Though nobody begins drinking or using drugs with the intent of becoming addicted, allowing drinking or using to become a daily habit you associate with rewarding yourself after a long day is often the first step in developing a dependence that later evolves into a substance use disorder. Now that you’re sober, you might find one of the most significant challenges of early recovery is finding new ways to relax and unwind without drugs and alcohol.
Relaxation is a crucial skill to support your sobriety because stress is such a significant relapse trigger. If you don’t have an outlet to express the tension inherent in daily life, you can find yourself slipping back into negative patterns of thinking and behavior that threaten the progress you’ve made with your recovery. With that in mind, here are some healthy ideas to help you learn to relax.
Work up a Sweat
While a moderate- to high-intensity workout might sound like the opposite of relaxation to you, exercising is a must if you want to reward your mind and body. You may have heard of the “runner’s high,” which refers to a release of neurotransmitters like serotonin that provide a natural mood boost. However, you don’t have to take up running if you want to experience this sensation. Any form of exercise can do it.
Regular exercise will also help you get a better night’s sleep, which is your body’s opportunity to recharge and restore itself from the challenges of the day. When you wake up, you’ll feel better-rested and will have more energy and motivation.
Control Your Breathing
Stress evolved in humans as a natural response to a potentially dangerous situation or environment. However, in today’s constantly-on world, sources of stress are everywhere, from the pinging sound of a new notification on your phone to a traffic jam that threatens to make you late to an important meeting. Chronic stress can lead to a long list of health concerns, including high blood pressure, a weakened immune system and mental health challenges like depression or anxiety.
When you’re stressed out, you might find your breathing becomes shallower as you start breathing from your chest instead of your abdomen. The feeling of being unable to catch a full breath can contribute to anxiety. Deep abdominal breathing can help you regain a sense of control. Find a quiet, distraction-free spot where you can sit or lie down comfortably. Breathe in slowly through your nose, allowing your chest and lower belly to rise as you fill your lungs. Let your abdomen expand fully. Then, exhale slowly through your mouth. Practicing your breathing for five to 10 minutes per day can help you discover inner peace.
Spend Time in Nature
If you’re feeling stressed, lonely or anxious, ask yourself: When was the last time you went outside to experience the sights and sounds of the world around you? If you’ve spent several days in a row hibernating at home, going for a walk or bike ride outside can be highly therapeutic. Or, if the weather permits, plant flowers or vegetables. You’ll get the benefits of communing with nature, plus have something to look forward to when the seeds begin sprouting.
The Key to Your Recovery Is in Your Hands
You have vast, untapped potential to overcome addiction and press the reset button on your life. Why wait another day to equip yourself with the tools you need to succeed? At Vista Taos, you will discover a holistic, individualized approach to recovery that enables you to heal physically, mentally and spiritually. Contact us today to learn more.