It’s normal to go through a period of depression in early recovery. There are many reasons for it. The brain is recovering, the body is recovering and there is a lot of change going on. Some recovering addicts may even feel depressed that they’ve had to give up their drug or alcohol use because they believe it brought them happiness.
Whatever the case for feeling depressed may be, it’s important to work through the emotions rather than dwelling on them. Things will get better, and usually, depressed thoughts and feelings subside over time. Depression is also a treatable condition with therapies and medications available. Talk to your doctor about your options.
In the meantime, here are 6 ways to get through the day when feeling depressed.
1. Be Kind to Yourself
When someone is hurt with a broken arm or leg, they don’t think to themselves, “I shouldn’t have this broken bone.” Rather, they are pampered with extra TLC. Do the same for yourself. If you make yourself out to be a victim, it will only make you feel more helpless.
2. Take Small Steps
There’s no reason why you have to accomplish everything in one day. Recovering from addiction is a process – a lifelong one in fact. It’s OK to take baby steps. If it’s a nice, sunny day, sit outside and drink your coffee. Pick out a recipe and go grocery shopping for the ingredients. Take things slow and celebrate your small milestones.
3. Let in Natural Light
When light enters the eye, it lights up the brain. Light activates the hypothalamus, which regulates mood, appetite and sleep. Get outdoors if you can, whether it’s for a walk, a drive or to read a book on the front porch. Open the curtains or windows in the home, and sit by the window when you’re indoors watching TV or talking on the phone.
4. Listen to “Happy” Sounds
Listening to music, sounds or other people’s voices activates the brain’s reward system and releases dopamine. When you’re feeling down, put on your favorite music or listen to a book on tape. It can even help to listen to “life-affirming” sounds such as children outside playing or cars driving by.
5. Take a Warm Shower
When you take a shower, it stimulates your sense of touch and smell. The warm, soapy water and scents from the bath soap can be enough to change your mood. If that doesn’t work, try a mug filled with warm tea or cocoa, or lie on a soft couch with a candle or essential oils.
6. Eat Healthy Foods
It’s important to eat healthy snacks and meals in early recovery. Your body needs the nutrients, and keeping the body full may reduce cravings. Stick to high-protein foods like nuts and leafy greens because they repair the body and can boost serotonin synthesis.
Recovery can start today. Call The River Source to begin your life-changing journey.
Photo Credit: FreeImages.com/AnnaB.