Managing Stress in 2021
This holiday season was challenging for everyone in one way or another. Whether you stayed home or took risks to see family, you might be holding onto feelings from the past few months. Managing stress is an essential part of learning to live, adapt, and survive without alcohol or drugs.
New Year’s is the time of year we spend reflecting. For humans, the passage of time is significant. We love to mark birthdays on a calendar. You probably have a “sober birthday” date you’re keeping track of as well. 2020 and now 2021 are years that will probably be etched into our brains for years to come. Recent current events and unrest, as well as living in a pandemic, are remarkable stressors. And, as with many things, most of us are pretty powerless over what people outside ourselves. But we must learn to manage as life goes on.
The new year is also a time of reflection. It’s also a time we set goals and think about our hopes and dreams. Letting go of stress and learning to cope with it using healthy methods is an integral part of maintaining your recovery and sanity these days.
Managing Stress in a Healthy Way
There are no promises that anyone can make in 2021 other than it’s a new year. However, you can take time to manage and take care of your feelings and emotions. Managing stress is an important skill. For many people, managing life a day at a time is an important skill to master again and again. Nobody is perfect, and these skills take practice. Don’t beat yourself up if you feel overwhelmed. Take a deep breath, and make sure you’re doing the following:
- Maintaining your healthy habits. Sometimes it’s hard to take care of yourself, especially if you are prone to depression or loneliness. However, taking care of yourself will help you stay sober. Ensure you are eating well-rounded meals three times a day, getting exercise at least three times a week, taking any medications you have correctly, and getting enough sleep.
- Recharging regularly. That means do something that lifts your spirits and practicing self-care. Spen some time in the morning sipping coffee and listening to your favorite music. Go for a run in the park. Practice yoga or meditation. Do things that you feel help nurture your spirit.
- Eating healthy foods. You may feel pressured to have extreme weight loss goals around the New Year or stick to an unsustainable fitness plan. Many people in recovery from addiction also have disordered eating habits. Don't stress about your weight or obsess about your diet. Instead of setting weight loss goals, focus on all-around wellness. Eat healthy, balanced meals, and try to reach for a banana instead of a candy bar. If you want to lose weight, consult a doctor or nutritionist to help you balance your meals. If you
- Getting exercise without being unrealistic. Exercise can be good for your pheremones, but it can also be an addiction. It’s hard to walk an hour a day, every day, or lift weights every day. Some days, you might have trouble doing it or may be busy. Just make time to get some exercise when you can, a few times a week.
- Be social. Even with COVID-19, social interaction is one of the most significant parts of our existence as humans. We need interaction. Many people are experiencing loneliness, but that doesn’t make you alone! Try going to meetings online and reaching out to your network. Ask them to set up chats online using Zoom or another software system.
So much of life today is putting one foot in front of the other. Remember, you are here to stay sober just for today. You are not alone, and you have a choice today that you didn’t when you were sober.
Take the time to practice the basics in recovery, and remember you are powerless over other people, places, and things.
If you need help, it is available, but you need to make sure you ask for it.
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