Many people in recovery find that as they get more clean and sober time under their belt, their lives become fuller. Self-care can sometimes fall by the wayside. You may be able to take a better job or spend more time doing the things you love.
With these advantages come a few drawbacks – although the tradeoff is usually worth it. A busier schedule means you’ll juggle more tasks than before, and you’re still learning to do it while you’re sober. Often you’ll start to experience more stress as well. And while you may not have the desire to drink or use drugs, sometimes having to much stress can make you feel like screaming, staying in bed, or shirking duties. Self-care can be essential to your sanity during stressful times.
Self-Care Tactics for Working People
Many people feel stress at work; in fact, it’s considered to be a normal part of the workday. But as a recovering person, stress effects you more strongly sometimes. Addiction can whisper all kinds of negative thoughts and feelings to you in your head. Getting “out” of your head is important, and self-care can be part of the equation.
- Take a break and go for a walk. Whether it’s up or down the stairs or down the block to the coffee shop, you’ll get fresh air and get your endorphins going to help calm down your body’s reaction to stress.
- Take mental health days. Some companies even offer these. It’s not the same as calling out sick – although you can usually take a sick day to be reimbursed. Many employers recognize the need for mental health. If you’re stressed, go to extra 12-step meetings or do something else that relaxes you.
- Take a half-day. If you can’t have a whole day off from work, arrange to leave early when you can. Sometimes you just need some extra rest to keep yourself optimum for work.
- Reward yourself for a job well done. Let’s face it, at work, there aren’t that many rewards aside from getting paid for what you’re doing. But if you’re working hard and finish a project early, you deserve a special night out at the movies or doing something else you love.
- Work at home if you’re productive there. Not everyone has the discipline to work from home, so make sure to accurately assess your work when you’re there.
Mental health is just as important as physical health. Nurture your mind, body and spirit whenever you can and you’ll find life is more serene and balanced for you. Recovery is a journey and there are many tools to help you strengthen yourself along the way. Enjoy your life and ask for help when needed!
The San Diego Society of Addiction Professionals is a coalition of working professionals who work with community leaders, professionals, and County members to enhance opportunities for education, interdisciplinary problem solving, and access to resources. All of the work is to further help people recover from addiction disorders and live a fulfilling life in recovery. If you’re interested in joining, contact us at 760.402.5682.