Stress is, unfortunately, an inevitable part of life. Everyone experiences it, whether from daily small irritations or big life challenges. It’s also one of the most common reasons you may reach for the bottle, which, in turn, could easily lead to alcohol addiction.
So what happens when you are in recovery from addiction to alcohol and you experience stress? It’ll happen. As we mentioned, it’s inevitable. And it’s one of the most prominent causes of relapse. That’s why it’s crucial to arm yourself with healthier coping mechanisms for stress management in addiction recovery.
9 Tips for Stress Management During Addiction Recovery
Addiction recovery isn’t a walk in the park for anyone. It takes hard work and dedication. But it’s one of the most important things you can do for mental and physical health and for your relationships. When you are in recovery from addiction, you face many challenges, one of them being learning new ways of coping with triggers that once led you to drink. A big one of those triggers is likely stress.
The important thing to remember during recovery from addiction is that each decision you make matters. And when you make healthy choices during addiction recovery, choices that will support your sobriety journey, you should celebrate them, no matter how “small” your victories may seem. This will help you stay on the right path to living a healthier, more fulfilling life without alcohol.
Here are some ways you can practice stress management in addiction recovery.
1. Lean on your support system.
It may feel like overcoming addiction is a lonely road. But it’s not. While you, yourself, are in charge of your success during addiction recovery, you need a solid support system to help you.
When you feel stress taking over your ability to stay sober, reach out to trusted members of your support network – your friends, family, and therapists who can help you work through your sometimes overwhelming desire to drink. Many times, just a good talk with a friend can get you through the rough patches.
And, of course, partnering with a trusted clinician through alcohol addiction treatment in San Diego is one of the best ways to ensure a solid support network.
2. Spend time in nature.
There have been numerous studies revealing nature as a proven stress-reliever. When you feel the weight of stress on your shoulders, just getting outside for some fresh air and time in nature can provide mental clarity and a sense of peace. You don’t have to carve hours out of your day to spend in nature. Any time outside, even ten minutes, can help. Obviously, if you’re able to truly immerse yourself in the healing powers of nature, go for it!
If you live in a concrete jungle and far from any sort of park, some researchers have found that even just listening to nature sounds can be soothing for stress. And perhaps when in recovery from addiction, you should consider perfecting your green thumb and get some plants to care for.
3. Prioritize self-care.
One of the most significant healthy things you can do for yourself during recovery from addiction is to take care of yourself. We don’t just mean taking regular showers and feeding yourself. We mean intentionally doing things that bring you joy and relaxation.
When you feel overwhelmed with your addiction recovery journey, and stress creeps in if you haven’t practiced regular self-care, you’re at a more significant risk of relapse.
There’s no right or wrong way to practice healthy self-care. It could include taking your medication consistently, playing with your pets, journaling regularly, watching a favorite show, crafting, taking a bubble bath, or baking. The list is endless. The important thing is to do something you love.
4. Learn the art of meditation and mindfulness.
A struggle many people face in addiction recovery is the battle that goes on in your mind. Negative thought patterns tend to linger, even during recovery. That’s why it’s vital to partner with your mental health professional to learn new, more positive ways of thinking.
Meditation and mindfulness go a long way in helping you retrain your mind to think more positively and focus on the here and now. Learning how to meditate and stay mindful of your thoughts and feelings is helpful in many ways. Over time, mindfulness and meditation can help you be more kind to yourself and reduce emotional reactivity and stress levels.
5. Establish a healthy sleep routine.
Sleep is a vital component of managing stress in addiction recovery. When you are sleep-deprived, your stress level goes up. On the flip side, when you sleep, your stress hormone, cortisol, decreases.
When you are consistently well-rested, you are better equipped to face challenges and stress, which can help fortify your sobriety journey.
You’ve likely heard that exercise is an excellent way to beat stress. Not only does exercise help you focus on something other than your recovery, but it also increases the release of endorphins, which make you feel good. And when you feel good, you don’t feel stressed. And when you don’t feel stressed, your desire to drink is diminished.
You don’t have to instantly become a “runner” or take up any sport that doesn’t interest you. Walking, swimming, weight-training, dance aerobics, or whatever speaks to you works to help reduce stress.
7. Minimize your “to-do” list.
A big source of stress for many people is the fact that they have too much to do, and no time to do it. When you feel pressed for time and find yourself running in a million directions just to get everything done, your stress level rises.
So when in recovery for addiction, it’s a good idea to say “no” to things you don’t have to do and take whatever you can off your plate. Take the time to evaluate what you can say no to and use that time to take care of yourself.
8. Try adopting an attitude of gratitude.
When you focus on what you have to be grateful for, you leave less room for stress. We’re not talking about toxic positivity. Afterall, addiction and life isn’t always rainbows and butterflies. We’re talking about including a daily gratitude practice into your routine during addiction recovery and beyond.
When you feel stress levels rise, try focusing on at least one thing you’re thankful for. It can be anything, even just the fact that you have successfully accomplished another hour of sobriety.
9. Practice deep breathing.
Understanding the art of deep breathing is an excellent tool to have in your addiction recovery toolbox. Stress raises your heart rate and blood pressure, which can be lowered through deep breathing.
It’s best to include deep breathing as part of your everyday routine, but you can really do it anywhere: in the car, lying in bed, during a work meeting, or while watching television. When stress rears its ugly head, focus on your breathing and you’ll feel your stress level decrease almost instantly.
We Can Help You On Your Recovery Journey Through Our Alcohol Rehab in San Diego
As previously mentioned, you need a solid support system throughout your recovery from addiction. One of the most important members of that support network should include a mental health professional. Here at BOLD Health, through our alcohol rehab in San Diego, we provide top-notch alcohol treatment and support for those struggling with addiction.
Our alcohol addiction treatment in San Diego is customized to your individual needs. We take the time to get to know you and fully understand what brought you to our door. We offer a wide range of alcohol addiction treatment options, including the following:
- alcohol detox
- individual therapy
- group therapy
- family therapy
- medication management
- intensive outpatient program (IOP in San Diego)
Not only will our team of experienced clinicians guide you on your journey to lasting sobriety, but they’ll also help you learn and adopt healthy techniques for stress management in addiction recovery. Contact us to learn more about our options for alcohol addiction rehab in San Diego to ensure you get the best quality care around.