Stress Relievers That Can Help During Alcohol and Drug Rehab in West Virginia

The first step to sobriety is admitting that you have a problem and seeking help for it. This can sometimes feel impossibly difficult. But the truth is that the difficult part actually only starts there. Rehab is a journey that takes a lot of time and effort. So you are likely to experience a lot of stress while in rehab. This is perfectly normal and the therapy you receive as a part of your treatment will help you deal with it. However, it is a good idea to also rely on stress relievers that can help during alcohol and drug rehab in West Virginia. This can make your stay at the addiction treatment center easier and more pleasant!

The connection between stress and addiction

If you struggle with substance use or know someone who does, then you already know that addiction and stress often go hand-in-hand. This is because many people use drugs and alcohol precisely to cope with stress. The more stress they’re under, the more they use substances and habits form quickly from there. Once addicted, many people find themselves under even more stress as they try to obtain substances, manage their finances, hide their addiction, and avoid trouble with the law all at the same time.

Person hugging their knees on the ground.
Stress can be detrimental to your sobriety and mental health in general.

Unfortunately, once you arrive at the Harmony Ridge Recovery Center for treatment, the stress won’t magically go away. Rehab will be a very physically, mentally, and emotionally demanding process. You will have to deal with the physical symptoms of withdrawal and face some difficult truths in therapy all without access to the substances that were your coping mechanism until recently. Your stress levels will almost certainly be high. It is important to be prepared for this.

Both during addiction and during rehab, you will likely experience:

  • stress as a trigger – stress can cause cravings for drugs and alcohol to increase and is a common cause of relapse
  • stress as a symptom – many drugs cause anxiety and paranoia that will put you in a state of stress but symptoms of withdrawal can have the exact same effect

Learning how to deal with stress in a constructive way is a key aspect of addiction treatment. Developing healthy coping mechanisms during rehab will help you maintain your sobriety once you go back to your everyday life.

Stress relievers that can help during alcohol and drug rehab in West Virginia: physical activity

We tend to think of stress as a mental state. However, stress can and does have many physical symptoms. One of the most common ones is a feeling of excess energy or restlessness. You can channel that energy into something productive – like exercise. If you opt for our residential rehab program in West Virginia, you’ll have plenty of opportunity for that. Not only is our center surrounded by more than 50 acres of beautiful and inviting nature but it also includes a fitness center that you are welcome to use.

Walking, hiking, jogging, biking

Exercise does not necessarily have to involve a lot of effort or a huge investment. All you really need is your own body – keep it moving and you’re exercising! Things like walking, hiking, and jogging require little more than comfortable shoes and they can be an easy way to get into the habit of regular exercise. At most, all you’ll need are some exercise clothes. Or you can get a bike second-hand for relatively cheap. And then you’re all set to start!

Woman hiking.
Light physical activity is one of the easiest yet most effective stress relievers that can help during alcohol and drug rehab in West Virginia.

No matter your skill or fitness level, you can easily work these activities into your daily life. If you’re not very confident in your abilities, just start with 15-20 minutes of walking every day at whatever pace you are comfortable with. Soon, you’ll find yourself going longer and faster and maybe even running. If you’re worried about safety of the more challenging activities, just join a friend or a local hiking group for an easy stroll to have safety in numbers; you may develop an affinity for the great outdoors and start challenging yourself faster than you think.

While hiking and jogging do tend to take up some of your free time, walking and biking can simply become your ways of getting around. That way, you don’t even have to force yourself to go out during your downtime – simply leave home early when you’re going somewhere and walk or bike instead of driving. This way, you can continue an intense partial hospitalization program WV where you spend a lot of time at the treatment center and still fit some physical activity into your day.

Yoga and other light activity

The idea of using physical activities as stress relievers that can help during alcohol and drug rehab in West Virginia may be intimidating if you’re in some way physically weak, disabled, or otherwise limited in your abilities. But not all physical activity is necessarily difficult or demanding. Daily yoga, pilates, swimming, and even simple stretching can be a great way to expend energy without asking too much from your body. These are an excellent option during addiction rehab for seniors as they are accessible to all ages and fitness levels. Combining such light activity with meditation can make it even more effective in combating stress.

