Tag Archives: Recovery

Recovery Workbook for Treatment Resistant Scabies: Fight the Mites!

Cover page of recovery workbook for treatment resistant scabies

Announcing!

I am in the process of self-publishing a  Recovery Workbook for Treatment Resistant Scabies. It is the ultimate guide to how to fight the mites and win! It will be available on Amazon.com as an eBook and as a paperback soon.

My scabies story:

I had scabies twice in my life.  Once was when I was much younger, and the rash was mostly on one of my arms.  I don’t recall it being a big problem except for the extra work involved.

About 2 years ago, I had it again and it was one of the worst experiences of my life.  The itching was intense, on many parts of the body. And the treatment didn’t work until after the 3rd time! I was itching and extremely miserable for about 4 weeks!

My basic instructions while using Permethin medicated cream were similar to this pamphlet by AZ Dept of Health Services (2015) at https://www.azdhs.gov/documents/preparedness/epidemiology-disease-control/healthcare-associated-infection/advisory-committee/subcommittee/scabies-pamphlet.pdf   I was very frustrated when I couldn’t find helpful instructions online about what more to do when those instructions didn’t work.

Finding a better way:

I got serious and got busy figuring out a better way. The instructions I developed should be added to the prescription treatment your medical provider gives you. It doesn’t recommend alternative medications or herbal treatments.  It tells you in detail how to prepare for and follow the process for a complete treatment that prevents the mites from reinfesting you.

The Recovery Workbook tells my story and what I did to ultimately succeed in getting rid of the scabies. That higher-level treatment plan is being shared to help others who are struggling with scabies. The book includes tips for coping, important background information about scabies mites,  reasons for the extra instructions, and some information from relevant research articles,

Scabies treatment resources:

Worksheets and Checklists are available here  for those who buy the eBook and want to be able to write things down. You can print them out at   https://healthvista.net/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Worksheets-for-Scabies-book.pdf

If you don’t by the Recovery Workbook for Treatment Resistant Scabies, the checklists will still be helpful.  But, you will be missing out on some very valuable information and helpful support.  I encourage you to buy the book. You can contact me if you prefer not to use Amazon.

If you don’t buy the book, but you use the worksheets and checklists, please consider sending a donation toward this website’s maintenance costs.  Thanks in advance for using the donation link toward the bottom on the R side this page or at https://healthvista.net/

Getting rid of treatment resistant scabies is not easy.  I hope that the recovery workbook, worksheets, and checklist will help people fight the mites and win!

Blog Post # 26  3-26-21 by Mary Knutson RN, MSN

Health Vista, Inc.

 

Improve Your Mental Health: Tips for Sleeping Better

Man sleeping

Photo via Rawpixel

Sleep Better for Your Health

Sleep is very important to improve our mental health and well-being. Try some tips to sleep better and make a difference in your quality of life. Sleep disorders are common among people with mental health conditions. Depression and anxiety are also common with many sleep problems like insomnia or sleep apnea.

Although insomnia can be a symptom of some mental health disorders, the relationship between sleep problems and mental illness is complex. Research suggests that poor quality sleep can contribute to mental conditions. Treating sleep problems can be one way to relieve some symptoms you may be struggling with.

Improve Your Sleeping Environment

The bedroom sleep environments have a much greater impact on our quality of sleep than most people think. Common things that disrupt sleep include noise, clutter, heat, and even small amounts of light filtering in from outside or inside your home.

Using your bedroom for stressful activities like work or studying can also contribute to sleeplessness. Consider giving your bedroom an upgrade to promote better sleep. Hang some blackout curtains, get a white noise machine, and move electronics into another room.

This is also a good time to check your bed and make sure it is comfortable. If your mattress has visible sagging, lumps, or tears, it’s time for an upgrade. A good-quality mattress is essential to provide the comfort and support your body needs to fall asleep quickly and stay asleep during the night.

