Best Strategies to Manage Stress During Addiction Recovery

The knowledge of strategies to manage stress during addiction recovery is important. Stress is an emotion everyone experiences. It’s the body’s “fight or flight” reaction to a specific action or situation. However, we can’t solve most of the problems we face today by fighting or fleeing. 

Crucially, if allowed to grow unchecked, stress can make you stumble on the road to recovery. But there’s hope yet. There are several effective strategies to help manage stress during addiction recovery.

In fact, almost 30% of adults aged 18 to 65 report feeling constantly stressed. This isn’t uncommon in the fast-paced, information-based world we live in today. However, there have been links between stress and relapse. When we’re facing a lot of pressure, it’s normal to fall back on bad habits. 

Over the course of this blog, we will discuss helpful tips for managing stress during the process of addiction treatment. With these tips, you can navigate the process of addiction treatment without the additional burden that stress brings. 

Stress in Addiction Recovery: What are the Symptoms?

If you’re going to live sober, you’re going to have to learn a few strategies to manage stress during addiction recovery. The art of war says no thy enemy. In the spirit of that, let’s identify a few symptoms of stress 

  • Insomnia
  • Low energy
  • Anxiety
  • Headaches 
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Becoming easily agitated, having mood swings
  • Nausea
  • Inability to concentrate

Here’s How to Manage Stress During Addiction Recovery

Stress can come from many sources; family, relationships, work, school, etc. Learning how to manage stress and move on happily without resorting to alcohol and drugs is essential when pursuing long-term sobriety. 

To help you achieve that, here are nine strategies to manage stress during addiction recovery.

Take Breaks

No matter where you work, or how important your job is, you must remember to take breaks. Going on long benders where you don’t even have the time to pant, talk less of rest, can be severely detrimental to your mental state.

Take the time out to breathe and relax your body for several minutes every day. This is a conscious rest, and it’s necessary because your body needs time every day to adapt to the stress you place on it. 

Otherwise, doing more work will be like adding one more piece of baggage to an already full trolley. Remember, no one knows which straw is going to break the camel’s back and send you back to your addiction.

Be Mindful

Be Mindful
As someone on the road to recovery, this strategy may be something that your addiction treatment experts teach during addiction recovery. Being mindful, in this sense, is staying aware of your thoughts. Often, when we’re stressed, we tend to think of strange and unpleasant thoughts.

This is doubly true for people recovering from addiction. Self-critique is usually a self-inflicted stressor. You judge and punish yourself for your cravings, thoughts, and other supposed wrongs. This is unnecessary and even counterproductive. 

So, you have to be mindful to combat this mental stressor. Catch the thoughts that seem wayward, admit to them without judging yourself or feelings. 

Also, remind yourself of the positives in your life instead of focusing on the negatives. When that inner voice of criticism comes, and you’re mindful, acknowledge it. Encourage yourself and move on without dwelling on it.

Related article: Can Exercise Help in Drug Addiction Recovery?


Yes, exercise is one of our strategies to manage stress during addiction recovery. Cliché, yes, but factual. Research from McMaster University suggests that less than 40% of Canadians exercise for stress relief. Also, several studies show that exercise can help with transitional phases during recovery from addiction.

Exercise also fosters a general state of well being, better sleep, improved cognitive function, boost energy, and self-esteem. Just think about it. Exercise gives you a good feeling and does wonders for your mental and physical health. It’s great for your overall addiction recovery. 

Take Care of Your Body

When we face overwhelming situations, our minds begin to falter, but the body soon follows. Preoccupation with the problem at hand may lead to neglecting your body’s needs. Many people stop eating and sleeping properly during periods of intense stress. 

While it doesn’t seem like self-care is one of the strategies to manage stress during addiction recovery, it’s crucial to your physical and mental health. Your body needs the right amount of nutrients and sleep to function correctly. When it does not, it can lead to severe consequences, which can be debilitating. 


Venting is hugely cathartic. Sometimes, you just need to let it all out. There are several ways to do this. You can call a close friend or family member, someone who’ll listen to you and simply talk it out. 

Speaking about your problems with someone you trust can make them seem smaller and less impossible. You may even gain a new perspective and move past the issue faster.

However, not everyone feels comfortable venting their spleen out on others, and some don’t have trustworthy people to cry to. But, venting can be done in other ways. For example, you can choose a hobby. Or you can get creative and turn your frustrations into something beautiful. If you can’t and need someone to talk to, you should look up an addiction treatment centre in Vancouver.

Change of Scenery

Another one of our strategies to manage stress during addiction recovery is simply getting away from it all. Sometimes, when the problem seems to be without end, you can choose to take a time-out. 

However, you choose to do this is up to you. You can choose to plan a weekend getaway. You can decide to go for a joyride and feel the breeze. Or you can simply take a day off, switch off your phone and binge on Netflix. 

We’re not saying you should run away from your issues. But changing your surroundings can help you get a newer perspective, relax your mind and set you firmly on the path to sobriety.

Prioritize Your Goals

Prioritize Your Goals
Getting sober grants you a new lease on life. For most people, they want to catch up on several things they missed out on while struggling with addiction. Does this sound like you? If it does, then you’re dancing on a knife’s edge. 

While it seems like doing several things at once is a quick way to get several things done, for most people, it just means you may be spreading yourself too thin. This is especially true for former addicts. Maintaining your sobriety should be your most important goal right now, so you have to reduce stress and be realistic with your goals.

Identify Your Stressors and Plan Ahead

What are the things that tend to stress you out? Coming in late to work, rushed deadlines, family interference, etc. Identifying these events and making plans to counter them is a great way to manage stress in recovery. In this way, you can solve the problem before it even becomes one.


Meditation can sound like something that elites do for fun, but it can be an excellent coping mechanism as well. To simplify, it’s just breathing deeply to achieve calm. 

However, it can be done anywhere and helps you focus on your inner self and eliminate the triggers that stressors may provide.

Yoga is a more movement-focused meditation that can help as a form of exercise for both body and mind. You can easily take up yoga and meditation. With the help of an addiction treatment expert, you can learn the yoga positions necessary to help manage stress during addiction recovery.


These are our strategies to manage stress during addiction recovery. But if you still can’t de-stress and relax, then you may need to seek professional help. 

Here at Inspire Change Drug Rehab in Vancouver, we can help you with all forms of addiction recovery services, including forming a stress management plan for you. Check out our addiction rehab services for men in Vancouver.

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