June is National Safety Month, but not just for summer lifeguards. Just as CPR and water safety are key to keeping everyone safe at the beach, the waterpark, and your local pool, there are safety features in place that provide protection for those walking through addiction recovery, too. Sure, these safety elements might not come with the red bathing suit swag, a VIP lookout tower, or any shark attack rescue stories, but these safety rules are precautions that save lives nonetheless.
Check out these two safety measures that you should honor as you continue in your addiction recovery process:
Talk. Speak up. Be honest.
Stark County Mental Health and Addiction Recovery offer their list of Safe Home Tips and Resources for those in addiction recovery — and at the top of their tally is open, honest, immediate communication. They go on to explain that though you can’t always guarantee your home is completely safe from any threat of addiction relapse or mental health spirals, you are always able to use your voice to speak up and talk to others when you notice your mental health wanting to cave to a potential relapse.
It’s not enough to just speak up, though. You have to tell the good, bad, and ugly truth. Vulnerability is hard, especially when you’re scared that a potential relapse might make you seem like you’re failing at the recovery process. However, that’s when honesty is most powerful.
Tell a trusted accountability partner, medical doctor, or professional counselor about the thoughts you’re having so they can walk you through health strategies to combat what’s going on in your head before the mental concerns become physical.
Find healthy ways to relieve everyday stress.
Stress is unavoidable for everyone, and the more life you experience, the more resources stress has to use against you. When stress is high and emotions are sensitive, your brain isn’t in a safe place. In this situation, a relapse seems like the quickest, easiest fix, but it’s not. Instead, there are plenty of simple, easy ways to combat the temptation to relapse while fighting against stress.
Narconon Colorado’s Addiction Recovery Center offers a list of simple, easy ways to relieve stress:
- Exercise. This doesn’t have to be an Olympic-level exercise, but move your feet, do some stretches, and create those endorphins that naturally battle stress.
- Focus on the here and now. The past tends to weigh you down with regret, while the future can cause panic and anxiety. Take time to focus on yourself and your process, and celebrate how far you’ve come.
- Be creative. Find a hobby like music, art, journaling, or a similar activity that gets the creative side of your brain going. This gives your mind a healthy outlet to focus on while pushing away negative, stressful thoughts.
- Joy ride. Get out of the house and take in the scenery on a really pretty day. Going for a drive engages your brain in processing the mechanics of driving the car rather than focusing on stress.
- Talk. Again, it’s crucial to speak up and talk to a mental health professional you trust about the stress you’re going through so they can offer expert advice for best stress management practices.
- Get outside. Nature instantly relaxes us and provides a bigger, better perspective. If you live near the beach or mountains, check out the scenery. If not, your local park or neighborhood is still a perfect spot.
- Find a good book. Books invite us into a world that’s not our own, giving us the chance to invest headspace in a less stressful, more creative outlet. Find a good book and get reading!
- Chuck bad foods. Foods high in processed sugars and fats naturally increase anxiety. Take some time to clean out the fridge and pantry so you can start making healthier diet choices.
- Eliminate the triggers. You know who the people, places, and things are that push buttons and tempt a relapse. Respect yourself enough to say “no” and avoid any potential triggers.
- Make a game plan. Chart out several of these elements that work best for you. Tape them to the refrigerator, desk, or in your car as a fresh reminder for how you can best combat stress.
Speak up, be honest, and relieve stress. These sound so basic, yet, vulnerability and stress relief are two factors that nearly all adults struggle with — whether they are in addiction recovery or not. So take the time to make a list of healthy, safe people you can talk to when days are bad. Make a game plan for the top five ways you can relieve stress when days are rough and your mindset is unsteady. These simple tools can keep you safe as you continue your addiction recovery process.
Without the right people to talk to, especially as stress piles high, it’s easy for relapse to seem like the easiest, quickest fix. However, here at Renaissance Ranch, we can help navigate you toward health professionals you can talk to and trust. Additionally, we offer resources designed to aid in alleviating your stress in positive, safe ways that can avoid a mental spiral of addiction relapse. Our staff is here to offer advice and guidance as you search for the best people and resources to stay safe through the addiction recovery process. If you are struggling with finding a healthy person to talk to, a healthy game plan to combat stress or any other aspect of drug addiction, we’ve got you covered. The Renaissance Ranch team is here to assist you through all aspects of the drug addiction recovery process. If your current safety measures aren’t working, please call us now at (801) 308-8898.