Before going shopping, take some time to learn about different mattress types and materials so you can choose the best option for your needs. For example, memory foam mattresses can be great for many different body types and sleeping styles since they’re available in numerous firmness levels. If you like a little bounce to your bed, you can even get hybrid memory foam mattresses that contain both coils and foam.

Stick to a Sleep Schedule

Sleeping on an inconsistent schedule can also cause sleep-related issues. Your body runs on a kind of internal clock called the circadian rhythm. This regulates your sleep-wake cycle, helping you feel awake during the day and tired at night. However, fighting against this natural process can leave you feeling tired and groggy in the mornings and wakeful at bedtime. Try to go to bed and wake up at the about same time every day to avoid disrupting your circadian rhythm.

Care for Your Body

What you do during your waking hours will also affect your sleep. For example, studies have found that moderate aerobic exercise can increase the amount of rejuvenating deep sleep that you get, according to John Hopkins Medicine. At the same time, eating a balanced diet focused on fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins can help your body regulate your sleep cycles. Try to limit your consumption of caffeine since it is closely tied to sleep problems.

If you want some extra help to learn how to treat your body right, you may want to work with a nutritionist, dietitian, or fitness professional. Fortunately, you can find these wellness specialists through online freelancing platforms. Simply, search for the service you are looking for, read the reviews and talent details. Then, choose a specialist that fits your needs and budget.

Try Relaxation Techniques

Many people with mental health conditions can benefit from learning a few relaxation techniques to quiet the mind before bed. The National Sleep Foundation recommends breathing exercises and guided imagery to promote sleep, but you may also want to try progressive muscle relaxation and mindfulness meditation. Find relaxation exercises that work for you and then start a habit of practicing them every evening to help your mind and body wind down.

Get Mental Health Help

For anyone with an underlying mental health issue that is getting in the way of quality, restful sleep, professional help is worth it. For example, if you have depression and experience difficulty sleeping, consider seeking treatment for depression. Mental health counseling can be effective at relieving the symptoms of depression.

Learn More about Sleep and Recovery

Health Vista has many resources for health and well-being.  You can find a How to Sleep Better handout on the Recovery Education page, with a few more tips for you. Browse the website to find ways to improve your quality of life whether or not mental illness is a problem for you or a family member. A Coping and Relaxation Workbook is also available to download and print free. Using coping techniques can help you to fall asleep faster, and to avoid over-reacting with anxiety when you wake up during the night.

Remember How Important Sleep Is

Sleep plays an essential—yet often overlooked—role in our physical health and mental wellbeing. Don’t settle for poor-quality sleep. Try improving your bedroom. Upgrade your mattress, if needed. Pick up some healthy habits and routines. Start taking steps to sleep better today, so you can wake up to a happier and healthier tomorrow.

Blog Post # 25  added 2-25-21 by Guest Contributer Sheila Olson of fitsheila.com.  Edited by Mary Knutson.

Recover and Thrive after Major Life Challenges

Man and woman relaxing

Strive to recover after addiction or other life challenges

Those who commit to to it can recover from addiction or other life challenges. They have a priceless opportunity to thrive and create a better life. To optimize your life, you may need healthy lifestyle choices, a supportive social life, and the drive to take charge of your life.

Remember that in 2020, there were many more changes and challenges than usual for individuals, families, and communities.  The year 2021 continues to be difficult for people with addiction or with mental illness, but recovery is possible.  Be kind to yourself as you realize all you have been through and survived. Both good and bad life changes can sharply raise your level of stress.

Get enough exercise and rest

Whole-body wellness means balancing the right amount of activity and rest.  We need both physical and mental strength to fight for recovery every day and to replace bad habits with good ones. Exercise has proven to be an effective recovery tool because “working out” affects the brain in a positive way.

If you want to add exercise to your life during recovery, think small at first. The goal is to identify and start an activity that is sustainable for the long haul, so you can stay self-motivated. Hitting the gym hard for 30 days until you burn out is not especially helpful. But, walking a little bit every day is an activity that can last a lifetime. Other low-impact exercises could include lightweight muscle workouts using small dumbbells, kettlebells, or resistance bands. If you don’t have weights, you could put water into milk jugs until they are the weight you want to use. Muscle exercises and the active movements are important to jumpstart metabolism and help to strengthen your core muscles.

