One of the main reasons individuals are driven to take drugs or binge alcohol is because of stress. One of the biggest stress factors in life comes from the workplace. According to Stress.org, 46% of stress at work is caused by the workload. Another 20% is caused by attempting to balance work and life. When you’re feeling the stress, you may fall off of the wagon in order to cope with it. At Granite Recovery Centers, we want to give you the tools and support that you need to be successful at work and at your recovery. Here’s what you need to know about recovery in the workplace.
Why You Need Support When Returning to Work
You may believe that you have the right mindset to return to work and maintain your sobriety. When the stress hits, however, you might start to flounder. This is because stress and addiction have a tight correlation with one another.
When you feel stressed, your body is put through a difficult and exhausting process. You’re pushed to perform harder than normal. This can take its toll on your body physically and mentally. Your mind screams out for something that feels good. That’s when turning to drugs or alcohol happens. Even if you only drink after work or on the weekends, you may think that nothing is wrong. You’re not drinking at work. It’s not affecting your performance at work. What’s the problem?
The problem is that it may be affecting other parts of your life. When you’re drunk, are you able to spend quality time with your friends and family? Or are you just sitting drunk in your own home? Can you truly say that you’re happy?
The same can be said of drugs. Even if you only take drugs after work or on the weekend, you may feel that it doesn’t impact your work performance. You may feel that you don’t have a problem, but you do. Drugs that are taken in any amount will have a negative impact on your body over time. It’s the fact that you’re using a synthetic means to give your brain a boost that’s the problem.
It’s also an easy way to start taking more of the drug or drink more alcohol. The biggest lie that you can tell yourself is that you don’t have a problem. Yet, before you know it, you’re taking drugs before work. You’re drinking before. Then you’re taking drugs at work or you’re drinking at work. This is because you build up a tolerance over time. You need more of the drug or more alcohol in order to get the same kind of good feelings. That means you might not be able to feel great by the time you have to get to work. You may actually feel awful because your body is going through withdrawal. As a result, you start taking the drug at work or sneaking a few drinks while you work.
Everything starts to spiral from there. Your work performance will definitely be impacted. Your physical and mental health will continue to deteriorate. You’ll have to spend more money on drugs and alcohol which could put even more financial strain on your shoulders. Dealing with the stress that you feel in the workplace can help you stay away from drugs and alcohol. For recovering addicts, it’s even more important to find a healthy way to cope in order to manage work-related stress.
Below, we’ll list a few tips that may be able to help you manage that stress.
Don’t Take Work Home With You
Employers have no right to ask you to work more hours at home beyond what your contract states. This is especially true if they’re not paying you for the extra hours. They may do everything in their power to make you feel guilty or compelled to complete work on your off-hours, but you don’t have to fall for it.
One of the first steps you should take when you return to work is to set clear and strong boundaries between your work and when you’re home. This helps you because it ensures that any stress that you feel at work won’t follow you home. It also keeps you from overworking. This is important because when you push yourself too hard, you don’t give yourself any time to relax and recover from the stressful bouts that you experienced. Instead, it’s just one huge stressful situation that you never get a break from.
You can set boundaries by informing your employer or manager that you won’t be taking on extra hours. It will impact your mental health, otherwise, and it may impede your work performance. Your manager or employer will be forced to understand. If they continue to pressure you to work during your off-hours, then either speak with your HR or union or simply ignore them. They may control what you do during work hours, but they don’t have a say over what you do during your off-hours.
Thanks to COVID-19, you may also be working at home. This can make creating boundaries even more difficult. After all, you’re unable to physically leave the area that is now associated with your job. There are a few ways you can deal with this. The first is to designate a room or area for your job. Having an actual office area can help set a physical boundary because you can close the door to the room when you’re done. The rest of your home is a place for relaxation and calm. The other thing you can do is to go outside and work, if possible. If you have a deck, then take your laptop outside and work there. Even sitting in your open garage may be a better alternative than sitting in the living room.
You can also create some small traditions that help you wind down from work. Perhaps that means simply closing your laptop. A physical gesture can further help your brain recognize that it’s time to stop working and instead time to start relaxing.
