Stress is dangerous in recovery. It’s one of the most common causes of relapse. For many people, using was a way of avoiding problems. Learning to face problems without recourse to drugs or alcohol is hard. Worse, people are much more sensitive to stress early in recovery because their neurotransmitters are still adjusting. Even minor setbacks can feel like a catastrophe. That’s why it’s important to manage your stress as much as possible during recovery.
Some ways of managing stress take a lot of work. Creating a healthier lifestyle, creating new friendships and mending old ones, and accepting parts of yourself you don’t like are ongoing processes. Fortunately, there are some ways to reduce your baseline of stress without too much effort.
Stop following the news. Especially on the tele. The news is mostly meant to alarm you. You have enough to deal with already. Exposure to stories about crime and violence sensitises you to threats, making you more anxious. High profile crimes make us believe the world is far more dangerous than it is. Nothing covered on the news will cause you more harm than chronic anxiety. If something is really important, someone will tell you about it.
Stay off social media. Social media is where everyone else’s life is better than yours. You see their perfect vacations, their perfect children, their perfect lattes, but you don’t see any of the bad stuff. You start to feel like everyone else knows something you don’t. In reality, everyone has problems. Many of them are worse than yours but no one shares them on Facebook. You probably know this rationally, but your mind is still fooled by the perfect pictures. As a result, you feel like your peers are living a better life than you are, which is depressing.
Social media is also where you find the dregs of humanity. Tolls post appalling content, then your crazy uncle shares it and tags you. There are certain corners of the internet where the worst people make the most noise, and social media amplifies all of it. You’ll feel much better if you minimise your exposure to it.
Avoid traffic. This one may be harder, depending on where you live. Traffic is one of the biggest causes of human misery. Sitting in traffic on your daily commute causes a lot of stress. If there’s any possible way to avoid it, you’ll feel better instantly. Walk or bike if you can. Take the bus or train. Public transportation has its own headaches, but they’re minor compared sitting in traffic.
Smarmore Castle Private Clinic in County Louth, near Dublin was founded in 1988 as a residential rehabilitation hospital treating people suffering from drug and alcohol purposes. Smarmore Castle believes in helping patients lead a life of abstinence through 12 Step programmes, detox and medical treatment, psychotherapy, and complementary therapies for mental illnesses. For more information, please call 041-214-5111. For those who live out of the country, the international number is 00353-41-214-5111.