Going to the gym

If you’re in stimulant addiction treatment, you may find yourself with more nervous energy than most. Given that stimulants can produce intense cravings, you’ll likely be under a lot of stress as you try to maintain sobriety during the program. Combating that kind of stress sometimes requires a more intense regiment of exercise. This is why Harmony Ridge has a fitness center on site – you can access workout equipment for high intensity training that will really get the blood pumping. Once you’re out of the program, look for affordable gym memberships and consider getting a personal trainer. Being accountable to someone else will keep you exercising regularly. In turn, regular exercise will lower your stress levels.

Person adjusting weights on exercise equipment.
When you need a more intense workout to relieve stress, hit the gym!

Sports and martial arts

One of the goals of an intensive outpatient program for addiction in WV is to help you establish a routine that will keep you away from situations that lead to substance use as much as possible. A good way to do this is to stick to a set schedule. You can work exercise into that schedule by taking up a sport – you’ll have to join a team or find a sparring partner and practice with them at regular intervals. Not only will this help lower your stress levels but it will also give you an opportunity to make new friends who can support you through rehab. Finally, if you choose a contact sport like martial arts, you can work out through intense emotions and anger instead of letting them affect you; this can be very helpful whenever you find yourself frustrated by the treatment process.

Stress relievers that can help during alcohol and drug rehab in West Virginia: mental health

Even when addiction is not accompanied by another mental illness (which it frequently is), it will negatively affect your mental health. This is why addiction therapy in WV is so important – addressing the mental and emotional aspects of addiction together with the physical effects of substances is much more effective than simply ridding the body of drugs and alcohol. Structured therapy sessions can be draining and you may find yourself needing to mentally recover from them even when they are helpful. Besides, taking care of your mental health is a useful skill to learn, especially if you cannot continue therapy after rehab.

Self care and taking breaks

It sounds obvious but one of the best things you can do to deal with stress is to learn how to relax every once in a while. Some people find this incredibly difficult; they cannot turn off their thoughts and work themselves into more stress instead. But, we all need to take a break sometimes. Dedicating 15-20 minutes every morning and evening to yourself can help alleviate some of that stress. You can go for a walk, read a book, take a bath, or anything else that makes you happy. This time is for you to enjoy yourself and not think about any stressors you may be experiencing like struggling in therapy, financial troubles, or future plans. You’ll quickly find that simply setting aside some time to relax can be hugely beneficial for your mental health. The better your overall mental health is, the easier it’ll be to deal with addiction.

Person using a bath as one of the stress relievers that can help during alcohol and drug rehab in West Virginia
Regularly taking some time to yourself is healthy.

Meditation and mindfulness

If you are one of the people who find it hard to relax, then meditation may be for you. It’s an effective way to manage your thoughts and emotions by grounding yourself in the moment. Controlling your breathing and focusing on your body can help you acknowledge negative thoughts and experience negative emotions without letting them affect you. Practicing this can be especially helpful in cocaine addiction rehab WV when you start getting cravings. You can also combine meditation with yoga, pilates, walking, or other physical activity to make it an even more effective stress reliever.


Many people find comfort in religion or spiritual beliefs and practices. If you were religious or spiritual before addiction, you may want to revisit the idea of worship as one of your stress relievers that can help during alcohol and drug rehab in West Virginia. Putting your faith in a higher power can ease your anxieties surrounding addiction and relieve you of a lot of stress. Believing that everything, even the worst things you’ve experienced, happen for a reason can diminish the guilt you might feel over your substance use. Many religions also focus on forgiveness and love; feeling like you have been granted those by something larger than you can make you feel a lot better.

