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Learning to Relax

If you were asked at any point during your active addiction “why” you used, you probably said you did it for an “escape,” a “reward” or to relax. Both escapes and rewards are also ways people try to relax. Relaxation is a common reason people from all walks of life say that they use alcohol or drugs. Drugs and alcohol tap into the “reward” part of the brain, making people feel more relaxed and less stress. For people with a substance use disorder, their drug of choice is the only skill they know when it comes to relaxation. It’s challenging for some people to relax once they have gotten sober.

Relaxation Tools

Sometimes people in recovery realize right away what their lives have been missing. If you quit doing the things you loved to do when you started using alcohol and drugs, you’re not alone. Substance use is a dream-killer because it keeps people from their passions and using takes over your life.

What did you use to do that you enjoyed? Even if you used drugs and alcohol for decades, you probably had interests. Maybe you loved to write when you were in high school, or perhaps you used to go jogging. Both of these activities can be therapeutic, helping you work out stress and anxiety.

Finding activities that make you feel relaxed should be a priority throughout your life. After all, having hobbies is rewarding and helps give you purpose as well as relaxation. There are many ways people relax. For some people, it’s just going for a walk, while other people may meditate or try yoga.

A list of activities that you might find relaxing:

  • Going for a walk.
  • Meditating.
  • Yoga.
  • Mindfulness exercises.
  • Reading a book.
  • Sipping tea.
  • Taking a long shower.
  • Taking a long bath.
  • Aromatherapy.
  • Massage.
  • Journaling.
  • Breathing exercises.
  • Counting backward to 20.
  • Taking a 15-minute nap.
  • Creative Visualization.
  • Thinking of your “safe place.”
  • Acupuncture.
  • Acupressure.
  • Getting a manicure.
  • Getting a professional shave.
  • Looking through magazines.
  • Painting watercolors.
  • Paint-by-numbers.
  • Nature walks.
  • Hiking.
  • Surfing.
  • Cooking.
  • Petting the cat.
  • Playing with the dog.
  • Going to the library.
  • Squeezing a stress ball.
  • Stretching.
  • Watching Hulu or Netflix.
  • Listening to your favorite music.
  • Creating a collage.

If you aren’t sure what any of these items are, you can Google them. You may notice that a lot of these activities involve exercise, some form of meditation, and creation. Finding things that you enjoy in these categories may take some time, but you’ll learn to enjoy yourself, let go, and have fun while you’re relaxing.

Consider Sober Living

Living in a sober home can be a less stressful way to transition from treatment and start your recovery. Learn more about sober living and aftercare programs by calling us at 760-216-2077.





Read Full Bio
Mark Gladden
CEO / Founder
Mark Gladden is the founder of By The Sea Recovery, a sober living facility located in beautiful San Diego, California. After struggling with addiction, Mark finally found recovery and a new purpose in life, to help others who are battling the same battle he faced.
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