Woman Practicing Yoga-How To Balance Work & Addiction Recovery

Everyone experiences work stress from time to time. When you’re recovering from addiction, however, the stress might seem never-ending. If you struggle to balance your job with the ups and downs of recovery, follow these five tips.

1. Practice Self-Care

To succeed in recovery, you must take care of yourself. First, make sure you get plenty of sleep. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that adults get at least seven hours of sleep per night. If you have trouble falling or staying asleep, try:

  • keeping your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool
  • removing electronic devices from your bedroom
  • avoiding caffeine before bedtime
  • going to bed and getting up at the same time every day, including on weekends

If you still struggle to sleep, talk to your healthcare provider. A lack of sleep can cause issues such as irritability, trouble concentrating, and depression. These problems make it difficult to get through the workday. They also threaten your recovery.

Regular Exercise

Along with good sleep, you need regular exercise. Even a simple activity like a 30-minute walk can strengthen your mental health, boost your work performance, and reduce your risk of relapse.

You should also drink lots of water and eat plenty of vegetables, fruits, and other nutritious foods.

Other Habits

Other helpful self-care habits include:

  • meditating
  • journaling
  • reading
  • taking baths
  • spending time with supportive family and friends
  • picking up a creative hobby, such as drawing, writing, or playing an instrument

2. Set Realistic Goals

The excitement of early recovery leads some people to set unrealistic expectations for themselves. Unfortunately, pushing yourself too hard typically leads to relapse.

That’s why it’s important to set small, realistic goals instead. As you progress in your recovery, you can slowly increase those goals.

Check in with yourself multiple times during the workday. If you start to feel overwhelmed, take some deep breaths. Then, repeat some positive affirmations, such as “I can do this” and “I am recovering one day at a time.”

While it may feel silly, this type of self-compassion will help you achieve your work and recovery goals.

At the end of each work week, consider which days brought the most success and which days brought the most struggle. You might find that you pushed yourself too hard on the more difficult days. This self-reflection can motivate you to go easier on yourself the following week.

3. Strengthen Your Time Management Skills

Most addiction recovery plans include therapy appointments, support group meetings, and other ongoing commitments. You might have trouble balancing these commitments with work. That’s why time management is essential to your recovery.

Some of the most effective time management strategies include:

  • creating daily to-do lists, and organizing the tasks from most important to least important
  • focusing on one task at a time
  • completing your most challenging tasks earlier in the day when you have more energy
  • dividing large projects into smaller, more manageable tasks
  • blocking social media and other distractions from your work computer
  • asking for help when you need it
  • saying no when you need to
  • making time to relax and recharge

You may also want to show up early for work. This can help you settle into your workday without feeling stressed or rushed.

4. Understand Your Triggers

Triggers are people, places, or other things that cause drug cravings. Everyone has unique triggers, so it’s important to identify yours. Upon starting your recovery journey, you might notice that your work environment contains a lot of triggers.

In some cases, you can manage these triggers with coping skills, such as:

  • breathing deeply
  • meditating
  • listing all the reasons you became sober in the first place
  • reaching out to a loved one, therapist, or support group member
  • going for a short walk

Other times, you may find that your workplace is simply too triggering for you to work there safely. In this case, you should look for another job. While this idea might cause discomfort, you must prioritize your health and recovery.

5. Seek Support

Working while in recovery takes a significant amount of strength. Luckily, you don’t have to struggle alone.

When you feel overwhelmed, reach out to your support system.

This system should include various types of people, including family members, friends, co-workers, therapists, and support group members. These individuals can encourage you and help you solve problems related to work or recovery.

You should also check if your workplace has an employee assistance (EAP). These employer-sponsored programs offer free, confidential services to employees facing addiction or other personal issues. These services usually include:

  • assessments
  • short-term counseling
  • referrals to addiction treatment programs
  • follow-up services

If you or someone you love struggles with drugs, please reach out to Northeast Addictions Treatment Center. Our substance abuse treatment programs offer outpatient rehab services, behavioral therapy, and other evidence-based services to help you or your loved one thrive.

Written by
Northeast Addition Editorial Team

Published on

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This page does not provide medical advice.