Spending time in nature

There’s truth to the saying that nature is healing. Many studies have shown that spending time in nature has a positive impact on our mood. When you’re feeling stressed, take a walk in the park surrounding our sober living home in WV instead of staying in your room, no matter how comfortable the accommodation seems to be. The fresh air, the sun, and the sounds of the forest around you can have a calming effect on you. You’ll feel less stressed when you’re surrounded by greenery and you’ll even get some physical activity in too.

Keeping a diary

Writing even just a few sentences into a journal every day is almost like a form of self-administered therapy. Just write whatever is on your mind – what happened during the day, how you’re feeling, if anything is bothering you, something interesting you’ve learned, the people you’ve met. Taking the time to put a few words down on paper is a lot like meditation; you have to focus on what you’re doing and forget about everything else.

Person writing in a diary.
Keeping a diary is a good way to process your feelings.

Your diary can be a great place to express all the thoughts you cannot share anywhere else. It can be very freeing to admit to things that you may be afraid or ashamed to share with others. Furthermore, putting your feelings into words means you have to identify them, name them, and think through them. This is exactly how you process your emotions. Finally, your diary can be a source of inspiration! When you’re feeling stressed about your progress in rehab, you can go through the earlier entries and see how far you’ve really come.

Stress relievers that can help during alcohol and drug rehab in West Virginia: comfort items

There are limits to what you can bring into residential rehab with you. For example, substances of all kinds as well as any type of weapon are strictly forbidden. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have personal items. In fact, things of sentimental value are even encouraged as they will make you feel better during your stay. They can remind you of the important people in your life and give you a reason to stay sober.

Family photos, postcards, letters

Unfamiliar surroundings can cause a lot of stress sometimes. So it’s good to feel like the treatment center is your home, at least temporarily. To achieve this effect, you’ll want to bring some familiar and comforting trinkets you can decorate the room with. It’s even better if these are mementos from loved ones. That way, although your loved ones cannot be physically with you at all times, you’ll still have them around in a way. A reminder of their love and support can be a powerful motivator to keep fighting your addiction.

Family photo on a bedside table.
When you’re under a lot of stress, remind yourself of all the people who love you.

If you’ve found yourself on the other side of the equation and are wondering how to make rehab for loved ones easier, consider sending a postcard or a letter. Remember that your loved ones are going through a lot as they find their way to sobriety. A few encouraging words can ease a lot of their worries about what you think of them.

Heirlooms and childhood belongings

We all have that little something we carry around with us to give us strength – Grandma’s ring, an old teddy bear, or a favorite ceramic figurine from our childhood home. Such seemingly small things can bring a lot of comfort during difficult times. So don’t hesitate to bring them with you into rehab! Having them around will help you deal with the upcoming stress for sure.

Items of sentimental value

Things don’t need to be old or valuable to mean something to you. What matters is that they bring you personally some kind of comfort. If you have a favorite pen or a scented candle that gives you joy, just bring those. Entering an unfamiliar place is stressful so anything that helps you get through that, no matter how small or silly it seems, is a good thing to have.

Stress relievers that can help during alcohol and drug rehab in West Virginia: art and entertainment

One way to deal with stress in rehab is to simply distract yourself from it. A little escapism never hurt anyone so don’t be afraid to run away into a fictional world of your favorite movie or TV show every once in a while. Or, if you are yourself creative, give art therapy for addiction a go. It can work as a form of treatment, a hobby, and a distraction from stress all at once.

Art as a hobby

Picking up a new hobby is a great way to battle stress during drug and alcohol addiction treatment. Between the excitement of learning new skills and the time put into practicing them, you’ll have something other than cravings and substances to focus on for days on end. Art is the perfect hobby to pick as it will help you express your emotions in a creative and non-restrictive way. Many people also find it very satisfying to be able to see the results of their efforts once they are done creating.

Person playing guitar.
Creating art is a productive way to de-stress and channel nervous energy.

