Managing stress

When  someone you care about is misusing drugs or alcohol it can create an enormous amount of stress for you and your family. Sometimes you might feel there is just too much pressure and you can’t cope.

Some signs that you are struggling with stress include loss of appetite, sleeplessness, headaches, anxiety, body tension, irritability and difficult concentrating.

On this page, we hope to give you some valuable tips and information on how to manage your stress levels and take care of yourself.

1.       Exercise

It may seem cliché, but it’s true. There is a vast amount of evidence for the benefits of exercise in reducing stress. Although exercise won’t make the cause of your stress go away, it can help you work off some of your emotional energy  and clear your thoughts.

2.       Talk it out

‘A problem shared is a problem halved’. Building yourself a support network is one of the most important things you can do to get through this very difficult time. Many families, and even friends, feel they cannot talk about their loved ones addiction. They might fear being judged, or their loved one being judged or labelled.

Finding someone you trust to talk to is critical. If you don’t have anyone you feel you can open up to, then link into your local support group. You can find more info about support groups here.

3.       Time for yourself

Can’t remember the last time you read a book?

Families and friends often put all of their time and energy into supporting their loved one, but neglect their own needs. Turning off your phone and taking some time for yourself every now and then is essential to give you a break. Go out for lunch with friends, try a yoga class, take a bath, cook for fun, window shop – whatever suits, but make it about YOU!

4.       Relax

It’s easier said than done, and sometimes you need some help and a bit of practice, so try listening to a guided relaxation script – there are some great ones here. Try a few different ones until you find something that works for you.

Finally, It’s important to remember that, you can’t control the behaviour of your loved one, but you can control yourself and how you respond to them. Managing your own stress will help you to better deal with and support them, without sending yourself around the twist in the process!

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