Improve your nutrition

Besides adding physical activity, improving your diet also supports your overall well-being. Eating healthy foods and getting balanced nutrition are key. Destructive habits like substance abuse can take over your life if it seems like getting high or drunk becomes more important than eating. Recovery is an opportunity to start over and refuel the body with much-needed nutrients.

Switching quickly from an extremely poor diet to a healthy one can be difficult because your habits can be powerful. Consider small, impactful changes to your eating. Some healthy changes can include:

  • Eating regular meals on a schedule.
  • Cut down on caffeine, if possible. Drink plenty of water.
  • Eat foods that are lower in fat, higher in protein and fiber
  • Add vegetables to your plate. (Try covering half the plate in garden colors, then dividing the remaining half into a quarter of protein and a quarter of whole grains.)
  • Experiment with different flavors to add excitement to your meals. People often reach for junk food because it tastes good, but healthy food done right can taste even better.
  • Plan meals in advance and have a big cooking session. If you can spend a few hours in the kitchen on a Sunday, you can make your lunches and dinners for the entire week and avoid the temptation to grab a quick unhealthy bite during the week.

Find Positive and Supportive People

Healthy living includes spending positive social time with people and having fun. For instance, healthy cooking “parties” can be a way to meet new people or connect with old friends. The key to your social life— and the struggle — is to disconnect from negative influences that may trigger a relapse. To have a better “road to recovery”, you may need to find new friends. If you are an alcoholic, instead of going to bars, “hang out” at coffee shops or other places where they don’t serve alcohol.

Social support is crucial to recovery because you may not be able to manage triggers on your own. Supportive friends and family can help you stay on track and to keep busy enough so there is no room in your life for bad habits.

Take Control of Your Life

Taking your life “by the reins” is like steering yourself away from stress and addiction toward recovery. Problem-solving will be needed after you figure out what is bothering you the most. Perhaps your financial situation is the current source of your stress. Or, maybe you’re not totally satisfied at your job, but don’t feel financially comfortable enough to leave. Maybe you’ve recently lost your job and don’t know what your next move should be. Think about what you would most like to do in life, and then pursue it. This life change could be an opportunity to do something you love. You may want to start a “side hustle” or launch your own business.

If you are considering forming a business, a good way to protect your personal assets and qualify for more tax breaks is  LLC filing. Like most states, MN allows a company to be structured online with affordable services. First, you would need to spend some time brainstorming to choose a unique business name, and then start making a business plan.

Learn How to Cope

It could be scary to jump into starting a new business, a new job, or new relationships after a major life challenge. Your confidence is usually low, and your future may look uncertain. But, when you choose something you really want to do, it will help motivate you toward a more successful and stable future.  Make sure you talk about your plans with your family and friends, they can advise you and support you as problems come up.

In recovery, your emotions may change quickly, like an emotional “roller coaster”. It helps to have a coping plan to help you and your family deal with negative thoughts or behaviors.

Health Vista, Inc. has a Coping and Relaxation workbook you can download and print. You can also find many local and online addiction resources, and recovery resources to use.

Through healthy living, people in recovery can thrive. Rather than following a downward spiral, start making improvements in exercise, diet, positive social support. Follow your passion to help propel you to a better life as you recover from addiction or other life challenges. .

Finding success involves planning and a high level of self-knowledge, but it is easier than you might think. Get active and healthier. Laugh with good friends. Manage your life and learn to cope with the stress that comes with big and small life changes.

