How to Manage Stress in Addiction Recovery

Addiction is a difficult thing to go through, both for the person experiencing addiction and those who love them. Recovery can be a long journey, and there are many aspects that need to be considered. One of these aspects is stress. Stress can be caused by many things such as financial struggles, family problems, or lack of sleep. The right tools can help manage stress and improve quality of life. Here are seven ways to find relief from stress so you can enjoy your life again. 

What is Stress?

Stress is the natural response to a number of external and internal stimuli. Stressors may come from any number of sources, including work, family, school, societal expectations, etc. When stress is triggered, the body releases adrenaline and cortisol. These hormones cause physical symptoms like sleep difficulties, headaches, and depression. These stress hormones also lead to more serious health problems if left untreated for long periods of time.

Why is Stress Management Important in Addiction Recovery?

Stress is an important topic to consider in addiction recovery because it is a common trigger for substance use that can increase your risk of relapse. Learning now to properly manage your stress and incorporate self-care into your daily life is integral to maintaining sobriety. Too much stress can contribute to lack of sleep, increased anxiety and depression, and poor decision making.

Stress is detrimental to more than just your mental wellness. Prolonged stress can weaken the immune system, causing you to develop chronic illnesses or become sick more often. Stress may also contribute to increased risk of heart disease and stroke. Beyond maintaining sobriety, learning to manage stress now can help to keep you healthier longer.

What is the Purpose of Stress Management?

Stress is a natural reaction to living in our modern world. Learning to recognize signs of stress and address it at its source can help you lead your best life. Proper stress management improves your quality of life which extends into how you interact with the world around you. Practicing mindfulness for stress management leads to healthier communication, better relationships, and an overall more positive outlook on life. 

How Can You Manage Stress in Addiction Recovery?

Recovery from addiction is a lifelong, life changing process. There are many aspects to focus on, but stress management is among the most important ones. Because stress is a major contributor to relapse, getting a handle on your stress levels is key for long-term success in recovery. For people in recovery, stress management and self-care looks like:

  • Creating consistent morning and evening routines
  • Getting adequate sleep each night
  • Eating well and exercising regularly
  • Taking breaks and unplugging from the online world
  • Engaging in relaxing hobbies
  • Setting and maintaining healthy boundaries 

How to Manage Stress at Work

Work and finances are perhaps the most common source of stress for Americans everywhere. Because our jobs often take up so much of our time, being able to find balance and minimize work-related stress is important for your mental and physical wellness. Here are just a few tips: 

1) Take a break from your desk. Take a walk around the block, do some stretches at your desk, go on a short walk at lunchtime, or take a short nap.

2) Change it up! If you aren’t making progress on a specific task, switch to something else for a while to give yourself a break so you can come back to it with fresh eyes.

3) Do something fun for yourself after work! Go see a movie with friends, get a massage, or finally buy that new outfit you’ve been eyeing for weeks.

4) If you work from home, set a firm schedule. Don’t log on before your work day begins and log out once it’s over. Sticking to a structured work day helps maintain your work-life balance and prevents burn out. 

5)  Teamwork makes the dream work! You don’t have to do it all on your own. If you work within a team, make sure you’re taking full advantage of each person’s strengths to reach your goals. If you’re an entrepreneur or small business owner, don’t be afraid to reach out and partner with freelancers to help lighten your load.

Managing Stress in Addiction Recovery

If you want to prevent stress from accumulating in your life or recover from it quicker, there are a few steps to help:

  1. Get plenty of rest each day to wake up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the world.

When it is dark outside, your body produces melatonin to initiate sleeping patterns. Sleep directly impacts what the mood will be during the day. The more sleep, the better the mood. An insufficient amount or quality of sleep can be a huge detriment to stress levels.

Make sure that you are getting enough hours of sleep each night before going to bed. The recommended amount is 8-9 hours of sleep. A great way to ensure this is by going to bed and waking up at consistent times every day. This will allow your body’s natural clock, known as the circadian rhythm, to regulate itself and set an appropriate sleeping pattern.

  1. Yoga and meditation for stress management

Yoga is a great way to relieve stress and it’s a great way to cope for people who are struggling with addiction. Yoga has been shown to reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression, and addiction.

 For those struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, meditation can also be an effective stress reliever because it helps break the pattern of negativity in their minds. Practicing meditation enables the mind to transition from negative thoughts to positive ones. This purposeful mindfulness can help people recovering from addiction by creating a space for maintaining a broader perspective and outlook, improving foresight, while getting their minds off drugs or alcohol which results in fewer cravings.

By incorporating these two methods, you’ll be two steps closer to ascertaining a happy, joyous, and free life without drugs and alcohol.

