Unfortunately, stress is an unavoidable and normal part of everyone’s life.
But for a person in recovery, it could be the cause of relapse.
When a stressful situation arises, such as relationship problems, health concerns, or financial worries, you must have the skills you need to handle the situation in a healthy way. Knowing how to handle stressful situations is an essential part of maintaining your sobriety.
1. Eat Healthy Meals
Maintaining a healthy diet and eating nutritious meals is an important part of addiction recovery. Balanced meals loaded with nutrients help to improve mood and reduce stress. Safe Harbor Recovery in Portsmouth, Virginia, educates clients on nutrition and foods that support recovery.
2. Exercise in a Way You Enjoy
Whether you go for a walk, practice yoga, run, or engage in kickboxing, exercise is a powerful stress reducer. When you exercise, endorphins are released in your brain making you feel good. You naturally relax as your mind gets a break from worrying.
3. Spend Time in Nature
A great way to reduce stress and bring the mind and body back into balance is spending time in or near nature. Whether you take a walk in the park, sit and watch the ocean waves, or spend time in your garden, being in nature has a healing and grounding impact on your sense of wellbeing.
Combine exercise with spending time in nature by doing things such as kayaking on a river, jogging through the woods, or swimming in a lake.
4. Breathe Deeply
Take a few slow, deep breaths when you find yourself becoming stressed. Doing this helps to calm the body and reduces the body’s natural “fight or flight” response to the stressor. This brings the nervous system back into a relaxed state.
Meditation helps you to achieve a sense of calm and clarity and reduces the negative effect of stressors. There are many different kinds of meditation, so choose one that you enjoy. The following is a list of the seven most popular types of mediation:
- Metta meditation (loving-kindness meditation)
- Zen meditation
- Kundalini yoga
- Mindfulness meditation
- Progressive relaxation (body scan)
- Breath awareness meditation
- Transcendental meditation
6. Get Enough Sleep
Getting enough sleep is essential for mental and physical wellbeing. When you do not get enough sleep, everything seems harder to deal with and insomnia and stress take over. Get enough rest to ensure your body and mind is at its best.
Regular physical activity can be a good way to promote a more restful sleep—giving you the energy and mental clarity you need to handle challenging situations.
7. Be Mindful
Two common sources of stress for people in recovery are self-judgment and self-criticism. By practicing mindfulness, you will be more aware of your thoughts, cravings, and feelings without judging yourself.
At Safe Harbor Recovery in Portsmouth, Virginia, we urge clients to become more aware of how negative thoughts can cause stress. Group and individual therapy sessions focus on promoting tools for positive thinking.
8. Know Your Stressors in Advance
When you are able to identify your stressors in advance, you can make changes to reduce the stress. For example, if you know that running late is a cause of stress, you can make a change by setting your alarm 20 minutes earlier or by giving yourself extra time to reach an appointment. If you become stressed by work deadlines, work on prioritizing projects better. By planning ahead, you can reduce the stress in many instances.
9. Talk About What’s Bothering You
Keeping your emotions and feelings bottled up increases stress and frustration. By sharing your feelings with a family member, friend, sponsor, or counselor, you can clear your mind of the stress and confusion you are feeling and focus on solving the problem.
10. Practice Self-Care
When you are taking good care of yourself, it is easier to manage stress. Practicing self-care is going to be different for each individual. For example, being good to yourself might mean soaking in a relaxing bath, spending time playing with your pets, saying no when you need to, reading, taking up a new hobby, or spending time in prayer.
When you feel stress levels building, lower them by doing activities that you enjoy—such as playing music, cooking, listening to a podcast, or anything else that makes you feel relaxed.
11. Seek Help When Stress Seems Unmanageable
If stressful situations are triggering intense cravings and you feel overwhelmed, there’s no shame in reaching out to your support system to ask for help. Safe Harbor Recovery in Portsmouth, Virginia provides a full continuum of care for all clients, including aftercare support to help you learn to handle stress with confidence.