Healthy Ways to Cope With Stress

Sep 9, 2022

Who isn’t stressed out about something these days? Whether it is stress related to work, family, relationships, or finances, it seems there is always something to worry about. In our society, people spend more time focusing on and feeding into what stresses them out rather than engaging in activities that are known to reduce stress.

For example, when people are stressed out, they tend to eat unhealthy foods, scroll on social media, or lay around on the couch and watch reality TV shows. Likely consequences of activities like this include reinforced poor eating, continued stress, and maybe a little weight gain.

When it comes to addiction, stress can be a major trigger that can lead to substance use, as well as continued and repeated substance use, addiction, or relapse during recovery. Not handling and coping with stress in a healthy way can be very detrimental to someone with addiction or a history of substance abuse. Sometimes, it can be the difference between life and death.

It sounds extreme, but stress can be a huge burden and lead people to do things they otherwise would not consider. Learning healthy ways to cope with stress is important for everyone, especially those with a history of addiction. Renaissance Ranch teaches clients how to handle and cope with stress in healthy and productive ways. A few healthy options for managing stress are discussed below.

Exercise

Exercise is an excellent way to manage and cope with stress. As you probably already know, exercise has many benefits to your overall health. Even a little exercise per day can help boost your mood, provide you with a better quality of sleep, promote better digestion, and leave you feeling more energized.

Let’s discuss how exercise directly impacts stress. You may be familiar with the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol is naturally released by the body, but can be released in increased amounts as a result of certain activities, emotions, or situations. Exercise actually reduces cortisol levels, leaving you feeling less stressed and happier.

Exercise also releases endorphins. Endorphins are known to reduce stress, improve mood, and increase your overall sense of happiness and well-being. Even a ten-minute walk can be enough to release endorphins – imagine what consistent exercise could do!

Therapy

When it comes to stress management, therapy is a given, right? Well, at least it should be. Therapeutic experiences are beneficial for all of us. When it comes to treatment for substance abuse, therapy is likely to be an important part of your treatment plan. 

When you think of therapy, you probably think of sitting in a room with a therapist, chatting back and forth. While this might be true for some forms of therapy, there are many other types of therapeutic experiences that may be incorporated into your treatment plan. At Renaissance Ranch, we like to use a combination of individual therapy, group therapy, and experiential therapy to provide our clients with the most well-rounded treatment experience possible.

Through individual therapy, you can address specific stressors that may be leading to harmful thoughts or behaviors fueling your addiction. A therapist can help you develop coping strategies and learn to avoid negative patterns of behavior. During group therapy, you can experience a sense of community and feel encouraged by the presence of others who are going through the same thing. Often, sharing stresses and burdens with other like-minded individuals can be therapeutic in itself.

Experiential therapy allows for learning and healing outdoors or in more unconventional settings. For example, this could include hiking, bike riding, ropes courses, and more. Many of these activities are transferable from treatment into recovery and can serve as excellent stress relievers for you, even after treatment.

Self-Care

Making time to do things that you enjoy and take care of yourself is a critical part of treatment and recovery. You have to take care of yourself before you are able to take care of others or fulfill the responsibilities and obligations that you may have. Sometimes, learning to make time for self-care can take practice. The first step to taking care of yourself is identifying what self-care looks like for you.

During treatment, you will be encouraged to do things like meditate, pray daily, and spend time outdoors. Any of these activities could serve as a form of self-care for you throughout recovery and help you manage stress. Think about what you enjoy doing most, and what makes you feel relaxed. That is your self-care. Make time for it!

By incorporating the activities mentioned above and prioritizing your mental health, you can successfully cope with stress in treatment and recovery. Stress happens, but coping with it in a healthy way is key to preventing relapse.

Do you find yourself feeling stressed and overwhelmed? Learning healthy ways to cope with stress is important for everyone. If you are struggling with addiction or have a history of substance abuse, it is even more important. Stress can lead to substance use and relapse, so knowing how to manage stress and maintain good mental health is critical. Renaissance Ranch incorporates a variety of therapies and activities designed to help you improve your mental, physical, and spiritual health while you are recovering from substance abuse. We help you develop strategies and learn tools for coping with life outside of treatment to ensure you stay on track. Our Band of Brothers alumni program serves as a great resource in recovery when you encounter stressful situations. If you or someone you care about is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, we would love to help. Call Renaissance Ranch at (801) 308-8898.