When parenting becomes overwhelming, it can be too easy to begin abusing a substance as a way to reduce your stress and cope. Unfortunately, this form of coping can have a hugely negative impact on children.
Kids of addicted parents are far more likely to abuse substances themselves, which is one of the worst fears of many parents battling addiction. In order to raise healthy, well-rounded children, it is important that you find alternative ways to reduce your stress and cope in a positive manner. Here are a few activities you can try as a way to replace your addictive habits.
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Meditation and Mindfulness
The Buddhist tradition of meditation and mindfulness applies to all people regardless of religion or heritage. These practices have been shown to reduce stress levels and cultivate a happier, healthier mental state. Additionally, meditation is a tool you can take with you everywhere you go and can be performed whenever you feel it is necessary.
Meditation can be a family activity. Teaching your child to meditate with you can halt any stressful behaviors they are engaging in and give you a break, even if only for a few minutes. Meditative practice early on can also help your child cope — avoiding the problem of addiction later in life.
Mindfulness simply means to focus on the present moment. Be aware of your surroundings, of yourself, of your feelings, and of your actions. Intentional, conscious awareness is a technique that can help you identify when you begin to crave your substance and mitigate the response.
Hobbies and Crafts
Having a hobby that you truly find enjoyable can be a wonderful way to reduce your stress, thereby reducing your desire to abuse substances. Portable crafts and hobbies are ideal for recovering addicts as they can be used the moment you begin to notice a craving.
Some examples might be:
A number of crafts can also become family activities. Teaching your child the coping mechanisms to best handle a situation can be the ideal way to make sure that your child dodges having the same life struggles as you do.
Reading and writing are great tools for people who need to be removed from their thoughts and the present moment. Being transported into the world of your book or the world you are working to create can be a good way to derail the desire to use.
Though a day at the gym is not always feasible for a single parent, exercise is one of the best ways to help treat addiction. The positive mental and physical response you get from exercise can combat the negative feelings that may lead to weaker reactions to temptation. An exercise that can easily be done in the home, without expensive equipment, is the best option for single parents. For example, if you happen to have a pool or access to a public pool, aquatic therapy is a great form of exercise for people in recovery.
Yoga is one of the top at-home exercises that can improve your day and your mood. It combines the benefits of mindfulness, meditation, and exercise. There is little required equipment to practice yoga, and online courses are readily available for free online. Best of all, kids’ yoga is becoming more and more popular, meaning daily yoga can become a healthy habit for both you and your child.
Overcoming addiction is no easy task, and it is important that you seek support from a trained counselor. However, for the everyday urges, it is best that you have a set of healthy alternatives and a strong support system for coping. Activities that allow you to include your child such as yoga and crafts are a wonderful way to both help yourself and prevent your child from going through the same struggle later in life. Remain positive, try some new coping activities, and stay on that road to recovery.
About the author: Sarah Lockwood is a parent and previous social worker. Her experience working with the public, for many years, including a personal family attachment to addiction, allow her to understand the impact that drug and alcohol abuse can have on a family. Sarah’s daughter is working on her recovery. This ordeal piqued Sarah’s interest and gave her inspiration to become involved with ThePreventionCoalition.org. Her goal is to spread awareness regarding the effects of addiction on an entire family. Sarah also wants to make society aware that support is important for others battling addiction. While she gives a lot of her personal time to the Coalition, Sarah includes relaxation techniques as part of her everyday practices.