Substance-Free Ways to Cope With Anxiety and Depression

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If you’ve been diagnosed with anxiety or depression–or maybe you’re just feeling stressed and a little down–there are things you can do to supplement any therapy or prescription medicine you might be taking. It’s often as simple as continuing your inpatient rehab activities or you finding new ways to handle stress and depression. Here are some ideas to keep you on track.

Get Your Exercise

This first one shouldn’t be a surprise because you’ve likely heard this before–exercise helps you handle stress and makes you feel good about yourself after you’ve done it, even if you may have dreaded it before you started. It’s a great way to blow off some steam and also helps if you have some anger management issues. An added bonus is you’re making your body healthy along with your mind. Even if it’s something as simple as walking you can stay active. If you are chair-bound, doing some simple exercises while seated builds strength and reduces stress as well. Exercise not only gets your circulation going but it relaxes the mind and lifts your mood.

Practice Self-Care

This can be especially important if you’re used to taking care of others. Maybe you’re stuck at home all day and your partner can distract the kids with an activity for a while while you step into a luxurious bubble bath. Get out the candles, add some fancy bath oil, put on some soft music, and just tune out for a while. You can also do this if you live alone.

You can indulge in activities like a makeover day where you get a new haircut or color, try on some new shades of makeup, and paint your nails. Or maybe you’ve been wanting to work on restoring that old car in the garage but just haven’t had the time. Making the time for something you enjoy is a form of self-care. Consider more relaxing activities such as going for a quiet drive along a scenic road with the windows down or the sunroof open to rejuvenate you.

Getting Back to Nature

Driving is one way to maintain your social distancing during the time of COVID-19, but going for a hike on a trail can allow you to pull down your mask and get some fresh air when you aren’t near other hikers. Particularly if you live in the city, getting away from all that noise can be calming, but nature sounds are especially soothing. Look at all the apps that play nature sounds to lull you to sleep. Feeling sunlight, hearing the wind blowing through the trees, and smelling the fresh earth (or snow) can help you relax and can lift a little of the darkness in your mind.

Pack along a thermos full of coffee, tea, or soup and some fresh fruit or vegetables and make a day of it. If you go on a weekday you’ll likely find very few people in the park, particularly in the winter. If you can’t get out to the country, you can always use one of those nature sounds apps or try a fireplace app in the winter. Take a break from the bubble of your TV.

Laughter Is the Best Medicine

It may be cliché, but it’s true. Put on your favorite comedy movie or line up several standup comedian specials. Visit a website with funny pet pictures. Humor is everywhere and will lift your mood. It doesn’t matter what other people think–you may laugh every time you watch reruns of “Napoleon Dynamite” or love the standup comedy of Eddie Izzard–just watch whatever tickles your funny bone. Invite your friends over to share the laughter and indulge in some snacks. You may even want to declare it a news-free day so nothing drags you down.

Become a Bookworm

If you are spending the day alone, give yourself the time to read a good book. If you don’t like to read there are many audio versions you can also listen to and enjoy. Many people love to read and their shelves are lined with books, but they don’t make the time. Make the time. Spend a whole day lounging outside in the shade or cuddling up by the fire with a cup of tea or hot chocolate and delve into that book you’ve been putting off reading. Take some time to disconnect social media and put your phone on mute–it’s your day to treat yourself.

Get in Touch With Your Inner Artist

Many rehabilitation programs now offer art therapy and you may discover a hobby you love. You may not be the next Picasso but that doesn’t matter. All that matters is that you enjoy it. You can use art to explore your feelings and translate them into colors and shapes. Maybe you can even find a local coffee shop that will display your artwork. This can boost your self-esteem in addition to the therapeutic effects of painting or drawing. You may even discover you have a talent.

Many activities can support us in coping with mental issues such as anxiety and depression, and these activities not only help with those negative feelings but can also help with a history of substance abuse problems. When you reduce your stress levels, you reduce the triggers that can cause a relapse. You may even discover a new hobby that you love or feel a sense of nostalgia reconnecting with an activity from the past. These new activities can replace your old habits where you may have grabbed a bottle, pill, or syringe to feel better. The more of these you can incorporate into your lifestyle, the more tools you have to stay sober. Here at Everlast Recovery Center, we understand that detoxification isn’t the end of your journey to sobriety, but only the beginning. Located in Riverside, California, we help teach you how to manage feelings of anxiety and depression and the techniques to prevent relapse. Sobriety is a lifelong journey and we’re here to support you. Call us today at 866-DETOX-25

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