You know that being around people or places you associate with drug use, seeing someone do drugs, and even certain sights and smells can all be relapse triggers, but did you know that boredom can harm your recovery? Being in recovery initially takes up a lot of time, and your days are structured with therapy and meetings. When you’re back at home, however, and trying to learn a new routine, it can be easy to find yourself bored and at a loss for what to do. Boredom can lead to other negative feelings, such as anxiety, depression, and loneliness.
Practice mindfulness and meditation. Sometimes this means being fully present in every moment and aware of everything that’s around you, and sometimes it means controlling the way your mind wanders. Imagine you’re standing in a long line at the DMV. The walls are a boring gray, your feet hurt, and there’s a child shrieking behind you. You’re probably a combination of bored and irritable, and you can’t escape until your turn is over. Try some deep breathing – concentrate on the in and out, the expansion of your chest. If you have trouble with anxious thoughts trying to intrude, focus on counting your breaths instead. Inhale for a count of four, hold for a count of four, and exhale for a count of four.
Train your mind to see the positives in things. Maybe you’re outside painting the deck, and it’s hot and insects keep landing on you. Instead of thinking about how bored and annoyed you are, tell yourself that as soon as it’s over, you’ll be able to do something fun. Make plans ahead of time to invite friends or family over for a cookout – not only will you be able to enjoy a fun activity, but they’ll probably notice all the hard work you do, and you’ll feel even more accomplished.
Stuck on a bus in traffic? Look at the people around you. Have you ever thought about writing a book or a song? There’s a world of inspiration right in front of you. Talk to people – they’re probably just as bored as you are – or even let your imagination run free and try to concoct backstories for them.
Try unplugging. It might sound crazy to think that you’d be bored with the entire internet at your fingertips, but if you find yourself staring into space keeping one eye on the 20th cat video in a row, it could be time to stand up and find something else to do.
If you aren’t in a situation where you have to entertain yourself, the possibilities are endless. Call a friend or family member you haven’t spoken to in a while. Try out a new TV show or book you’ve been meaning to get around to. For more long-term solutions, try joining an amateur sports club, take up a new hobby, take a class, volunteer somewhere,
If you or a loved one need help with quitting drugs or alcohol, consider Asana Recovery. We offer medical detox, along with both residential and outpatient programs, and you’ll be supervised by a highly trained staff of medical professionals, counselors, and therapists. Call us any time at (949) 438-4504.