Blog # 24  Added 2-11-21 written by guest contributor Dylan Wallace.  Edited by Mary Knutson, Health Vista, Inc.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

 

 

 

6 Ways People in Recovery Can Deal with Isolation

Woman leaning on door looking outside

Why is it  important for people in recovery to find resources and stay connected to others?  Because addiction thrives on isolation.  And, you need to find ways to cope.  The loneliness and stress of the COVID-19 pandemic can worsen substance addiction and make relapse more likely.  During uncertain times, people may feel mentally and even physically vulnerable. With less access to support and services, they are at the highest risk.

What does it mean to be in recovery during times of isolation? How do you attend support group meetings? How can you talk to a lawyer? How can you meet with a therapist?

Here are six ways people in recovery can not only survive, but even thrive, during the COVID-19 (Coronavirus ID  19) pandemic:

Seek online mental health treatment

Recovery is a life-long journey. You will need help along the way, often includes seeking therapy. With the special safety regulations during COVID-19, most mental health practitioners have gone online. That would help you to continue therapy with a reliable internet connection, or perhaps by phone. There are many surprisingly affordable options out there.

Use a coping plan

You know that—pandemic or not—there will be ups and downs in your recovery journey. Having a coping plan can help you to deal with anxiety, depression, or addictions, whether or not they are related to COVID-19. If you know what your emotional triggers are, you can plan ahead to identify what helps (and what hinders) those challenging situations. Look at your ways of coping because they could be healthy or unhealthy ways of dealing with it.

Stay busy with work or volunteering

People may be at higher risk for relapse when they are unemployed. Recent studies found that unfavorable employment changes were increased alcohol intake among former heavy drinkers. Many businesses have closed and many people lost their jobs during this pandemic. If you are one of them, continue to look for work—in any meaningful way. Apply for jobs, take online training courses, or volunteer your time. Staying busy can keep you motivated to stay sober.

Find ways to stay accountable

Due to staff cuts and layoffs, some organizations are no longer offering frequent monitoring and testing for people in addiction recovery. That means that some accountability methods might be missing. If you think it is important to be drug tested regularly, you can purchase drug tests, and ask a friend or sponsor to help administer them. Since addiction prefers a cloud of secrecy, shed some light on your journey by using other trusted connections and adding ways of staying accountable.

Recognize the symptoms of isolation

Isolation is a depth of loneliness. We may actually be unaware of how it affects us. We may notice an overwhelming or occasional sense of sadness, but there are many other signs we often miss. When isolation is starting to impact you physically, you may have trouble sleeping, and lapse into unhealthy routines. Some research even showed that people in isolation are also at a higher risk for heart disease or a stroke.  Emotionally, isolation can cause you to struggle with anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and substance abuse. This puts people in recovery at a greater risk for relapse.

Meet online with others in recovery

Without the in-person support of other people in addiction recovery, people may feel like they have nowhere to turn when they need help to avoid relapse. In many cases, you could meet with support groups, lawyers, health care providers or therapists using apps such as Zoom, if needed. There’s a good chance the AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) or NA (Narcotics Anonymous) group you attended is already meeting online. Find out if it is. If it isn’t having meetings, do a Google search for other online AA meetings in your area. Many churches and community centers are providing digital space for meetings.  And some websites include online communities. If you seek a supportive community group, ask your counselor or provider to recommend a reputable website. Resist the urge to quickly give information about your identity and location to people you meet online.

With every day in quarantine, the risk of isolation increases. Try out some of the ideas above, or find some additional resources. You can learn how to cope by grounding yourself in this time of disruption and distress. Health Vista has many health resources you can use to guide your recovery, as well as books for managing pain, anxiety, anger, depression, mental illness, and addiction.

Now that you know the challenge that you are dealing with during the COVID-19 pandemic, you can use your time wisely to find and use the resources you need for support and information.  Then, you will be able to cope better and have a more successful recovery during times of isolation.

Blog #22  Posted 12-2-20.  Written  by Dylan Wallace (with edits and additions by Mary Knutson, Health Vista, Inc.)

 

 

Trauma Can Affect You: Ways to Help Yourself to Recover

Past or current trauma can affect you, your thoughts, and your behavior. Having past trauma, as a child or as an adult is common in our society.

