Addiction recovery is challenging, and it often takes a toll on people’s emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being. It is common for many people to experience extreme fatigue as they begin recovery. The body has to work to repair itself, which takes time and energy.
Individuals must also deal with life stressors and difficult emotions without substances. This can be equally taxing on the mind and body. Recovery fatigue is normal and expected. Learn more about ways to manage it.
Ways to Manage Physical and Emotional Fatigue
There are many reasons that your body may feel tired in recovery. Increased cortisol production (stress hormone), dehydration, illness, liver damage, and disrupted circadian rhythm are common in individuals who have abused drugs or alcohol. Fatigue is also a common withdrawal symptom.
Here are some ways to manage physical fatigue:
Nutrition: Increase your water intake to fight off dehydration, and incorporate a diet that is rich in protein and vitamins. Some addiction treatment programs may offer nutrition management.
Light exercise: Walking, hiking or yoga can do so much for your physical and mental health, including stress management.
Sleep schedule: Reset your circadian rhythm with a consistent sleep schedule. Rest is necessary to combat fatigue.
Recovery takes an emotional toll as well. You have to be vulnerable and open. This may mean talking about painful experiences and emotions that contributed to your addiction. Dealing with those emotions is difficult, especially without drugs or alcohol.
Here are some suggestions to combat emotional stress:
Mindfulness meditation: Meditation can help improve self-awareness and emotional regulation.
Journaling: Journaling can help you work through difficult emotions and can be a great complement to talk therapy.
Therapy: Make sure you are fully participating in your individual and group therapy sessions. Be honest with what you are feeling.
It’s important to be patient throughout the recovery process. Fatigue is a part of recovery, and it will take time for you to feel like yourself.
Preparing for Sobriety Fatigue
In addition, it’s important to have ways of managing fatigue after treatment. Recovery is work, and it can feel heavy at times. Many people report feelings of sobriety fatigue, or exhaustion associated with living a sober life.
It’s important to have resources, such as support groups, therapy or aftercare, in order to manage sobriety fatigue and prevent relapse.
Choosing to get sober is not an easy decision, but it was one that should be applauded. However, there is no need to enter recovery on your own. Treatment providers understand the needs of those in recovery. Their programs and schedules are designed to meet those needs.
The path to recovery is complicated, but treatment can give you the tools you need to sustain sobriety and manage stress and fatigue.