7 Ways to Make Relaxation a Part of Your Recovery
Practicing relaxation can mean more than deep breathing. Relaxation can help with strong feelings such as stress, anxiety and even anger. There are many different ways to practice relaxation, and some of these should be practiced daily for the best results. Implementing these daily methods of relaxation allows for your baseline of emotions to be at lower levels. When you might find yourself in a situation where you feel stronger emotions you are more likely to turn to relaxation techniques to calm down.
Self-monitoring or decreasing feelings of strong emotions may be huge in recovery, especially early recovery. Some of the most common emotions that might trigger relapse are stress and anxiety, so let’s explore some ways to help you bring relaxation into your life:
- Deep breathing. One of the most grounding deep breathing exercises is to breathe in through your nose and hold your breath in for a few seconds and then release your breath through your mouth. Repeat this a few times, and you should start to notice and feel the tension leave your body.
- Progressive muscle relaxation. One way to practice muscle relaxation is to start at your toes and work your way up your body tensing each muscle until you reach your face. As you release the tension, you will likely notice areas that are holding the most tension, and maybe repeat the process in more tense areas.
- Journaling. You may not always feel like you can always share your feelings with someone. Try to write it out and it can be anything such as, talking about cravings, worries, successes and even learning moments. Use this technique to avoid leaving your emotions bottled up!
- Listening to calming music. Try to pick music that speaks to you; music that is calming. Maybe you need to listen to it on your drive home from work to come down from the emotions of the day. Maybe you listen while getting ready in the morning as a way to start your day. Whenever you need it most, make sure it is ready to go.
- Create routine. Routines help keep you from either over or under-planning. However, if you over plan, it may result in stress, and under planning may result in burnout or boredom. Be mindful as you plan though, as burnout, stress and boredom are relapse triggers. Routines and structure are also important to help you reach your daily goals.
- Exercise regularly. Exercise releases endorphins—and may be able to help decrease symptoms of stress and anxiety. If it gets challenging, try to invite a family member or friend with you. Find an excuse to include your animals or children in physical activity—have a dance party, go to the park or do anything that can make it seem fun!
- Laugh – Watch a T.V. show that makes you laugh. Spend time with friends and loved ones who make you laugh. Maybe for you, a good book can make you laugh. Whatever it is, find something to do every day that makes you laugh.
These are just a few of the ways you can practice relaxation. Remember building healthy habits takes time. Continue to practice these things until they become part of your everyday life.