Once your boundaries have been set, you’ll have an easier time managing stress because you’ve created a bubble of time where you can recover. Now and then your thoughts may drift towards work. Don’t let them. You can worry about work during your actual hours. It may take some time to mentally train yourself to avoid work-related thoughts during your off-hours, but once you master it, you’ll be able to relax even more at home.
Join a Support Group
You’re not the only recovering addict who returned to the workforce. There are plenty of other people like you who are struggling to stay on the road of sobriety while dealing with the pressures of work. You may even find that some of your own co-workers are recovering addicts.
Joining some form of a support group is one of the best decisions that you can make. It may seem like it’s not for you, but you should give it a chance at the very least. These groups can be a great reminder that you’re not alone. Someone may have tips or advice that can change how you live and strengthen your resolve to remain sober. It’s easier to join a support group than ever. You can find plenty of official groups like AA that have in-person meetings. Yet you can also find more low-key ones that are no-less effective that are held online. You may even find that you’re more comfortable in an online setting.
If there isn’t a support group near you or if the ones that exist don’t quite fill the need that you have, then you may want to consider starting one of your own. Look for some recovering addicts within your community. You may find that they’re just as eager to find something that actually means something to them. You can be the one to get it started.
At Granite Recovery Centers, we also have therapy and support programs available. Even after you detox with us, we want to continue to ensure you’re sticking to the path of sobriety. You can always rely on us to help you find the support that you need.
Take Vacation Days
Are you aware of how many vacation days you’re owed at your job? Do you work as a freelancer and struggle to fit in vacation days? Not taking breaks can rapidly increase the amount of stress that you feel. As a result, you may start to turn towards drugs and alcohol in order to cope. Those who work at traditional jobs may not be aware that they are contracted to have a set number of vacation days that are actually paid. It’s a good idea to determine what those days are and actually use them. You may feel guilty about making others shoulder your workload while you’re on vacation. Don’t feel guilty. You’ve earned those vacation days. It’s also important to note that you don’t need to actually go on a vacation when taking those days off. While many use them as a chance to go somewhere new, it may actually be a better idea to simply stay at home. Choosing to spend your vacation at home means you can catch up on sleep, spend more time with your family and friends, and take care of any chores around the house that have fallen by the wayside. When it’s time to return to work, you’ll feel more relaxed and ready to tackle work again. This is different compared to those who travel for a vacation. You may come back exhausted from the trip. It won’t help you mentally and physically prepare for another stretch of work before your next vacation. Freelancers especially struggle with taking off vacation days. Because freelancing often means you’re faced with a “feast or famine” workload, you may feel that a day spent not working is a day wasted. However, this can quickly start to cause you to burnout and feel increased stress. When doing your freelance work, you should always set some money aside for your vacation days. This set amount of money should equal the amount that you would make on the days that you would normally work. Then, when you take the vacation, you don’t have to worry about missing out on money because you have some set aside already. This enables you to take some much-needed time off from work. Your stress levels can reduce. When you return to work, you’ll have a better mindset and more energy.
How Granite Recovery Centers Can Help You Manage Work-Related Stress
One of the key parts of recovery is figuring out the triggers that cause you to use drugs and alcohol. One of those triggers is likely the stress that you feel at work. We can help you have a successful recovery at work by teaching you new habits to cope with work-related stress.
Once you recognize that stress is what causes you to use your substance of choice, you can prepare yourself for it. You can follow the tips given above to minimize stress as much as possible. Then, following the therapy lessons provided by our center, you can instead turn to healthier outlets to deal with your stress.
With these new habits in hand, you can succeed at work and your journey to maintaining sobriety.
Get the Support You Need at Granite Recovery Centers
Everyone feels some level of stress at their jobs. Yet recovering addicts may find that the stress is too much to handle on their own. They may relapse and be driven back to their drugs and alcohol. Following the above tips can help you manage stress in the workplace in a healthy way. Through those tips and by signing up with our support groups, you can have a clear path ahead to sobriety. Give us a call today to find out more about support groups and how we can help you reach and maintain sobriety.