Getting to the recovery stage can be freeing, but starting your sobriety journey doesn’t mean that everything is a-OK upstairs. Before treatment, there are still fears and doubts that can affect your recovery. Rebuilding your life after treatment can be intimidating, and you might feel afraid of your future and not meeting your goals and benchmarks. You might also be afraid of relapse and falling into old habits. If left unchecked, anxiety can easily get out of control, leaving you in a very vulnerable position.
That’s why it’s important to learn how to cope with anxious feelings and remain level-headed.
Symptoms of Anxiety
While feeling nervous once in a while is normal, heck, it’s part of life; anxiety can become a serious issue when you find yourself worried about various aspects of your life. You know, the trivial stuff. From there, anxiety takes over, negatively impacting many parts of your life, from job performance to relationships. Anxiety can also impact your ability to stay sober, especially if you’ve used substances to quell anxious symptoms in the past. Symptoms of anxiety can include:
- Being irritable
- Being easily fatigued
- Having difficulty concentrating
- Mind going blank
- Muscle tension
- Feeling restless, wound up, or on edge
- Difficulty controlling feelings of worry
- Having difficulty sleeping, getting enough sleep, or staying asleep
How to Cope When You’re Worried
There are plenty of healthy ways to cope with anxiety while in recovery. Focusing on these things can help you feel clear-minded and in control. If you’re not used to focusing on these things, then take on one or two at a time and build up a habit. Anxiety is a little jerk that won’t go away overnight, but taking care of yourself will alleviate anxiety symptoms.
Mindfulness Exercises and Meditation
Grounding exercises can help greatly alleviate symptoms of anxiety. Anxious feelings can come from things that happened before or could happen in the future. Mindfulness exercises and meditation can help you focus on the present, even if it’s just for five minutes out of your day. Start your morning with a guided meditation that can set the tone for the rest of your day in a way that’s affirmative and empowering.
Get Enough Sleep
Sleep is important for your mental health because resting allows your body time to heal and your brain time to process information. Unfortunately, anxiety can disrupt sleep like a child wanting to crawl into bed after a bad dream. Ways to combat poor sleep include having a consistent bedtime, a bedtime routine, turning off electronics an hour before bed, and listening to a noise machine. Yes, the sound of rain on a window can drown your anxiety.
Moving your body every day can decrease symptoms of anxiety. When you move, your body releases the tension that contributes to stress and anxiety. Endorphins released during exercise can also alleviate anxiety symptoms because of the effect of the feel-good chemicals.
Caffeine is a stimulant and a popular substance; it’s also a real pain in the butt for most of us to cut back on. However, caffeine can contribute to higher stress levels. So, we hate to break it to you but limit the amount of caffeine you consume, and it will help reduce the anxiety vibrating throughout your body.
Sometimes it’s okay to think through your problems, but if you find yourself stuck in a loop of negative thoughts or find yourself focusing only on negative trains of thoughts, you might be ruminating. While dealing with anxious symptoms, you might find yourself focusing on the “what if” scenarios or focusing on every detail of a past event, trying to figure out where you went wrong. Focusing on these negative thoughts without any constructive outcome doesn’t solve the problem; it empowers that little jerk anxiety. Instead, if you find yourself stuck on a particular train of thought that isn’t going anywhere, and is only causing stress, try to release that thought and focus on something else.
Reach Out For Support
If you feel your anxiety is getting out of control, don’t hesitate to reach out for support. The people in your life are here to help. Talk to your therapist if your feelings of anxiety have gotten worse. They might be able to find the source of your anxiety and help you through it. Surround yourself with friends and family who support you and understand what you are most worried about. Having people on your side can alleviate the worst of anxiety and help you feel less alone.
Anxiety can be difficult to manage on its own, but it can be that much harder in recovery. You might have attained a treatment toolbox during treatment that gave you ways to cope when things become too difficult. Refer to the tips above or reach out to a therapist or a loved one who can help to talk you down and provide perspective on a situation.
It’s important to tackle anxiety before it gets out of hand and turn to healthy coping mechanisms that don’t include substance use. Anxiety is something that does stick around despite treatment or recovery. It can get worse or better over time, but what can improve is your ability to manage it. What’s important is recognizing your symptoms as they are and addressing them.
If you would like to learn more ways to cope with anxiety in recovery, call Villa Oasis today at (323) 739-8673.