Trauma affects some people more than others

Some people are more resilient and have more support. Ongoing anxiety issues may be something you need to learn to cope with.  If you have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), more distressing symptoms may continue to affect your life.

Some health care settings are embracing Trauma- informed Care (TIC)

TIC assumes that people have had past traumas and attempts to avoid “triggers”. They want to prevent people feeling re-traumatized while they are receiving health care, and help them feel more safe and secure.

TIC Resources and Education are needed

I developed a Trauma Recovery Webquest  to share important information about TIC concepts including both childhood and adult scenarios.  It was designed to be used for health professionals as well as for anyone else.

Please realize that the linked video of childhood trauma in the first Powerpoint. Living with Trauma-Finding Recovery can be quite upsetting.  Feel free to skip that part if you don’t think you should watch it.

The webpages have many valuable links. The Trauma Webquest Process page includes a Resilience website and many handouts to help people cope with their symptoms of anxiety, flashbacks, dissociation, or thoughts of self-harm.

I have included (for free) links to some of the Recovery Workbooks that I have had for sale on my website, including Managing Anger, Managing Addiction, Depression, and a Coping & Relaxation Workbook.

Most importantly, you can use the Finding Your Way to Cope with Trauma Workbook !

I sincerely hope that you will find this information to be helpful and useful.

Believe that recovery  is possible.

You might enjoy the following video to inspire you:

 

Blog post #21  8-27-20 by Mary Knutson Health Vista, Inc.

A Great Way to Plan Ahead: Use a Coping Plan!

Thoughtful woman looking toward a bright path

Your path ahead looks uncertain, and it will be full of ups and downs.  Most people struggle with how to cope when their emotions may tend to get out of control.

What is a Coping Plan?

I would like to share a simple worksheet that was developed to help with that.  It will guide you to put some thought into what “triggers” you, and what warning signs would be seen by others when you are upset.

It also helps you explore what is helpful and what is not helpful if you feel like you are losing control.   The Coping plan can be shared with others, so they understand more about you and your needs. And, you will be able to be more prepared  for successful coping if you plan ahead.

How to Use a Coping Plan

Please go to to my Coping Plan webpage to read more about using the worksheet and about Trauma-Informed Care.  It was developed to help prevent people from being re-traumatized because of the reactions of others to their behaviors. To summarize:

Trauma can shape people’s mental, emotional, spiritual
and physical well-being.  Nearly every
family is impacted in some way.  Instead of asking “what is wrong with you?” ask “what has happened to you?” Reduce the blame and shame that some people feel. Build understanding of how the past impacts the present and help you progress
toward healing and recovery

The original link used for the information above was:

WI Dept. of Health Services. (2012). Wisconsin State Trauma-Informed Care (TIC)
Educational and Media Campaign. Retrieved 7-15-12 from
http://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/mh_bcmh/tic/index.htm 

A current link for more information about Trauma-Informed Care is https://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov/resilient/trauma-informed-practices.htm

You will probably also learn that your behaviors are not so different than many other people who we interacted with as we developed the worksheet.

The coping plan worksheet is available here >>>

Find successful ways to cope

My goal is to help people who are struggling with anxiety, anger, depression, addiction, or other behavior problems to cope better.  There are lots of ideas on the worksheet!

Share your coping plan with people around you

Allow  family, friends, and community be able to help you more.   Things usually seem easier when they are discussed ahead of time and they know what to expect.  Stronger relationships can happen with better coping.

Hopefully,  life’s path will look brighter as you feel more prepared and in control.  I hope this information is helpful to you!

 

Blog Post # 20  written 6-25-20 by Mary Knutson

The Power of Self-Expression: Art and Music Therapy in Recovery

Woman expressing herself through painting

If you are someone you know is recovering from addiction, you may need a way to stop the cycle of negative thoughts and self-destructive behaviors. Music and art therapy  can be part of successful treatment plan.  Creative expression has been used for years in either individual or group counseling. Art therapy is used in rehab centers, hospitals, schools, and other settings for recovery. Many people who do not respond well to more traditional treatments have success with music and art therapy.

