Addiction recovery is a time filled with hope and positivity, but that doesn’t mean that there won’t be bad days. You will most likely experience your fair share of “off” days. Nothing seems to be going right, you are feeling down and you’re unsure of your journey. The truth is that everyone experiences these bad days, no matter what. But you should never let these bad days jeopardize your recovery. We’ve put together a list of tips to help get you through those bad days and come out even stronger in your recovery.
Talk to Someone
Communication is an extremely valuable tool in recovery. Calling up a good friend in recovery, family member, or sponsor within your support network is a simple yet effective way to deal with a bad day. Instead of avoiding your feelings, talking to a friend can help you put things into perspective. Chances are, your friend has probably dealt with many of the same feelings. A friend who is calm, understanding, and knowledgeable can provide valuable insight and help you deal with your feelings.
Keep a Journal
Expressing yourself through writing is a deeply personal way to handle a bad day. Keeping a journal helps you to prioritize your concerns, problems, and fears. Writing down your feelings also helps you identify the causes of your stress and anxiety so you’re able to overcome them. Being consistent with journaling can be difficult, but is the most effective way to manage your feelings. That way, when you do experience a difficult day, you can write down, identify, and cope with your stressors.
Take a Walk Outside
Sometimes the best thing we can do is walk away. A short, 20-minute walk outside is a healthy way to cope with stress and anxiety that can be brought on by a bad day. Like any other cardio exercise, a brisk walk boosts endorphins which can reduce and alleviate stress. Breathe in the fresh air and focus on what is around you. Pay attention to the trees, grass, and people around you. Getting in tune with yourself and focusing on the present helps to take your mind off what is bothering you. This doesn’t mean you should avoid your problems, but rather helps you put things in perspective and come back with a better outlook.
Blast Some Music
Playing your favorite music is a simple way to shift your mood. Music has an effect on the body and mind in many different ways. Listening to music can increase the amount of natural dopamine in the brain that controls the brain’s pleasure center. It can be extremely stress-relieving. Our favorite song can make us feel good and reconnect with your feelings. Music has a unique connection to our emotions, so it can be an extremely useful stress management tool during bad days.
Focus on Your Breathing
When we’re having a bad day and experiencing a rush of negative emotions, it can be easy to forget to just breathe. There are a variety of different breathing exercises that are useful for managing stress. The way we breathe affects our whole body. Stepping back and focusing on your breath is a good way to relax, release tension, and relieve stress. Find a quiet spot and take some deep breaths so your body feels like it does when you are relaxed. You can find some breathing exercise techniques here.
Don’t Be Too Hard on Yourself
The most important thing you can do during bad days in recovery is to remind yourself that you are not alone. Everyone has days where they are feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or just generally “off”. It doesn’t mean that you are failing, it means that you are human. It’s okay to have bad days, but do your best to remain positive and focused on recovery. Always remember, it’s just a bad day, not a bad life.