Steps YOU Can Take to Manage Anxiety and Depression in Recovery

April 22, 2020

Steps YOU Can Take to Manage Anxiety and Depression in Recovery

Addiction is a unique disease in that it can be triggered in part by anxiety and depression, but it can also subsequently cause anxiety and depression during both active addiction and recovery. At Fellowship Hall we understand that when life beyond active addiction begins, those in recovery have to establish a true mental and emotional baseline in sobriety. Tal Fish, licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor, and one of Fellowship Hall’s Extended Treatment Counselors says, “Patience is very important in the beginning. It won’t get better right away because the brain needs time to heal from the effects of active addiction. It may take some time for moods to improve.” 

However, there are steps that you can take each day to manage these mental health disorders and foster successful, long-term recovery. 

  • Understand that you are not alone in your struggles. 

The disease feeds on feelings of isolation and loneliness. Tal highlights the importance of understanding that what you’re going through is valid: “Co-occurring disorders (when someone experiences a mental illness and a substance use disorder at the same time) are common with people with substance use disorders. Many people cope with both anxiety and depression in recovery. The first and most important thing I want people in recovery to know is that they’re not alone, again, this is not uncommon. A lot of people suffering from substance use disorders self-medicate to cope with these symptoms caused by underlying mental health disorders.” 

  • Utilize your support network.

A crucial part of recovery is utilizing your support network. Allow yourself to open up in meetings and to your sponsor. Don’t be ashamed of your emotions. What you feel is valid and worth talking about with others. Chances are, someone else has experienced similar feelings during their own recovery. “There’s no shame in struggling with anxiety and depression. It is important to talk about how you feel and what you’re experiencing during recovery. Don’t be afraid to be honest about it and seek proper support,” Tal said. “Not addressing or tending to these emotions can be a relapse risk if they go un-managed.” Now, more than ever before, those in recovery have access to round-the-clock care and support via digital meeting platforms. Don’t forget to take a look at the resources on our website here: https://www.fellowshiphall.com/alumni-online-resources.php

  • 360 Wellness

Anxiety and depression can be all-consuming. If you’ve experienced these emotions, you know that they impact us physically just as much as they do mentally. Simple tasks can become difficult and it’s easy to slip into a pattern of poor habits when struggling with these emotions. You can combat this by setting small, achievable positive goals. These goals don’t have to be massive overhauls or major life changing events–these wellness goals can be as simple as taking a walk three times a week, attending a meeting each afternoon, or calling a good friend. Just reflect on what you can do today to feel your best. Strive after something you can achieve, so that you can enjoy the rewarding feeling of completing a goal and keeping a promise to yourself. 

  • Don’t underestimate the power of a little “TLC”

That’s right TLC- tender, loving, (self) care! We know that if our body feels good, we most definitely feel much better. Some simple ways to practice self-care in recovery are:

  • Nourish your body with fresh, healthy foods.
  • Stay hydrated. 
  • Staying active (even just 30 minutes of light movement a day can make a massive difference!)
  • Get a good night’s sleep. Sleep is a huge factor for mental well-being. 
  • Engage in ANY spiritual activity that fulfills and centers you. 
  • Review the 12-steps.
  • Do things you enjoy. Connect with your passions, paint, sing, read, do yoga.

While self-care isn’t the ultimate cure for mental health disorders, it can be used as an effective and positive coping strategy. Discovering ways that make each day manageable and as enjoyable as possible are important for long-term recovery. 

At Fellowship Hall, we’re working to constantly provide support and care both on-campus and digitally those in recovery. For more information, resources, and encouragement, ‘like’ the Fellowship Hall Facebook page and follow us on Instagram at @FellowshipHallNC.

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