Beginning a new life of sobriety comes along with many physical and mental challenges. You may find that everyday stressors, such as paying bills, grocery shopping and disagreements, feel even more demanding now compared to when you were not sober. Not having the option to turn to drugs and/or alcohol to cope with trying times is a major challenge in and of itself. So, when these old behaviors are no longer of value to you, how do you cope with the daily stress of life while sober?
Choosing to live your life in sobriety means choosing a life filled with love, freedom and peace. Even though facing stressful situations while sober has its challenges, this does not mean that you will no longer be able to experience relaxation and satisfaction. There are many ways you can de-stress while honoring your sobriety.
Destressing While Sober: Physical Exercise
In 2012, Mark A. Smith and Wendy J. Lynch conducted a study regarding the correlation between physical exercise and sobriety. They found that, in certain conditions, physical exercise produces feelings of euphoria, similar to the euphoric feelings experienced while using drugs and/or alcohol. When performing physical exercise while sober, the temptation to use again subsides because it has been replaced with a much healthier source. Engaging in some sort of physical activity is an extremely beneficial way to have fun and escape from stress.
However, for some, the thought of going to the gym and running on a treadmill for 30 minutes sounds more dreadful rather than appealing. Luckily, there are many ways to engage in physical exercise that are fun and meet your interest. These can include more relaxing activities, such as going for a long walk in a scenic area or even dancing to your favorite music in a comfortable space. Many find sports to be an entertaining way to get physical exercise as well. While there are many popular sports available, some more unique options include disc golf, badminton or even quidditch from the Harry Potter franchise. Either way, there are many ways to practice physical exercise in a way that is practical and pleasing for your unique desires.
Destressing While Sober: Art
Despite what many might think, arts and crafts are not just for children. Not only is creating art a great way to relax, but it also can be incredibly therapeutic. While utilizing paints, shapes or instruments, you are essentially letting yourself play and be free to create whatever you like. When stressed, art gives you the space to express this feeling without judgment or limits. In this way, you are simultaneously entertaining yourself and releasing your stress.
When considering how to create, there are many forms of art to choose from. Some forms of art may even double with physical activity. These options include dancing, singing and acting. Less physically demanding options to consider are playing an instrument, drawing, painting and writing. If none of these pique your interest, consider researching lesser-known options such as sculpting or even bubble art! Anything can be used to create art, as long as it is authentic and meaningful to you.
Destressing While Sober: Rituals
In many religions, rituals are used to center oneself and reconnect with a higher power. Some of these rituals typically involve the use of prayer and attending a church of some sort. While this may be gratifying for some, practicing daily or nightly rituals for yourself does not need to have any religious meanings or ties. Instead, rituals can serve you in whatever way you need them to serve you. In this case, you get to create the meaning, frequency and actions for these rituals. For example, those who have difficulty sleeping at night may find it useful to have a nightly ritual that involves taking a relaxing bath, reading a book or practicing breathwork while laying down. Perhaps those who experience anxiety or lack of motivation upon first waking up would benefit from morning rituals that include eating light, stretching, journaling and making a quick breakfast.
In recovery, prevention is key to staying sober. Rituals are extremely beneficial when it comes to prevention, because you get to choose what benefits you in order to be prepared for potentially stressful moments. That way these rituals can eventually become daily habits that you look forward to doing. While life may continue to have stressful moments, you can always rely on your daily, personalized rituals to revitalize and excite you.
Living in recovery is a truly wonderful way to live. However, it certainly has its hardships. Oftentimes, sobriety brings to light intense feelings of stress. Rather than turning to drugs or alcohol to cope with this stress, finding new ways to relax is vital for recovery. Fortunately, there are many ways to find this relief in a healthy way. Whether it be practicing any form of physical exercise, art or rituals, your options are nearly endless. At Pinelands Recovery Center of Medford, we want to help you find what is best for you and your needs. Through our diverse programs, we are eager to assist you along your journey in whatever way you need. Contact our New Jersey facility today at (877) 557-5372 to find out more.