Early recovery is an exciting and inspiring time worth celebrating. Now that you are sober, your outlook on life is likely more optimistic. However, it is inevitable that eventually, these high-energy feelings will subside. When this happens, you might experience pressure to keep the momentum going. When you focus on speed rather than progress, you might overlook aspects of your recovery. Quality accomplishments hold more honor than quantity.
Recovery is all about moving at a comfortable, manageable pace, so setting reasonable goals and expectations is key to lasting results. The alternative could have you feeling stressed, tired, and burned out. If you have made unreasonable commitments and feel pressured to live up to them, your overall well-being will suffer. Each could be a strong indicator that you are experiencing burnout, and with burnout often comes negative thoughts and behaviors. Let’s explore the signs of burnout and how you can manage them while allowing yourself the care, attention, and motivation you need.
Signs of Burnout
If you focus on operating at a level beyond your capacity, you might not even realize that you’re experiencing burnout. You might interpret missing goals as failures or that you are inadequate and incapable of accomplishing anything. If you begin to develop negative self-talk and define yourself based on the past, these could indicate that you’re experiencing burnout. Additional signs include, but are not limited to:
- Stress, anxiety, or anger before work or household chores
- Difficulty Sleeping
- Headaches or nausea
- Persistent thoughts of doubt
Identify Your Stressors
Identifying burnout is critical in recovery, but so is analyzing the cause. Long-term stress at work or home, for example, can cause you to associate your recovery with tension and anxiety. That’s why it’s essential to know the exact root of your stress and what triggers it. Using mindfulness or CBT therapy helps identify the sources of negative thoughts and behaviors. Further, recognizing these factors will help you avoid and prepare for situations that induce burnout.
Additionally, logging your thoughts and experiences in a journal about places, people, or tasks that create stress is another way to identify the source. For example, suppose you’re around a person who stressed you out because they don’t respect your recovery needs. In this instance, you can advise them of your boundaries, stating exactly what you will and will not accept. If this person fails to comply, then you might want to limit your contact with them or disconnect from them entirely if possible. While recovery is about rebuilding and restoring relationships, it is also about putting your sobriety first; it is perfectly acceptable if you’re not ready to face a challenge you have not developed the skills needed to cope.
During early recovery, you may devote too much time pursuing a goal and consequently develop unhealthy habits to achieve it. You might also do this as a way to avoid other obligations. For example, maybe you work long hours during the day to avoid evenings at home where you might be tempted or bored. However, recovery is about finding meaning and fulfillment in all areas of your life, and balancing your schedule is the key to avoiding burnout.
Finding new hobbies to partake in after work and other obligations helps evenly distribute time while maintaining the energy needed for each day. Connecting with close friends and family is also critical to a balanced recovery. While it might feel easier watching TV on the couch, challenging yourself to get out of the house to see your loved ones will instill a rewarding and fulfilling sense of pride.
If at any point you find yourself spending too much time on one activity, consider creating a schedule that promotes balance.
Practice Relaxation Techniques
Relaxation techniques like meditation, mindfulness, and breathwork are great ways to help reset, refocus, and restore your mind, body, and spirit. You could also use these techniques to implement into various parts of your day, such as breaks before cooking dinner and before bed. Though these practices may seem simple, they help to mitigate stress and anxiety.
Additionally, you can implement self-care practices that keep your mind clear and focused on what you can control. Utilizing a gym for an evenly-paced workout or taking a long bath are ways you can practice self-care and avoid burnout. Each has a profound ability to help you manage negative thoughts and leave you with an overall sense of well-being. These practices may even become staples in your everyday life or routine. Taking time to relax and reset provides the perspective and clarity needed to make better decisions in recovery.
If your stress, mood, or anxiety contribute to burnout, it might be time to seek professional care. At Choice House, we provide individual, group, and family therapy that speaks to men’s needs. Our models incorporate the needs of each individual to ensure we are not only providing the care they need but that we can meet anyone at any stage of recovery. Located in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, we also utilize our inspiring surroundings to implement real-world challenges for those who seek us. Our goal is to help men express their emotional needs and develop the skills necessary for balancing a successful recovery. We also provide sober living after treatment for individuals who need more time to transition into their everyday lives. With 24/7 admissions, there is always an opportunity to ask for help. To find out more, call us today at (720) 577-4422.