Self-expression

Communication and self-expression issues are common among people with substance abuse problems. Creative communication can help people in recovery process their thoughts and feelings in a positive way. Often, those who suffer from addiction have trouble making sense of their emotions. And,  they struggle with how people respond to them. Creativity opens new avenues of understanding and helps people learn new thoughts, responses, and behavior patterns.

Art benefits for recovery

People often deny the need for help and may resist treatment.  Art therapy can help overcome this because art therapy can motivate people. They may want to achieve a healthier lifestyle, gain more self-confidence, and improve communication skills. Music is often used to help overcome depression, stress, anxiety and anger or rage issues. Those emotional responses often produce unhealthy thoughts and behaviors.

Music as therapy

Listening to and playing music creates a certain response in the brain. It stimulates the neurotransmitter dopamine which causes an overall sense of well-being. Music can help people be more likely to seek treatment, and more likely to continue toward recovery. Also, music therapy can increase positive feelings and self-awareness. Then, people can cope better with temptations and frustrations that come from addictions.

When listening to their favorite music, people experience a stimulation of the auditory cortex in anticipation of their favorite musical passages. And then, the feeling of exultation at its peak has a powerfully healing impact. Sometimes our brain helps us experience music even when we’re not actually listening to it or performing it.

Self-discovery

Art and music therapy help you get in touch with your feelings. They also help you learn to accept yourself, and decrease feelings of guilt and shame. The goal is to create a sense of happiness and hope through painting, sculpting, coloring, drawing, collages, or other artwork. Be very creative as you express every aspect of your emotions, both positive and negative.

Art in recovery

For the best results, continue art and music therapy even after formal treatment is done.  As they help to relieve stress, they can help you cope with depression, and fend off the temptation to use again.

At your home, choose art and music that expresses your emotions and helps your mood. According to HomeAdvisor, “Everyone deserves to have their own space for their passion project, be it a crafting station or simply a place to journal. Look around your home with a creative eye, and you’ll realize that much of what you need to create your ideal hobby workshop is already nearby and can be easily converted.” Staying sober or free of addictions is an ongoing struggle. It’s important to find a way to cope with the emotional chaos and pressures that make recovery so difficult.

Guest article by Kim Thomas of US Health Corps posted 8-12-18.

Updated for readability 5-25-20 by Mary Knutson

Suggested links:  https://healthvista.net/inspirational-music/
or https://healthvista.net/inspirational-music-for-teens/

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay.com

How to Explain Addiction to Children

Little girl child with concerned expression

Protecting and Educating Kids About the Dangers of Drugs

Parents want their children to be unaffected by addiction issues. So, addiction may not be a hot topic within your family. However, at some point, all children will probably face peer pressure or witness someone who is struggling with a substance abuse disorder. As your child grows, you can help her understand and develop skills that prevent her from going down the path of addiction.

Avoid Assumptions

Don’t assume that your child knows about addiction and related issues. According to kidshealth.org, opening up to your child about the dangers of substance abuse makes it more likely she’ll come to you for help when she faces a problem or encounters peer pressure.

Don’t assume your child already knows the dangers of drug and alcohol use and abuse, or that she could never fall victim. Though schools may teach students about dealing with peer pressure, it’s up to you to guide her in the right direction. You can do so by modeling behavior and keeping the lines of communication open. It’s also essential to understand the signs of addiction and substance use, and to watch your children closely for changes.

Discuss Family Addiction Problems Openly

If you or your partner is facing an addiction, start a conversation that validates your child’s feelings. Let her know she will always be loved and discuss what steps are being taken for recovery. Customize your discussion for her age group. If a child does not understand what addiction is, you could say that strong cravings can happen over and over throughout the day and night. It is very hard to resist the urge to do what it says. You could compare it to having an annoying song in your head that keeps coming back over and over again.

