Stress is something that everyone seems to have more than enough of these days. For clients in treatment for substance abuse, developing effective strategies to deal with stress is an important part of learning how to live a new, sober lifestyle. At Summit Behavioral Health, we know that when clients are unduly stressed, it can be a trigger for a spiral toward a relapse. Developing ideas for things to do instead of stressing out is an important coping strategy.
Things To Do Instead Of Stressing Out And Relapsing
1. Take Some Deep Breaths
Stop and take several slow, deep breaths. Make sure that your lungs fill up with air. As you slowly exhale, make a sighing sound and picture the tension leaving your body. This technique will help you release stress hormones and feel calmer.
2. Get Outside
Changing your environment is another way to deal with stress. Going outside and getting some fresh air and sunshine lift your spirits (it’s actually proven!). Walking, cycling, or going for a drive are all good choices when you are feeling stressed.
3. Hit The Gym
Exercise is a great way to deal with stress. Turn up your workout music and get your heart rate up when things seem to be closing in on you. Getting physical allows your body to release endorphins, which are its natural “feel-good” hormones. You can work out on your own with machines or free weights; or you can join an exercise class, like yoga or Zumba to get the benefits of exercising and having fun with others to deal with stress.
4. Do Something To Keep Your Hands Busy
Doing something with your hands helps to quiet your mind. Knitting, scrapbooking, or writing are examples of hobbies that keep your hands and mind busy. Playing cards or a board game can also provide a healthy distraction from whatever is stressing you out.
5. Talk To Someone
If you are feeling stressed, don’t keep it to yourself. Talk to a counselor, your sponsor, a family member or a friend. As you share whatever is bothering you with someone, you will feel less burdened by it. Getting support from others should be part of the ongoing recovery process!
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