Stress during the rehabilitation process in inevitable, but that doesn’t mean it should interfere with your recovery. There are many ways to reduce stress during the recovery process. Understanding why you become stressed and reading the signs your body is giving you will allow you to deal with tough situations. Determining the cause helps you move past the difficult times in recovery and focus on the positive. There are many different techniques that you can use to help calm yourself, but first you need to identify when and why the stress is affecting you.

Determine the cause

The first step in managing stress is determining the cause of the stressor and how you usually react. Reading your body and learning to notice signs will help you track patterns of stress. Stress often has a physical counterpart that we can look out for. Are you tightening your muscles, grinding your teeth, or squeezing your fists? If so, then the situation is most likely causing you stress. You may even feel the need to withdraw from the room or feel your stomach churn. These are just some of the ways your body is trying to tell you that the situation you are in is stressful.

Reading these signs and tracking them in a stress journal will help you find the underlying causes of your stress. Look for patterns. Do the situations frequently involve talking about a particular subject? Are they focused on trying to take on many tasks at once? After a few weeks of entries, review your journal with an objective eye. Once you have determined the cause of most of your stress, you will be that much closer to overcoming it.

Four ways to manage stress

With the cause of your stress identified, your task is now to handle it. Asking yourself a few questions about each particular stressor will reveal how best to handle that unique problem. There are four basic ways to deal with stress:

  • Avoid it

    Is this a situation that can be completely removed from your life? Perhaps you can say no to this task and avoid taking too much onto your plate. Controlling your environment can also help you completely avoid a stressor. Does the news constantly make you feel upset and anxious? Then perhaps it is time to break that habit and simply not watch it.
  • Alter your response

    Some of you may find that you feel the most stressed when you have important conversations with family or friends. During these moments, try to alter how you are responding to the stress. Talk about how you are feeling with your partner, spouse, family, colleague, etc. Don’t bottle your emotions up; it will cause further stress during an already trying time. Compromising is also a big help. Holding out until you get your way creates tension between everyone involved. Compromising may help to eliminate an argument and bring about less stress in the end.
  • Adapt to the situation

    Regain a feeling of control over a situation by changing the way you look at it. Try to focus on the bigger picture. Is the situation really important in the grand scheme of things? If not, perhaps it is best just to let it go. Adjust your standards. No one is perfect, especially not yourself. Don’t expect perfection from yourself or others during recovery, mistakes happen and we can learn from them. Focusing on the positive things around you will also help to put things into perspective and make setbacks look less daunting. This is why setting measurable goals is so important. Being able to reward yourself for your success will help keep your mood positive.
  • Accept what you cannot change

    This is never an easy task. We all want things to be within our control and we all know that not everything is. Learn to forgive yourself and others for making mistakes; it is a part of being human. The road to recovery will be filled with twists, turns, and bumps, having a group of people you can talk to about each pitfall will relieve the feelings of depression and doubt. Support groups and family members are there for you during your recovery and you should take advantage of the help they are offering.

Create a stress-free zone

Making a time and place in your life where stress is at a minimum will help you avoid negativity. Set aside a time each day rehabilitation to take a timeout. Find an activity or hobby that makes you feel happy and calm. Exercise, including meditation and yoga, can help to increase endorphins and create peace during your recovery. Don’t underestimate the effect that exercise and healthy eating can have on you. When you feel physically strong it is much easier to be mentally strong. Other basic yet effective activities include taking a bath, reading a book, talking with people around you about your success, making a cup of chamomile tea, enjoying a walk in the fresh air and sun, and playing with a pet.

Consider moving to a sober living home. Removing yourself from a stressful environment and the presence of temptation will help to make you feel less frustrated and anxious as you continue to say no to drugs and/or alcohol. Another aspect to keep in mind is the possibility of addiction being one of a couple issues you may have. Many rehab centers can dual diagnosis another condition you may have. Identifying if depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, or schizophrenia is also present will help to make recovery go smoother. When these types of conditions are presents counseling may be necessary.

Stay Positive

No matter what the cause of your stress, you can learn to manage it. Recovering from drug and/or alcohol abuse is no easy task, but with attainable goals it can be done. Throughout your rehabilitation, stay positive. Focus on your success and never give up.