Adjusting to life without drugs and alcohol is a big transition for anyone. Many addicts and alcoholics used drugs and alcohol as a way to cope with stress. One big challenge in early recovery is how to cope with stress when your go-to previously had been to drink or get high. Here are 10 tips for stress management in early recovery.
- Breathe. Our bodies do it without our thinking to keep us alive. When we experience stress often our autonomic nervous system kicks in resulting in shallow breathing. Try taking a slow deep breath counting to 5 on your inhale. Hold it for a count of three. Count to 7 as you exhale. Repeat that process 10 times.
- Talk it out. In early recovery sometimes its hard to realize feelings are not facts. Speaking out loud to another human being what you are feeling stress about can be helpful. Choosing someone you trust can also give you an opportunity to hear someone’s experience, strength, and hope around how they’ve handled similar stressors.
- Take a walk. Change your physiology, change your thoughts. Getting fresh air, even if it’s just a walk around the block, can help regulate our nervous system. Sometimes a different perspective is all that is needed.
- Write. Feeling stressed and thoughts are whirling around in your head? Put pen to paper and write down everything you are stressed or worried about.
- Rest. Good sleep is essential for effective stress management and can be a struggle in early recovery. Even if you don’t sleep, giving yourself 10 minutes to be quiet can help.
- Meditate. There are many different ways to meditate. Some people sit quietly and focus on their breath. Some meditate while swimming or walking. Others meditate while drawing or coloring. Find what is meditative to you and add it into your daily life.
- Eat healthy. In early recovery sometimes we don’t know when we are hungry because we were so used to ignoring our bodies. When you are hungry, eat something. Try a piece of organic fruit if you are craving sweets.
- Take it easy. Many addicts and alcoholics are also perfectionists and very tough on themselves. Don’t take yourself so seriously.
Stress is a story that we tell ourselves. If we can change our story, we can change our lives. Oceanfront Recovery Center wants to help you change your story from addiction to recovery. Call us today for information on our residential treatment programs: 877.279.1777