Dedicating yourself to art as a hobby can be especially useful if you are in addiction treatment for young adults. You have more energy than most people in rehab to dedicate to something new; besides, you’ll find it easier to learn new things. Furthermore, if you still struggle with regulating your emotions, channeling them into new music or an art piece can be very helpful. Who knows – maybe you’ll even find your future career in art!


With powerful lyrics and its ability to create a specific atmosphere through sound, music has the potential to really help us channel and express our emotions. Give it a go the next time you’re feeling stressed. Most people opt for one of two extremes in these cases – calming and uplifting music that helps them cool down or angry and high-energy music that they can vent their frustrations through. Whatever works for you is fine. Try dancing it out to release the pent-up energy at the same time. Or give an instrument a go so that you can play and sing along to your favorite tunes as a way to unwind.

Movies and TV

Typically, spending a few hours staring at a screen is frowned upon. However, movie night or a TV show binge can be just what you need when rehab is stressing you out. For a couple of hours, you can tune out the world around you. Enjoy a light-hearted comedy to forget about the stress of everyday life. Or pick a gritty thriller so that you can focus on someone else’s drama for a bit. Just like with all other media, the best movies and TV shows will come down to preference.

TV tuned to Netflix.
Watching movies and TV can be a way to escape the stressful everyday life.

However, remember that depictions of substances are very common on-screen. This is especially true for legal substances. If you’re in alcohol rehab WV and seeing others drink is triggering for you, choose your media carefully. In some inpatient programs and sober living homes, you may even have to run your choice by the staff or only have access to pre-vetted content because of this.

Stress relievers that can help during alcohol and drug rehab in West Virginia: books

Like other forms of art and entertainment, books have the ability to transport us somewhere else – where we do not need to experience everyday stress for a while. Plus, they come with an added bonus. Because they tend to take longer to finish than movies, they can be your stress reliever for extended periods of time. Furthermore, reading requires more focus than watching a movie; so you are less likely to be distracted by stressors in the environment.

However, this is a double-edged sword. Because books are so descriptive and captivating, depictions of addiction can be more triggering than in other media. If you are in heroin rehab, for example, it’s even more important to avoid books that include heroin use than movies that do the same. In fact, many inpatient programs strictly limit reading materials. Your best bet is to play it safe – choose a self-help or religious read!

Stress relievers that can help during alcohol and drug rehab in West Virginia: fidget toys

Rehab is a highly structured process. Attending therapy at the scheduled time is mandatory; this routine is a big part of recovery. Sometimes, these meetings will be uncomfortable but you’ll have to sit through them nonetheless. Even if you are stressed, you won’t be able to just go for a walk or put on your headphones. Instead, you can try a stress reliever that you can use in a group setting without disrupting others.

Woman presenting one of the stress relievers that can help during alcohol and drug rehab in West Virginia - a fidget toy.
Fidget toys can be used to deal with stress and anxiety.

The most obvious one of those is probably the common stress ball. It will help you channel nervous energy in an unobtrusive way. There are also plenty of other fidget toys to try out. Some of them you can click, others you can roll. Some relieve stress through movements, others through texture. Find what works for you because this knowledge will come in handy even after rehab. You can simply carry your fidget toy with you and use it whenever you feel stressed over something!

One of the best stress relievers that can help during alcohol and drug rehab in West Virginia is support from your loved ones

One of the best ways to deal with stress at any time is to find the root cause of the stress and address it. When you’re in rehab, that cause can be many things. Perhaps you worry about your health declining due to substance use. Or maybe you have unresolved legal issues because of your addiction. You may fear failing to stay sober once you’re out of the program. Or it could be a combination of multiple things stressing you out.

One thing you are almost certainly stressing over is how your addiction has affected your relationships and what your loved ones think of you now. This is why their love and kindness are the most powerful stress relievers that can help during alcohol and drug rehab in West Virginia. Knowing that you have people to rely on and a support system to turn to can make all the difference in rehab. It’s a huge relief simply to have your loved ones by your side. Once you’re out of the program, they can help you implement healthy coping mechanisms too!


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