How to Manage Stress in Sobriety


Sydney Schulz on June 17, 2021 at 7:33 AM

By Abby Monroe

Stress is an integral part of life. We all have our ups and downs, and some people are more susceptible to it than others. We all have different reactions to stress, but the underlying effect is pretty much the same. We feel mental or emotional strain and all these various reactions are our coping mechanisms. They are crutches to help us get through. For people in recovery, it is crucial to learn how to handle stress more constructively. Crutches, which in this case could be drugs or alcohol, are not a healthy way to deal with difficulties in life. Moreover, the journey to recovery itself is a stressful process. Therefore, here is some advice on how to manage stress in sobriety to help you remain sober and become more resilient.

How does stress impact sobriety?

Work and family are the most apparent stress causes. Moreover, stress can come from your feeling of shame due to your past actions. If you don't know how to practice some healthy stress management techniques, you could be more likely to relapse. Although relapse is a normal part of recovery, it can be highly detrimental to your morale, making it harder to gather additional motivation to get back on the right track. 

Signs of stress

You should always listen to your body. American Psychological Association maintains that it has ways to tell you something is wrong. Sometimes, it will exhibit physical symptoms such as these: 

  • Headaches
  • Stomach problems
  • Muscle tension
  • Increased heartbeat rate
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Loss of appetite
  • Trouble concentrating and forgetfulness
  • Jitters and feeling of anxiety
  • Irritability

Effective ways to manage stress in sobriety

Instead of numbing your feelings, you must come face to face with them. Dealing with the consequences of your previous actions, current stressors, and challenging situations can be overwhelming. But in order to be successful on your journey and remain sober, you have to learn new ways of handling what life throws at you. These effective ways to manage stress in sobriety will help you do that.

Learn how to breathe

Although it seems too simple to work, focusing on your breathing and taking deep breaths during a stressful situation can help you calm yourself down and even step away from the stress for a bit. If you allow yourself a few moments to breathe before you react, it can change your response. 

Create a healthy daily routine

Having a healthy daily routine to follow creates a structure and helps you take control of your life. Thus, it is one of the best ways to manage stress. Your daily routine should include a regular sleep schedule, physical exercise, work and family commitments, hobbies, and activities related to your recovery, such as attending support group meetings. Once you have such a healthy routine in place, it will be easier for you to be productive. It will also teach you to prioritize these activities as they are the ones helping you to stay on the path to recovery. 

Get enough sleep

As we have mentioned, you must have consistent sleep schedules. Sleep is crucial for anyone's mental and physical health. The lack of sleep can make it increasingly harder to deal with various life events, which can lead to insomnia, fatigue, and other symptoms. Your brain function is impaired, and you become more vulnerable to relapse. Therefore, getting a minimum of seven hours of sleep every night is imperative. To help yourself manage that, avoid caffeine later in the afternoon and don't spend time in front of the screen. Also, try to develop a relaxing evening routine before you go to bed. 

Have a healthy diet

Another important point on your recovery journey is maintaining a healthy, balanced diet. It helps repair your body after it has been robbed of the nutrients due to substance abuse. These nutrients are necessary for normal physical functioning and good mental health. So, good dietary habits will also help you improve your mood. 

Take a look at your diet and analyze what you eat. Eliminate or reduce the use of processed food, caffeine, and sugar. Instead, introduce lots of fresh fruit and vegetables into your diet. They are full of amino acids, which can help regulate your mood, behavior, and concentration. 

Relocating is also an option

Although it is not typically advisable, there are situations when moving during the recovery is a good idea. For example, if it is impossible to create a solid support system in your current location or you cannot escape triggers that can lead you down the road of substance abuse again. Sometimes, the best thing to do is browse through the Best Long Distance Movers database and move far away from your old life. 

Start a hobby

We have already mentioned that your daily routine should include a hobby. Like exercise, work, and support groups, a hobby can also help you create a good structure. It is an excellent way to cope with stress and channel your energy into something more productive than substance abuse. Arts and crafts and music are a good idea. Regardless of whether you do them as a part of a group activity or on your own, hobbies are a good way to distract yourself from the stress. 

Don't dwell on things out of your control

You cannot control external factors. So, if you cling to your idea of how things should be or how things used to be, you will only create unnecessary stress. Remember, the only thing you have control of is your behavior. While you can't control external events, you can control how you react to and handle them. Knowing this will allow you to make choices that will not hinder your progress. 

Rely on your support system

One of the worst things you can do when dealing with a problem or a problematic situation is to suffer in silence. Talking to your support group, relying on family, close friends, or a therapist will help you get some much-needed perspective. Also, they will help you find solutions you may not think of yourself. Most importantly, you will know you are not in this alone. 

All of these pieces of advice to help you manage stress in sobriety are simultaneously ways to take care of yourself. Self-care is critical not only for recovering individuals but for anyone. If you know how to look after yourself, you will find it easier to handle stressful situations. 

By Abby Monroe 


No comments