After you finish treatment and return to your work and home life, you will need to address many aspects of your life. To ensure you can maintain your long-term recovery, you’ll need to learn how to function better without drugs or alcohol. This will include improving how you manage work-related stress.
Work-related stress can be particularly hard to manage. As a working professional, you will benefit from finding ways to manage this type of stress as you reenter your life after treatment.
As a working professional, you will likely experience a certain amount of stress at work. Work-related stress is defined as a harmful reaction to the pressure and demands placed upon a person at work. The stress you experience at work can result from a variety of factors including the following:
- Your working conditions, including noise, workload, or being understaffed
- The stressful nature of a job, including speaking with clients, high responsibility, or travel
- A lack of structure or regular schedule
- Management practices such as unrealistic expectations, poor communication, or unfair treatment
- A lack of work-life balance
Effects of Work Stress on Recovery
Work stress can greatly impact your recovery. While a physical stress reaction is a normal coping mechanism, chronic stress can impact your mental and physical health. By increasing your risk of anxiety and depression, you are also increasing the risk of substance relapse. However, you can learn how to manage your work stress in a healthy way that prevents relapse.
When you return to your life after treatment, you will encounter many triggers that can cause you to crave drugs or alcohol. You may have used drugs and alcohol to self-medicate for stress in the past. Therefore, when you experience work stress, having an alternative way to manage it can help you to stay sober.
Alternative Methods of Managing Work Stress
Stress management is a skill, and the good news is that there are many tools available to help you to manage your stress at work. Below we will discuss a few alternative options for managing your stress.
There are many ways to exercise. Regardless of what form of exercise you choose, physical activity can be a great way to both relieve stress and improve your stress-coping mechanisms. Exercise can, in itself, help you to relieve stress. For example, after you finish a stressful meeting, you can take a walk or go on a run to release your stress.
Exercise can also help you to be more resilient to stress. Having a regular exercise routine is a great way to improve your body’s response to stress. Researchers have found that those who exercise regularly are less impacted by stressful events and more able to rebound from them quickly.
Meditation and Breathwork
One of the most common ways to manage stress is to take a deep breath. Meditation and breathwork are well known to improve stress levels and help people manage stress better. Researchers have found that deep breathing helps you to decrease your blood pressure and reduce cortisol levels. Cortisol is the main stress hormone in the body, and decreasing it helps you stay calm and reduces your risk of disease.
Meditation is also a healthy way to manage stress. There are many types of meditation including mindfulness meditation, which has become a popular form of meditation as it fosters present-moment awareness. Regardless of the type of meditation you choose, regularly practicing meditation can help you to decrease stress hormones in your body.
As a working professional, having a social support network can be many different things. Your social network may include friends, family, and co-workers. A wide-ranging social network can provide you with the support you need when stress arises.
Researchers have found that increased social support improves your ability to be resilient to stress. Improved stress resistance can impact how you feel when confronted with work stress and how you can manage it.
Building New Habits
Dealing with work stress can be very challenging. Taking a deep breath or stepping outside can help to immediately decrease stress. However, the most effective way to manage stress is to build habits that help you to decrease your reaction to stress and help you to manage your overall level of stress.
Increasing exercise, improving your diet, and adding stress management tools into your life will help. However, this means building new habits in your life. The most effective way to create and maintain new habits is to do so one at a time. Choose one thing you want to work on and build it into your life until it becomes normal. Once you feel ready, you can repeat this for other habits that you want to add.
How you respond to stress is also a habit. By learning new ways to cope with stress, you can change how you interact with stress at work. For example, if you tend to bottle up your emotions, you could try writing your frustrations down, calling a friend, or going on a walk to help you process your feelings.
Returning to work after treatment can be challenging. You will be confronted by many things that can create stress. Be aware: this can increase your risk of relapse. Thus, it is important for you to learn how to manage your work-related stress. At Pacific Sands Recovery Center, we help working professionals learn new ways to function so that they can return to work and life without using drugs. We offer individualized treatment for working professionals who want to learn how to live a sober life. If you or your loved one is struggling and in need of treatment, our programs can help. Call us today at (714) 492-1119 to speak with a staff member.