Preventing Boredom and Relapse
Staying sober isn’t easy, but one of the main things that can ruin sobriety is boredom. Idle time can lead to poor choices being made. As much as we all love having some downtime, there is such a thing as too much downtime.
Many of us work and enjoy a day or two off. The question that arises is, how do you spend that time productively, so you aren’t tempted? Addicts can feel as if they haven’t accomplished anything, but there are things you can do to feel productive and get your mind off any temptation. There’s a wide variety of things to do to prevent yourself from being completely bored out of your mind.
One thing you can do is find a hobby you love or have always wanted to try. This can be knitting, reading or one of a hundred other hobbies which do not involve drugs or alcohol. Trying something new is also exciting and can consume time each day. Another hobby is gardening. Gardening is fun, and you spend time outside in the sun, which can improve your sleep, reduce stress, and strengthen your immune system.
Another fun hobby is learning a new language. It may even spark you to want to go to a place you’ve already wanted to visit. You can spend time learning, improving your knowledge, and you can feel a sense of accomplishment from just learning something new.
In my experience, exercise and working out is a great way to improve your mood. If you are feeling down on yourself, exercise can bring you out of it. You’re working on improving yourself and are getting stronger, and it helps you mentally. There are so many types of exercise. There’s weightlifting, running, yoga, or playing any number of sports. Getting out for thirty minutes can help you get out of your funk and give you the little boost you need. Exercise also helps you sleep better at night because your body will be tired, giving you the chance to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Another way to exercise is picking up an old sport or trying a new one. There are many places that hold yoga classes or exercise classes that can help your mind and your body. When you exercise, it gives you endorphins. Endorphins can help reduce pain felt in the body and cause you to feel less anxious and depressed. So many of us have turned to drugs and alcohol to escape the depression and anxiety we feel. So exercise is a great way to kill time and feel productive.
A Furry Companion
Another thing you could do is, if you don’t have a pet, you could adopt one. Animals can help bring you out of your shell and give you some responsibility. Taking your dog on a walk can bring both you and your dog excitement and joy. Seeing them so happy to be out and about will make you happy in return. It also gets both you and your dog exercise. Having an animal can decrease your cortisol levels, which is a stress-related hormone. They can also boost your mood and feelings of social support.
In my experience, I’ve grown up always having three dogs running around my house. Coming home to someone so excited to see you, no matter what happened, no matter what anyone said, or I said to someone, seeing them so excited and prancing around was the highlight of my day. Knowing they never judged me or saw me any differently was the best feeling in the world. One of my dogs could sense when I was upset and would always try to cheer me up. She would cuddle up next to me and would follow me around as if she was my shadow. Having a pet is a big responsibility, but it can also be one of the most rewarding experiences. I couldn’t imagine my life without my dogs.
Having an animal can boost your mood and give you a sense of accomplishment for the day. Even if it’s something simple, like walking them or playing with them, it’s still something. You are taking care of them, and every day they will show you how grateful they are and how much they love you.
Clean Space Means a Clean Mind
Another way to keep yourself from being bored is to clean your house. Even if it seems everything is in order, it doesn’t hurt to give it some extra tender love and care. You could clean an area you know you don’t spend as much time on or even try to declutter your house. Many of us have too much stuff, and there are things we could get rid of. You can gather up old clothes, shoes, or unwanted items and donate them to your local Salvation Army or Goodwill. It would declutter your house, and you’d be giving back to those who could need it or use it. Also, cleaning can lower stress and fatigue. When we see a cluttered area, it can stress us out, reminding us that there is more to be done. There are so many benefits to cleaning and keeping a tidy area. Also, so many of us can’t find things we are looking for, causing us to stress out that we need to find them. If we clean up and find places for everything, we’ll have less stress when we go to look for something.
I used to have a boyfriend who could never find his keys or slippers. I constantly told him to put the keys in the basket by the door, so he always knew where they were so he wouldn’t be stressed trying to leave for work and get there on time. He’d call me asking where this or that was, and I knew everything was out of place. If he had put things where they were supposed to go, he would’ve been less stressed knowing when he went to look for something that they’d be in a specific spot.
These are just a few ways to keep yourself occupied and prevent a relapse. Having time off isn’t a bad thing, but too much can be detrimental to your sobriety. If you find yourself going back down the path to addiction, there is a way out. Keep yourself busy and know there are people in your corner supporting you. Keep busy, and remember you can do this!