Rest more often gets perceived as a luxury or goal that is appreciated every once in a while. However, finding time during the day to relax should be made a necessity in both life and recovery. It is a vital part of self-care, especially if you are working hard to develop the skills needed to sustain recovery.
Further, stress can be the cause of some of your most difficult cravings, and therefore taking time to relax each day helps to protect your physical and mental health. While in early recovery, it might not always be easy to find time to relax, but there are ways in which you can practice to make relaxation an everyday part of recovery. Let’s take a look at how you can add relaxation to your daily regimen.
Set Aside Time
Just as you would set aside time to tend to other priorities, setting aside time for relaxation makes it a priority, too. It also helps you develop a relationship with relaxation that turns into a habit. Look to the areas of your day where you can fit this in. You might decide that before bed is a great time to relax and unwind. Relaxing before bed can also promote more restful sleep.
You might also want to unwind right after work. Instead of jumping into home projects, chores, or cooking dinner, take a little time to decompress. Adding a little buffer between work and home life helps to benefit relationships and even boost energy. Whatever you decide, stick to it. Most people are quick to skip relaxation to tend to other things, but you will soon see how valuable this time is when you stick with it.
The mind and body are connected, and it is tough to relax your body if your mind is tense, agitated, or racing. Meditation practices such as mindfulness, prayer, or yoga are great ways to reduce stress and bring about inner calm and peace. These practices help you avoid getting wrapped up in your thoughts. The relaxation response from meditation techniques helps change the way your mind and body respond to stress.
Health benefits from these practices reduce stress and anxiety; they also help reduce heart-related problems and help you overcome a depressive state. Taking time in the morning, afternoon, or evening to meditate is a great way to heal and strengthen the connection between the mind-body and soul. Try a few different techniques to see which ones work best for you. You might find that prayer is the best way, or you might find that a long walk helps you process thoughts and reduce stress.
You might think that this is counterproductive to your recovery, but taking time to pamper yourself is not only okay; it’s encouraged. Creating a comfortable environment such as turning your bathroom or bedroom into a spa-like atmosphere can help you confirm that these places are safe and stress-free environments. Having a space to come back to where you feel comfortable is great when you feel stressed at work or other places.
Additionally, taking a warm bath or shower in the evening can do wonders to rejuvenate the mind, body, and soul. You can designate a time in the day to sit outside with a cup of coffee or tea of choice and take in nature.
Most people take quick, shallow breaths, contributing to nervousness, anxiety, stress, and poor posture. Deep breathing techniques offer a quick way to activate your parasympathetic nervous system and get your body and mind to relax. Deep breathing—in particular, a long exhale—is shown to activate the vagus nerve, which stimulates your rest and digest system.
Further, taking six deep breaths per minute helps get you into a breathing rhythm that relaxes your mind and body. The best part is, you only need a few minutes to help regulate your breathing; therefore, you can practice this at any point in the day where you begin to feel stressed. The next time you feel stressed and pressed for time, take a minute or two to breathe.
Exercise is terrific for mental and physical health and is a big proponent to aiding your recovery. Regular exercise helps your brain become less reactive to stress, which makes it easier to relax. If stress relief is your primary goal, keeping your exercise relatively moderate helps keep you balanced emotionally and physically. Try not to become too strenuous during your exercise; even taking 3-4 days per week to exercise can significantly improve your mood, motivation, and wellbeing.
Relaxation plays a crucial role in recovery. It helps keep you both mentally and physically healthy. Neglecting to relax consistently can only perpetuate negative thoughts and behaviors. If you feel like you are experiencing the latter, then the time to reach out for help is now. At Renaissance Ranch, we meet men wherever they are in their recovery. We offer a bounty of treatment and therapeutic approaches to help you overcome and prepare you for lasting recovery. We are a faith-driven community that aims to instill in you the empowerment to inspire and drive your recovery. Of course, we remain here to help you at any point where you might feel uncertain about your recovery. With 24/7 admissions, there is never a wrong time to reach out. Put your recovery first and take the next step with Renaissance Ranch. To find out more, call us today at (801) 308-8898.