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Healthy Tips to Cope with Stress

Medically Reviewed by: Charley Allen

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It is critical to develop healthy coping mechanisms to deal with stress, especially in recovery. For so long you were probably depending on drugs or alcohol to relieve your stress and provide you with some kind of escape. This makes it imperative that you learn new strategies to manage stress and cope with life’s ups and downs. Moreover, in sobriety, stress can be a trigger for relapse. This blog will suggest some tips and techniques that can help you cope with stress in recovery.

Tips to Cope with Stress in Sobriety

Practice mindfulness and gratitude

Mindfulness is a great way to start your day off on the right foot. Setting aside some time in the morning to reflect and set goals for your day can help you slow down and appreciate the simple things in life. Scheduling time to center yourself can help relieve stress as well as make life feel more manageable.

Create structure

Adding routine and structure in your life is integral in sobriety. Trying your best to fill your day with productive activities can help eliminate downtime, when cravings may arise. Making time for work, socialization, exercise, and mindfulness can help you avoid temptation while also giving you a sense of control and purpose. Lack of structure can cause unnecessary stress and make you feel that your life is boring or unmanageable. Making the effort to set a daily schedule and routine can help minimize this stress. 

Talk it out

Oftentimes problems kept inside fester and become a greater source of stress than they have to be. Letting your feelings out and expressing your emotions to someone you trust can help put things in perspective. Talking things out with a friend, family member, or therapist can help you not only find a solution but can also help discover the root cause of your stress. Reminding yourself that you are not alone in your recovery journey is important in relieving stress.

Get some exercise

Exercise can be a healthy way to relieve stress. Exercising daily helps reduce stress, improve your mood, and enhance your overall physical and mental wellbeing. Studies have also shown that exercise may even help prevent relapse. Scheduling time in your day to be active in some way can significantly help you cope with your stress while also offering many other health benefits.

Provide your body with nutritious meals

Maintaining a healthy, well-rounded diet is essential in recovery. It can be easy to turn to junk food to cope, however, this can elevate your stress levels in the long run. Trying your best to eat a balanced and nutritious diet can help boost your energy and mood, help you get better sleep, and can actually reduce your chance of relapse. Spending that extra bit of time to ensure you’re fueling your body properly can help you reduce feelings of stress.


Support from loved ones and members of the recovery community can help you better cope with the stress associated with sobriety. Studies have shown that spending time with friends and family releases oxytocin, the body’s stress reliever. This means that by making time to hang out with friends and family, you are also relieving feelings of anxiety and stress. Having strong and supportive relationships can help you both maintain your sobriety and reduce your stress.

Practice positive self-talk

It can be easy to fall into a pattern of negative self-talk. Negative self-talk can cause you to feel stressed as you are constantly expecting the worst from yourself. Studies have shown that positive self-talk is essential in achieving a feeling of calmness. Acknowledging that you are not perfect but still showing yourself compassion and love is integral in coping with stress and remaining sober.

Learning to Cope with Stress at Design for Recovery

If you are having trouble managing your stress in recovery, Design for Recovery can help you find ways to cope. Design for Recovery offers a structured, safe environment to become more secure in your sobriety. Residents work hard daily to develop new skills, values, and coping mechanisms for approaching life in early recovery. At Design for Recovery, we believe that addiction recovery involves more than just physically abstaining from substances — it involves building a new way of life. With the help of Design for Recovery’s sober living services, you can begin to develop the skills necessary to cope with stress and achieve long-term sobriety.


Edited by: David Beasley

David Beasley - Design for Recovery

David Beasley is a certified RADT (Registered Alcohol/Drug Technician). David, moved to California from North Carolina after many failed attempts to get sober.

Medically Reviewed by: Charley Allen

Charley earned his Masters of Clinical Psychology from Antioch University, Los Angeles, and is a California Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT).He teaches mindfulness to both adults and children in group setting such as schools, corporate workplaces, and medical treatment facilities.

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