how you feel – sometimes you don’t want to talk to anyone about how you’re feeling and that’s okay. However, it’s still important to express your feelings in some way. By keeping a private journal of your thoughts, you have your own personal pocket therapist. By writing down how you feel, you are no longer containing unhealthy thoughts which can bring you down emotionally. Sometimes it’s as good as a visit to a therapist.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help – it took incredible courage to go to rehab, but seeking assistance after treatment is crucial in preventing relapse. This kind of aftercare can actively help you identify your triggers and develop ways to avoid them. Additionally, turn to your loved ones and ask for support during hard times. This kind of support can help you along on your journey of recovery so that you don’t feel alone.
  • Avoid your triggers - stay away from places, situations and people who will trigger your desire to use drugs or alcohol. Being in recovery means that it's in your best interest to avoid people who are not sober and any other situation or place which reminds you of when you used to use. A major change in lifestyle will only mean a life of health and sobriety.

Step Away – Rehab Centre South Africa

At Step Away, we understand how dealing with stress while recovering from addiction can be challenging.

Our staff members are dedicated to finding ways to handle stressors during addiction recovery.

For information on our recovery programs, contact us.

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