You could say the root of all addiction is a stress trigger. Stress is often called the silent killer and stress itself has been a consistent factor which has been creeping up higher and higher. The collective sleep debt of the country and the rising incidences of sleep disorders such as insomnia are said to be a symptom of the high-stress society we live in. According to this study, stress is a key risk factor in the development of addiction as well as in addiction relapse.
It stands to reason that addiction treatment then is fundamentally a problem of stress management. Let’s take a look at some reasons why you should take a mental health day to cut your stress down and give you time to breathe and reflect.
Reflect on Your Issues and Take Action
When you have a myriad of things going on in your life, everything can feel like its spiraling out of control. If there are any issues that are bothering you or things you know need to be done in the near future, write them down. Ask yourself if there is anything you can do about them if you would do anything and if you will, what will you do? These are simple questions that when answered concretely, can help you put them away so they aren’t in the background of your mind, eating up precious energy.
This is also a good time to partake in a grounding activity. The body reacts wonderfully to cues. If you develop a ritual, such as lighting some aromatic candles or brewing up a cup of tea, or perhaps even drawing a bath and sitting down with a book, you can teach yourself how to relax. Mindfulness meditation and yoga are also popular and highly effective practices that can take you out of your headspace and let you rest for a bit.
Get some Vitamin D
A significant portion of the population is deficient in Vitamin D. This important vitamin impacts a whole host of features in the body including but not limited to the absorption of calcium, regulating the immune system, brain development and in this case, the most important is mood. Vitamin D is involved in the release of neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin—key chemicals that are deficient or insufficient in people who suffer from depression. It is also the bodies’ response to these chemicals which are altered with heavy drug use.
While there are many ways to get vitamin D through diet and supplementation, one of the simplest and most relaxing ways is to just go for a walk outside. Our body can obtain vitamin D from the sun through UVB rays.
Being in nature has been proven to reduce cortisol—aka stress levels. How you feel the best way to do this is up to you, it is, after all, YOUR mental health day.
Reap the Benefits of Gratitude
Stress can sometimes be unavoidable, but a big part of how we manage our stress or react to it is simply a matter of perspective. Nothing can change your perspective for the better more than practicing gratitude. Try to earnestly reflect on the things you ARE fortunate to have: clean water, food, a support system that genuinely cares about you. Merely giving your thanks for these things in spite of all the stressors in your life can have a profound effect on your emotional wellbeing which will almost certainly spill over into preventing relapse.
Lumiere Recovery Approach
At Lumiere, our approach to recovery is one that has been informed by decades of collective experience in the addiction treatment space. Our patients are family to us, this is evidenced by our active alumni community that have continued to help people on the road to recovery long after they themselves have officially completed treatment. If you are seeking sobriety in a nurturing environment for you or a loved one, please visit our contact page or give us a call at (855) 535-8501.