Stress is something all of us face at one point or another in our lives, but it can become more intense in difficult, uncertain times such as the ones we’re living right now because of the COVID-19 outbreak. You might find yourself feeling anxious, and, even though these feelings are normal you shouldn’t let them get in the way of your recovery process.
Addiction recovery is already stressful enough on its own, so, when you add this new load of stress, trying to stay sober can become overwhelming. But don’t worry! There are many ways you can manage stress and make sobriety a lot easier. If anything, you’ll come out of this situation stronger than ever and better at handling difficult circumstances. Here are 5 tips on staying sober during stressful times.
For centuries, meditation has been used in different cultures to calm your mind, reconnect and become more aware. If you practice it regularly, meditation can be an excellent way of coping with stress and staying sober. Meditating can be actually very easy, and there are many different ways to do it, such as focusing on your breath, visualizing something that makes you feel calm, or repeating a mantra over and over. There are several apps and websites where you can find guided meditations as well as tools and resources to help you make meditation a habit. Give it a try, and soon enough you’ll find yourself feeling more connected to your mind and your body and at peace.
Develop an Attitude of Gratitude
Yes, things are crazy right now, but you can still choose to see the glass half full. Choosing to see the silver lining can help you stay calm while facing challenging situations, and, therefore, prevent you from turning to alcohol or drugs to cope with them. Instead of thinking about how difficult things are right now and allowing yourself to fall into a pit of despair, try to focus on the things that are good in your life.
A great tip to cultivate a grateful attitude is to keep a gratitude journal. It can be on your phone, your computer, or a notebook you really like. Each night, before going to bed, think about at least three things you were grateful for throughout the day. This will immediately put you in a better mood and help you feel better overall.
Regular physical activity has been proven to help addiction recovery and stress management. When you exercise, your brain releases endorphins, a chemical substance that generates a positive feeling in the body. The feelings of happiness and euphoria that it produces can be compared to the high you used to get from drugs or alcohol.
Exercising will reduce your levels of stress and make you feel happy and relaxed. The best part is, there are tons of different ways to do it, and you can even do it at home. Go ahead and check out some of the thousands of routines you can find online, and choose something that you enjoy, whether it is yoga, a Zumba class, bodyweight routines, etc. The possibilities are truly endless.
Having a creative outlet is another great tool to manage stress and avoid relapse. Keeping your mind occupied is key to maintaining sobriety, and what better way to do so than by doing something you love. Even if you’ve never considered yourself “artsy”, you can channel your stress into something creative such as writing, drawing, painting, singing, performing a musical instrument, knitting, cooking, baking, among many other possibilities. You don’t have to be great at it either. Even just splattering a canvas or writing a short poem on your journal can be therapeutic.
Sobriety, as well as stress management, isn’t something you need to figure out on your own. In fact, you can benefit a lot from seeking professional help. Whether you attended rehab, went through a 12 step program, or are just recovering on your own, therapy is an option you need to consider to help you maintain your sobriety during these stressful times. If you’re just starting to think about getting sober, you might want to consider a program that includes mental health support and that suits your needs as well as possible. This outpatient rehab in Denver, for example, features both medical and therapeutic support, in a gender-specific program. Do some research and choose something that can offer the support you need in order to increase your chances of sobriety.
You’ve already faced many challenges throughout your life, the biggest one probably being making the decision to get sober. See this moment as the best opportunity you’ll get to build resilience and become a better version of yourself, one that’s sober and that is able to handle stress in a healthy way. Good luck!
If you would like to share any other tips that have helped you with staying sober and managing stress, please leave a comment below.