Acquire Knowledge

 Because it’s not easy to explain addiction to a child, your best bet is to acquire as much information as you can. Be ready to answer any awkward questions that could come up. According to Psych Central, while it’s not a good idea to lie to your child, you may want to be careful to protect young children from the grittier details.

Be as straightforward as possible if your child has questions. If she asks about your own experience with drugs or other addictions, it is best to tell the truth. Real stories can help her learn about consequences. Telling the truth about your imperfections  also establishes a safety net so your child is more likely to talk to you about her struggles.  By sharing information with your child you also reassure her that in life we have choices. Some of her choices could lead to problems, but making the right decisions will likely lead down a healthier path.

Tell Your Child That It’s Not Her Fault

Personality disorders often develop in people with an addiction, spurring them to say irrational things or lash out and blame others. Although addiction is no one’s fault, the addicted person is still responsible for their own behavior, and is the only person who can make recovery successful.  If an addict tells a child that she is the cause of the substance abuse, it is not true and it probably isn’t even how the addict really feels. Help your child understand that she shouldn’t carry a burden of guilt when loving someone with an addiction.

Find support

A support system is crucial in maintaining a sense of normalcy and stability in families. This may include a support group, friends, family and an accountability partner. Parents often face high levels of stress and need to make tough choices that will mold their child’s life. Parents need to seek support for themselves as well as for their children.

Addiction can affect everyone involved, especially a child who doesn’t fully grasp the concept of addiction. Offer support and protection to your child, repeating the fact that you love her. By talking openly about addiction, you can help her to grow up with the knowledge and confidence to just say no.

Blog  by guest contributor, Jackie Cortez of ThePreventionCoalition.org posted for Healthvista  February 20, 2018.

Revised for readability 5-25-20 by Mary Knutson

Image Courtesy of Unsplash

3 Stress Relievers for Parents in Addiction Recovery

old shoes made into a flower planter

Being a parent is far from easy. Especially if you are a single parent who also is in addiction recovery. Parents are balancing meetings and therapy sessions with kids’ schedules and routines. They are making all the decisions and being the breadwinner, You face loads of stress each and every day.

Stress in Addiction Recovery

Stress takes its toll on parents in addiction recovery. You need to find ways to relieve your stress in healthy ways to avoid a relapse. Our X stress relievers will help.

Stick to a Daily Routine

While it may sound impossible to establish and stick to a daily routine, you need to make every effort to do so. A routine will help you keep track of where you need to be and when, and it will set a structured schedule for your children. Schedules and routines make children feel safe and secure. And, they help you relieve stress by knowing your responsibilities ahead of time. Daily routines also signify to your kids that you are reliable and accountable. This helps repair relationships with older children who may have been hurt emotionally by your addiction.

That’s not to say that your daily routine has to be rigid. You must allow for some flexibility because rigid schedules can be too demanding and often cause more stress. Kids also enjoy surprises every once in awhile. So, allow for special events on the weekend. Plan a special treat after dinner to reward academic or behavior improvements. Be ready to change your daily routine at certain times throughout the year. Expect change when school begins or ends, when kids start athletic or music lessons or programs, or when you join a support group.

Take Care of Yourself

Parents in addiction recovery often don’t prioritize their own health and well-being because they feel guilty for being an addict. They know they impacted their children with their previous self-destructive decisions and actions. However, stress takes a tremendous toll, especially on single parents’ health and must be managed if parents will be able to take care of their children properly.

Taking care of yourself should include eating healthy, getting plenty of sleep, and exercising regularly. You can include your children in healthy eating by looking for and experimenting with recipes you find online. Cooking together teaches your children a new skill and provides you with quality time that will reduce your stress level. You also can exercise with your children. You could play football, baseball, or basketball, go for a family walk or bike ride. Try taking a hike, kayaking or fishing.

