Throughout our lives, we have dealt with trauma, heartache, bad luck, and addiction, learning one key lesson along the way: resilience. This quality is described as a mental toughness. It’s the way we bounce back when life doesn’t go according to plan. Those of us who have gone through years of substance abuse and recovery have definitely learned how to power through life’s obstacles and become stronger as a result. Today, in the midst of the stressors of COVID-19 and political unrest, we’ve prepared a list of ways that you can become more resilient and manage stress in your recovery.
1. Develop Your Self-Confidence
If you don’t believe in yourself, you’re unlikely to feel empowered to change your situation. To get through hard times and take control of your destiny, spend some time building your self-confidence. That personal esteem will help you to cope with stress and recover from difficult events.
Put it into action: Try reminding yourself of your strengths and accomplishments on a regular basis (especially when you’re feeling down) to become more resilient.
2. What’s Your “Why”?
Your purpose is the thing that drives you. Whether you’re a loving parent, exceptional student, or involved community leader, your goals in life can help you to remember what’s most important. It’s easy to feel uninspired when upsetting news stories flood your feed, or when something terrible happens. In times like these, your values cut through the noise and remind you of your why: the reason you keep fighting day after day.
Put it into action: Write out all of your motivators on a piece of paper. Decorate it and put it somewhere noticeable: on your fridge or bathroom mirror. Reflect on it whenever you need a little extra resilient surge of motivation.
3. Find Your Support Network
If you’ve been in a treatment program, you already know what we’re going to say: nobody does it alone. Sharing in groups, developing a sober support network, and repairing our closest relationships are all key cornerstones of a life in recovery. By leaning on others and letting them inspire you in difficult times, your resolve will be stronger, and your risk of relapse will lower.
Put it into action: Make a contact list of all your loved ones. Who could you call or text about a family conflict? Who would support you through temptation or cravings? Sometimes, simply knowing who you can reach out to can be a much-needed link during a time of panic or depression.
4. Accept the Things You Cannot Change
In treatment, we learned the Serenity Prayer. It has taught us the valuable lesson of accepting the things we cannot change. Sometimes, the world’s problems are too big for us to control, and ignoring that fact only heightens anxiety and increases your risk of depression. This realization makes it hard to be resilient. To combat this, be prepared to identify the areas of your life that you can control; then, write off the ones you cannot. Trust your Higher Power to take care of everything else.
Put it into action: To make the best make use of this tip, learn new ways to cope with a crisis. Focus on the things you have power over and work on chipping away at those items, instead of the situation at large. For example, you may not be able to stop the global pandemic, but you can de-stress about it by managing your screen time, practicing self-care, following CDC guidelines, and looking into vaccination options in your area.
5. Stay Optimistic
Maintaining a positive attitude during tough times may feel impossible or pointless; however, it is perhaps the most important step of this entire process. A hopeful outlook is the key to becoming resilient. Try to keep your eyes on the prize and avoid spiraling into despair.
Put it into action: Remember that setbacks are temporary, and that you have the ability to overcome any challenges that cross your path.
Bonus Tips to Become More Resilient
In addition to these psychological, high-level recommendations, we’ve also got some quick and easy tips for becoming more resilient in your day-to-day life.
- Stay hydrated: Sipping water throughout the day is the best way to keep yourself thinking straight.
- Eat well: Snacking on fruit and fresh veggies is a welcome alternative to heavy meals full of processed foods. Remember, food is your fuel for the day!
- Breathe deeply: Breathing exercises are our favorite way to control anxiety and center ourselves during stressful times. Try a few of these today.
- Stretch out the tension: You may not realize it, but you’re probably hunched over at your desk or tensing up for hours at a time. Set small reminders throughout the day to stretch, walk around, and take a moment away from your work.
Lakeside-Milam is Here for You
No matter what stage of recovery you are in, the team at Lakeside-Milam is here to support you. Our programs span the full continuum of care, ensuring that people in active addiction, early recovery, and long-term sobriety can receive assistance as needed. To learn more about our unique approach to treatment that has saved over 100,000 lives, please contact us today.