Boredom in addiction recovery is a common experience shared by many people. Even after completing addiction treatment, people who struggle with drug addiction commonly go through an array of emotions and have a period of boredom, which was significantly amplified in the recent COVID-19 lockdown.
There are several reasons boredom is more common when you’re in early recovery. You may find that you unexpectedly have a ton of additional time to burn, and you don’t know how to manage it. Most people don’t realize how much time drugs and alcohol can devour. You may also be trying to avoid friends with addictive behaviors, so your social circle may be temporarily diminished.
How do I Manage Boredom in Addiction Recovery?
Boredom in addiction recovery can be dangerous because it is stressful, and when you feel bored, your mind may consider using drugs or alcohol to avoid the feeling. Thus, it is essential to learn how to deal with boredom in a healthy way, to maintain mental health, and prevent relapses. With the right motivation, you can even turn your boredom into something productive.
Here are the top 10 tips to effectively manage your free time:
Make a To-Do List of Everyday Tasks
One of the most effective ways to manage boredom is by making a to-do list of your everyday tasks. By putting pen to paper, you will categorize your tasks and ponder over things that need to be done. By creating an organized to-do list, you can prioritize the things you need to do, keep track of what needs to be finished, and feel productive and prepared in all walks of your life.
Hobbies When You’re Feeling Bored
Think about trying a hobby that you wanted to do for a while but never had the time, for example:
You can find many instruction manuals on the internet and get started with a fun, educational, and rewarding hobby. You might even want to go to your local library and check out some new books.
Practice Mindfulness Meditation
Meditation is one of the best behavioral therapies to relieve boredom in addiction recovery and manage stress. Mindfulness meditation is a long term mental practice that teaches you to slow down racing thoughts, let go of negativity, and calm both your mind and your body. At first, you might feel agitated by your inability to concentrate, but you can achieve an impressive level of concentration and patience with practice.
Write in a Journal
One way to deal with any overwhelming emotion is to find a healthy way to express yourself. Writing about your feelings, emotions, and experiences can be a rewarding pastime. Taking out time every day to document your recovery process each day will give you something to look forward to, be conscious of the present moment, and pass the free time in a meaningful way.
Take a Walk Around the Block
Sometimes it helps to change the environment — staring at the same four walls can increase boredom for anyone. Even if you are sulking and struggling to get up, it is always a good idea to force yourself out of bed and take a walk around the block. This will refresh your mind and release dopamine that will uplift your mood.
Sign Up for Online Classes
Often, people quit their education as they indulge in addiction, so one way to continue to beat addiction is to get yourself enrolled in college or sign up for an online class. This will enable you to become a more educated person and interact with others in a well-informed manner.
Volunteer in the Community
You can better your community and your life by volunteering for the causes you care about. Volunteering can help you make friends, acquire new skills, advance your career, and even feel happier and healthier. This will fill you with a sense of satisfaction and elevate your mood and would help you manage boredom in addiction recovery.
When you’re caring for your body, you’ll think and feel better too. You can stay physically, mentally, and emotionally well by practicing simple self-care rituals. Give yourself a manicure or pedicure, take a long shower, get a new haircut, plan a movie night with your friends, do anything and everything that makes you happy, except indulging in substances.
Take Out Time to Meet With Your Friends and Family
Family and friends help us live our values of connection, loyalty, and responsibility. It is essential to schedule some time from your daily routine to meet your family and friends, have meaningful conversations, and enjoy the company of each other.
Many treatment facilities teach the philosophy that you will always be “in recovery” and never fully overcome addiction. Once you’ve completed an effective treatment and are no longer actively using drugs you begin your maintenance or aftercare phase. This phase consists of a number of other treatment options that focus on treating your addiction as if it’s a long term mental illness. Some types of treatment for aftercare might be engaging in group therapy at one of your local addiction centers, following up with support groups, acting as a mentor to someone who is not as far along in their recovery process, etc.
At Pacific Sands Recovery Center, we understand that recovery from addiction isn’t just about quitting drugs and alcohol; it’s about living a happier and meaningful life. Give us a call at 949-426-7962 to learn more about how we can help you beat addiction, manage stressful emotions and truly enjoy your life.