Enjoy Yourself Safely

Being a parent in addiction recovery does not mean that you cannot enjoy a night with friends or a social gathering. It is a good idea to relieve some stress and have some fun. It does, however, mean that you need to be smart about your choices and have a plan in place for maintaining your sobriety in tempting situations. If you are invited to a party that will put your sobriety at risk, take your own water or sparkling cider with you. Invite a friend who will keep you in check and who will not mind staying sober for the night with you. If you are concerned about being pressured to drink, tell people that you are a designated driver or that you don’t drink because you need to be available for your children.

It’s also a good idea to plan for a party or other tempting social situation by getting support ahead of time. If you are comfortable enough to do so, tell the party host that you are in recovery and ask whether nonalcoholic beverages will be served. You also can attend an extra meeting prior to the event or alert your sponsor to the event and make sure she will be available if you need her at the spur of the moment.

Parents in addiction recovery must manage their stress levels in healthy ways to maintain sobriety. Sticking to a daily routine, prioritizing self-care, and enjoying yourself safely are three great ways to relieve stress without putting your sobriety in jeopardy.

Blog  by guest contributor, Jackie Cortez of ThePreventionCoalition.org posted for Healthvista  8-5-17

Updated for readability by Mary Knutson 5-25-20

Healing so Your Inner Child can be Free

Encourage Your Inner Child to be Free

football jersey girl with beads on and streaks of black makeup on cheeks

Healing, recovery, and coping involves taking care of ourselves and our “inner child”. Each of us has the desire to be cared for, loved and nurtured. That little child inside of you, (even when you are an adult), is called your “inner child.” Many people try to control their inner child, keeping them from truly being free to be themselves.  They may hide their inner child and make him or her invisible by:

Wearing one of these “masks”

  • “Fashion Show Plate” – Dressing up extremely fancy or carefully
  • “Make-up Artist” – Wearing too much make-up
  • “Body Perfect – Too much work on body shape and exercise
  • “Miss Manners” – Too much politeness
  • “The Blob” – Too much weight (obesity)
  • “The Glumstress” – Wearing drab colors
  • “The Overachiever” – Taking on all challenges
  • “The Daredevil”- Too much risk taking
  • “The Perfectionist” – Being obsessive or fixated on details

Masking your inner child:

People Pleasing –Always giving people what they want to please them, gain approval, and avoid conflict

Entertaining – Being the “life of the party” by making jokes, being a clown, and making other people happy without being sensitive to your own needs or feelings

Withdrawal, pulling in or nonfeeling – Holding back any emotional responses to make sure no one gets to know how you feel

Looking good – Being sure to look good by overachieving, being perfect, and doing only what seems to be the right thing

Enabling, or rescuing– By always focusing your attention and energies on the needs of others, you keep the focus off of yourself to the point that you can’t identify anything you need to work on yourself – You are out of touch with who you are.

Passive aggressive – Agreeing to go along with requests or orders when you disagree and have no plan to follow through

Jumping to negative assumptions – Assuming the worst about what others think and plan to do, you give other people power over you. Many people who have negative thinking hide their true selves to avoid conflict

Acting out, troubled person – Being a person who draws attention to your negative behaviors, you try to hide your real self who is sensitive and needy

Healing to overcome “invisibility” and becoming free to be yourself:

  • Believe that you and your inner child deserve respect.
  • Give yourself the nurturing, caring, love, forgiveness, and respect needed to heal.
  • Let go of self-pity over being neglected or abused as a child, and take charge of your life.
  • Create a bond between the adult you, and your inner child (to give you a sense of security and self-confidence).
  • Like your inner child, you may think, “All I want is to have someone hug me and tell me they are proud of me. Why can’t it happen?”
  • Instead, give yourself a hug every day, know your strengths, and be kind to yourself.
  • Say, “I am proud of me!”

Revised from Messina, J. J. & Messina, C. (2010). Growing down: Tools for healing the inner child. Retrieved from http://jamesjmessina.com/growingdowninnerchild/innerchild.html

Blog #11 written 1-23-16 by Mary Knutson RN for Health Vista, Inc.

Updated for readability 5-25-20