On the day to day, we all experience stress. From a hectic commute to work, to a last-minute assignment, or a long line at the grocery store, stress is simply our body’s response to everyday pressures. Add in addiction recovery and everyday life can be full of triggers and stressors as you make your way through your sobriety journey. It’s normal to experience stress, however with a very trying past year and a half, more American adults are reporting more stress than ever. In fact, the American Psychological Association states in their “Stress in America: 2021” report that nearly half of the participating surveyed adults have experienced increased stress since the pandemic began in 2020.
While we can’t control what goes on outside of ourselves, we can choose to try to feel better and manage our stress properly. Here are a few suggestions that will help as you care for your mental and physical health in the face of stress.
1. Rest up
Stress can wreak havoc on your sleep and less sleep means worse mood, declining quality of life, and a continued cycle of stress. Be sure to get proper rest by sleeping between 7 to 9 hours a night. Unable to sleep? Try practicing mindfulness, getting at least 30 minutes of activity before bed, and stay away from your electronics at least 2 hours before bed. Your body and your better mood will thank you!
2. Get moving
Exercise is a great way to burn off extra stress. Not an Olympian? No problem! A walk around your neighborhood, a virtual yoga class, or running around with the kids has similar results. You’re making a difference by just getting moving.
Tip: Make a list of your favorite ways to get moving for the days when you would much rather watch Netflix on the couch! Having your go-to list makes lacing up your sneakers and getting moving simpler.
3. Lower your screen time
Each day, set the goal to lower your screen time and use it for when you really need it and will benefit from it – like attending AA, NA, or RCA Alumni Association virtual meetings. For the past year or so, screens have ruled our lives more than ever. From working from home to Zoom catch-ups and enjoying the latest episode of your favorite show, we are on screens for most of the day. In fact, eMarketer found that US adults in 2020 were on their screens for almost 8 hours a day on average.
All of this screen time allows us to be bombarded by news, harmful social media opinions, comparison, and more negativity thus promoting stress. When you’re done working, set your phone down and enjoy a walk outside, join a meeting, have dinner tech-free, or partake in another form of self-care.
4. Journal your thoughts
Sometimes when we’re stressed, it’s easy to begin ruminating. Ruminating thoughts are part of a negative thought cycle that brings on mental stress. A great way to break this cycle is by writing down how you are feeling using the journaling feature in the ShoutoutTM app!
By getting your feelings out on the app, you can lighten the mental load and even keep track of your stressors, moods, and any triggers you encounter along the way! URMC reports that journaling can help you understand your feelings and worries, track your day to day stressors, and help you express your feelings.
Not sure where to start? Here are a few journal prompts for everyday use!
- How am I feeling today?
- What can I do to care for myself as I experience my feelings?
- Name 3 things you’re grateful for
5. Practice mindfulness
Mindfulness, or psychological awareness, has been a buzzword on social media for years now but this coping mechanism is not just buzz! According to the American Psychological Association, mindfulness has been proven in many studies to reduce stress, promote better focus, and reduce emotional volatility.
Looking to get mindful? Try a meditation in the Shoutout app, take an observant walk around your neighborhood, or give a Shoutout yoga instructor’s video a try.
While we all experience stress from time to time, it is never too late to change how you cope! Remember if you’re looking for more help, call 855-408-1050 any time to learn more about our treatment, receive an estimated cost of treatment, or for any questions or concerns you may have.