6 Easy Tips for Stress-Free Rehab
You've made the biggest decision of your life and have finally gotten help for your addiction. Friends and family are so proud of you, and after the tribulation of detox, your full mental faculties are returning. Unfortunately, the return of mental acuity is one of the first reminders of how your drug of choice made you feel. When using, stressful situations were easily remedied. A bad day at work, an argument with a loved one, calls from debt collectors – all washed away by a quick hit, or a drink, or a line, or a pill. A highly stressful event is one of the first things to turn a recovering addict away from their sobriety. How then can stress be managed? How do those looking to stay the course and embrace sobriety keep on the straight and narrow? With these 10 tips, you can easily reduce stress during addiction recovery.
Know Thy Enemy
Stress can be sneaky. Slowly boiling just underneath the surface until something finally sets off an episode and your ability to maintain control goes up in smoke. One of the most important stress-management techniques is to know what might be aiming to set you up. Knowledge is power, and by keeping track of the signs you can reduce stress during recovery by identifying it. Monitor the following signs:
- Sudden over-eating
- Fatigue or sleeplessness
- Chest pain or stomach problems
- Problems focusing or trouble with memory
- Withdrawal from society
Often times during rehabilitation, a lost sense of control can be the straw to break the camel's back. Maybe the Arizona courts have ordered your rehab treatment. Maybe your facility has stringent daily plans. Perhaps your AA/NA sponsor is really making your work the steps this week. Losing control can be demoralizing. Instead of grasping the reigns and finding your control through familiar pathways of addiction, instead, consider all the things you do have control over and compile them into a list. Then make a similar list of the things your addiction controlled. More often than not, you'll realize that you have more choices while in recovery than you did while using.
Talk About It
Most stress is a result of an internal struggle. Your choices in how to handle external influences doing mental combat with motives of fairness, justice, or fear. Therapy is often a part of most recovery programs, however, many do not take advantage of using this service fully, instead, shrugging it off. In recovery programs where therapy is not included, seeking out a licensed therapist to talk about your feelings can be a real lifesaver. The most important part of therapy, however, is to take it seriously.
Find Your Zen
Eastern practices have become a part of the mainstream. Through meditation, acupuncture and tea ceremonies, many have found peace through these quiet, deliberate routines. Yoga is a great way to experiment with some of these techniques. Rather than giving in to your addiction when stressed-out, keep the following information in mind:
- Researchers from the University of Washington have shown that yoga decreases cravings.
- Mayo Clinic researchers found that yoga has clear stress and anxiety reduction benefits.
- In 2015, the Yoga Alliance reported almost 15,000 instructors, meaning there is probably a studio or class near you.
Mental Health Through Physical Fitness
While yoga and pilates might be fine for more calm individuals, those type-a high-strung addicts in recovery would likely benefit more from high-intensity exercise. Bicycling, running, weight-lifting, boxing; participation in these serves not only as a distraction but are proven to reduce stress level by promoting the brain's ability to produce and effectively use norepinephrine, a neurological chemical that manages stress response.
Find a Hobby
When stress starts to take its toll, turning to a past time, creative or otherwise, can help calm nerves and over time, lead to a meaningful sense of completion as you finish each project. Hobbies such as sewing, knitting, and painting can yield wonderful gifts while simultaneously providing mental relief. Taking up a musical instrument or honing your writing can be cathartic. Getting into bird watching, hiking, or fishing are great ways to get back to nature and ease worries. Whatever you do, make sure your hobby is something you can access quickly to keep from diving back into alcohol and drugs.
Don't Let Stress Get You Down
By keeping track of your stress levels, reminding yourself that you are in control, visiting a therapist, centering through yoga, staying active, or taking up a new past time, you can be sure that your Arizona rehab treatment will be a success.