For people in active addiction, relaxation is often about using. When drugs and alcohol are no longer in your life, it can be challenging to re-learn how to unwind each day. If you remain tired and stressed, never taking time to center yourself, it’s possible to fall into a negative cycle that often leads to relapse. Luckily, there are many ways to renew your spirit and decompress, and many of them are completely free!
How Do You Feel at the End of the Day?
After a long day at work or school, certain emotions and physical states are common. It wouldn’t be unusual to feel stressed about upcoming deadlines, events of the day, or a tough commute. You may also be experiencing the things summed up in the acronym H.A.L.T. – hunger, anger, loneliness, or tiredness. Addressing these should be your first priority when you return home from a day out in the world.
It may seem overly simplified, but when these basic human needs go unmet, we are extremely susceptible to self-destructive behaviors. In severe enough circumstances, this can include relapse. Fortunately, feelings of hunger, anger, loneliness, and tiredness are easily identified and quickly remedied.
Be sure that when you seek to address H.A.L.T. symptoms, you go about it the right way. Don’t just open a bag of chips – choose healthy foods that will give you energy to move forward in your day. Instead of napping all day, set parameters for a sleep schedule and instead unwind with a relaxation technique.
Learn to Relax
Often, people condition themselves to use drugs and alcohol as a tool for relaxation. This substance use allows them to calm down, escape, relieve tension, and reward themselves. If you’ve participated in addiction treatment, you know that the first rule of recovery is that you have to change your life. Therefore, it stands to reason that you also need to modify the way you relieve stress. This is not optional to recovery – it is essential.
By developing coping skills and transforming your habits, you’ll soon find constructive ways to manage the stressors of everyday life.
Types of Relaxation Techniques
There is a wide variety of relaxation techniques available for your use. Many of these are 100% free and require no training, while others can be improved upon by cooperating with a licensed professional, such as a counselor or yoga instructor.
If you’re feeling stressed, you can try…
- Taking a walk
- Breathing exercises
- Progressive muscle relaxation
- Autogenic training
- Guided imagery
- Doing yoga
- Listening to music
- Going outside
- Taking a hot bath or shower
- Watching a funny movie
- Going to a 12-step meeting
How to Get Started
The first step is to create a routine for your day. If you’re irregular with your meditative practices, it can be difficult to create the mental connections necessary to build lasting habits. Next, make yourself comfortable. When you get home, change into loose, comfortable clothing that you feel confident in. Make your environment as welcoming as possible – play relaxing music, clear away any clutter, and light a candle. When you’re stressed, these consistent cues serve as reminders that your self-care time is beginning.
Be kind to yourself as you get used to the process of relaxing without substance use. Recovery means rewiring your brain’s reward system to drug-free life, so don’t be discouraged if it takes longer than you planned to begin feeling calm without your substance of choice. As always, if you need additional support or assistance, we encourage you to reach out to professionals and peers.
Incorporating Relaxation Techniques into Your Recovery
Segue Recovery serves as an advocate for those in the critical early stages of addiction recovery. Our services include case management, recovery coaching, sober living, monitoring, family engagement, and accountability. We encourage you to reach out today if you could use support in your recovery. Our operators are standing by at 1-866-905-4550.