Society has long had an “I need a drink” culture, and now there is the “I smoke to calm down,” culture setting in. These excuses for bringing a substance into your body to alter your emotional state or stress are just that, excuses. Unfortunately, what starts out as a simple excuse leads to full-blown addiction and dependency. During sobriety, however, people feel even more stress. They face triggers daily; they have to say no repeatedly to something that was a very big part of their lives. They do this all without turning to alcohol, can you do it? If you’re considering alcohol rehab programs or ending your drinking habit, then you might want to look at your destressing options first. Stress happens to everyone, and you can maintain or handle stress without picking up a beer or drink.
Monitor Your Breathing
Counting to ten seems cheesy, but mindfulness practices, meditation, and many childhood anger resolutions methods all focus on our breathing patterns. Why? Because when we’re stressed, angry, or otherwise upset, our breathing changes and our other subconscious bodily functions change as well.
The phrase “That made my blood boil” comes from the increased heart rate, which often happens when people are mad. The result is often feeling hot, as well as angry. When you’re stressed, your breathing may become short, shallow, or follow an odd pattern.
Watch the stopwatch on your phone as you focus on your breathing. You will likely feel your breaths becoming longer and deeper. Something about connecting time to your breathing is very peaceful.
Do a Good Deed
One thing that leads to frequent stress is the feeling of not having enough time to do everything. Adding something to that list seems counterintuitive but, you can do a good deed in just a few seconds or minutes and instantly receive a little boost.
Good deeds that take less than five minutes of your time include:
- Donating what you can afford to a charity online
- Sending a “Thank you” note or text to someone who helped you recently
- Asking someone (who is clearly looking for something) what they are looking for instead of asking if they need help.
- Do something nice for someone you live with that may go unnoticed.
These things are small, and that’s fine, but there are likely many things that are stressing you out that won’t make you feel as good as doing one of these small tasks. Even when your to-do list is overwhelming, or triggers are around literally every corner, a good deed can help you feel better.
Take a Nap
Sleeping is not the solution to everything, but if you need to recharge, then pulling an all-nighter won’t help. In fact, you may be better equipped to handle the many mounting tasks after a nap. If you need sleep, then sleep. Many learn in recovery that taking care of their bodies is critical for ongoing recovery. You simply cannot overload yourself, deprive yourself of sleep, and hope to stay sober.
Prioritize Things from 1 to 10
Stress can come on because we are overwhelmed, facing our relapse triggers, or simply struggle to keep up with daily life. These are all normal reasons for stress but all the things you can manage. One method for dealing with stress is to list things out with a pen and paper or in a note-taking app on your phone.
Some people will list our reasons for staying sober or turning down the opportunity to take their drug of choice. Your list can be virtually anything, but there are a few guidelines, you should list either positive things or actionable things such as a to-do list. And, you should always follow a structured guideline of 1 being the most important or vital thing and ten being the least important.
Why does this work? It forces you to focus on and ask yourself what is most important at this very moment. For example, listing out the reasons for sobriety may initially start with your family or your job, and then further down the list mention your many days sober already, and at the bottom mention the positive life you’ve to build or are building.
Consider Outpatient Alcohol Rehab Programs
Rehab Carolinas helps people overcome addiction by arming them with many tools for handling relapse triggers and everyday stress. Our outpatient program is more realistic and helps people prepare for life in sobriety. Contact Rehab Carolinas for more information on our alcohol rehab programs and how to create a sober life that feels good.