Millions of Americans are struggling with an opioid addiction; it’s estimated that almost 36 million people abuse the drug worldwide, with the US caught squarely in the middle. Opioids come in many forms, but they are all highly addictive and account for the most deaths from prescription drug use, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
One of the biggest concerns regarding opioids is that individuals who have battled addiction with these drugs have a high relapse rate, especially if they don’t have a support system at home or if they’re dealing with a lot of stress or anxiety. It’s imperative to learn coping methods for these feelings that will keep you healthy and safe when you are living with an addiction, and one way to do that is to practice self-care. Learning how to relax and reduce stress can help you get a little stronger every day.
Here are a few tips on how to do it.
Getting outside for some fresh air is always a good idea; not only does the sun give you a boost of vitamin D—which can help improve your mood—you can use the opportunity to get some exercise, which also has mood-altering effects and can elevate your self-esteem. Choose something you enjoy doing—bike riding, hiking, running, swimming—and do it as often as possible. Combining your workout with a fun activity will lift your spirits and will keep you motivated, meaning you’ll keep coming back to it often, and it can also banish stress.
Get Enough Sleep
Many individuals who are in recovery have trouble sleeping, either because they can’t shut off their brain or because they are still getting used to resting without the aid of a substance. While it can be difficult, it’s important to make sure you get plenty of good sleep. Start a bedtime ritual at the same time every night; take a hot shower or bath, burn a lavender candle, or have a cup of warm, soothing, decaffeinated tea.
Just like sleep, a healthy diet can be difficult for someone in recovery to achieve, for many reasons. You may feel a loss of appetite, either because your body is still healing or because of stress or a mood disorder such as depression, or you may use food for comfort. It’s important to learn how to eat for your body, so talk to your doctor about creating a diet that’s right for you. Some people may need more protein, while others may need a diet full of vitamin-rich veggies. What works for one person may not work for another, so be sure to tailor a well-balanced diet for your needs.
Spend Time with Your Pet
Animals are wonderful companions, and for individuals who are coping with addiction, they can be life-savers. Not only do they provide comfort and company, they can actually be good for your health! Studies have shown that spending time with an animal and petting it can lower blood pressure and can act as a mood-booster. If you don’t already have a pet, consider getting one, or even acquiring an emotional support animal. These are specially-trained pets that give emotional support and can help you cope with stress in a healthy way.
Practicing self-care can help you through the process of recovery by reducing stress and anxiety and allowing you to learn how to cope with those feelings when they do show up. Knowing how to handle any situation will boost your confidence and help you get stronger and stronger during your recovery.
Photo courtesy of Pixabay