  1. Minimize the number of commitments in your schedule so that you aren’t trying to do too much at once.

We all know that we need to reduce stress in order to live a happy and healthy life. On one hand, coping in healthy ways reduces stress. On the other, it would feel great if we could take a break from all the things that cause us stress, but sometimes it’s not possible. What can you do?

It’s important to minimize the number of commitments in your schedule so that you aren’t trying to do too much at once. This will give you more time to rest and spend with loved ones, and it’ll reduce your stress levels in general. When we’re overwhelmed, our cortisol levels increase and self-confidence can decrease as a result. It’s important to take care of ourselves by trimming the daily schedule to manageable levels when possible!

  1. Mindfulness-based stress and anxiety management tools

Anxiety is the most common mental health disorder in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults age 18 and over, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Anxiety disorders are caused by a combination of genetic, biological, psychological, social, and environmental factors. The good news is that there are many ways to manage anxiety.

One way to manage anxiety is through mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR). MBSR has been clinically proven to reduce anxiety symptoms in as little as two months. It teaches people how to control their thoughts about stressful situations which can help them feel more at ease with life events.

Tools like meditation can also help you manage your stress. Studies have shown that meditating even just 20 minutes a day can have positive effects on your mood and mental outlook. You can also use methods like yoga or progressive muscle relaxation to increase your focus and promote physical well-being. Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) will help with guided ways to be mindful and are available through Harbor Village. DBT works by allowing one to overcome an all-or-nothing mindset working with a therapist to abandon the previous way of thinking to allow for opposites to co-exist. By allowing this to happen one can achieve a greater sense of balance to happen in life. 

Don’t forget to take advantage of the free apps like calm, youtube videos, and fidget spinners for mindfulness-based stress and anxiety management tools. 

  1. Laughter stress management

Laughter is one of the most effective ways to reduce stress. Studies show that people who watch funny videos experience lower levels of cortisol, meaning their moods are more stabilized and they’re able to handle stressful situations better.

Laughing is also good for physical health. It can help the heart pump blood more efficiently, improve blood flow, boost the immune system, strengthen lungs, and even improve how well you absorb nutrients.

If you’re in need of a little laughter in your life, find something funny to watch or read! Your heart will thank you for it!

  1. Put down your phone and pick up a good book instead! Read an entertaining novel or read something inspirational to improve self-confidence.

One of the easiest ways to reduce stress is by reading a good book. It’s so simple, but it has proven to be one of the most effective methods. Reading offers an escape from your own life while turning your focus on someone else’s problems and adventures. There are plenty of genres to choose from, so you should have no problem finding something that will suit your fancy!

It’s also another way to escape reality without having to take any drugs or drink alcohol. For those struggling with addiction or alcoholism, reading can be a healthy way to find peace in day-to-day life. It doesn’t matter if someone is reading for fun or if you want to read for self-improvement; there are many benefits associated with reading.

There are audiobooks and paperbacks available for reading. Try starting out by listening to audiobooks instead of music on your commute, or turn off Netflix and read a short story instead.

  1. Self-care techniques to manage stress

Stress is a natural part of everyday life. It’s important to take affirmative steps to engage in self-care so stress does not itself become unmanageable. That doesn’t mean ignoring stress or avoiding stressors. It means learning how to manage the stress that does exist better by using self-care techniques.

There are many ways to relieve stress, the most common being exercise and listening to music. One study found that just 15 minutes on a treadmill can help reduce your heart rate and lower your blood pressure.

However, people have different self-care needs that need to be met to improve self-confidence and improve stress tolerance. If the idea of leaving home or sitting still for too long stresses you out, try getting outside with friends and family members. Making time outside of work for hobbies and activities will improve mood and mental health. They are a form of self-care as long as they do not cause more stress into the daily schedule formed around work or school. 

There are lots of ways to take care of yourself so that you feel less stressed out and worry less about what might come next! You deserve some peace and relaxation!

Harbor Village Recovery Treatment Center

If you are seeking treatment for addiction, then Harbor Village Recovery treatment center may be the answer. Our facility strives to provide a safe, supportive, and comfortable environment where patients can heal. We have years of experience helping people get their lives back on track after addiction has taken over.

We offer psychiatric services in addition to our other treatments so that patients can work through the mental aspects of addiction simultaneously. Come talk to us about your next steps today!

Call us Harbor Village Recovery today at 844-391-3054. 

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Facts & Statistics: Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA. Facts & Statistics | Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA. (2021, September 19). Retrieved January 12, 2022, from https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/facts-statistics 

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2021, July 29). Stress relief from laughter? it’s no joke. Mayo Clinic. Retrieved January 12, 2022, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/stress-management/in-depth/stress-relief/art-20044456 

Armitage, H. (2020, May 28). Stanford medicine study details molecular effects of exercise. Stanford Medicine study details molecular effects of exercise. Retrieved January 12, 2022, from https://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2020/05/stanford-medicine-study-details-molecular-effects-of-exercise.html

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