Getting sober doesn’t mean all of your problems disappear. You’re still going to wake up on the wrong side of the bed some mornings and have bad days at work. That’s just part of life! But once you’ve chosen to stop drinking, you’ll need other ways of unwinding and sorting through things. That might seem scary at first, but the truth is, when you’re taking on life’s challenges sober, you’ll find that the best things you can do are often actually the simplest.

Know that you can turn to family and friends.
It’s easy to convince yourself that you’re on your own when you’re depressed. But the fact is, everyone goes through hard times and that’s what your friends and family are there for. Reach out, talk to them about how your feeling. They’ll understand! Whenever I’m feeling down, I know that if I call up a couple friends for coffee, I’m guaranteed to spend a couple hours laughing and getting some great advice.

Let yourself be upset.
Speaking of talking to family and friends, it’s also important to let yourself be vulnerable sometimes. Talking about your feelings might seem overwhelming, but it’s okay to cry and rant a little bit. It’s healthy to express yourself. Having emotions doesn’t make you weak, it makes you human, and it’s okay to feel them.

Write it out.
Writing is one of the most therapeutic things you can do on your own. You don’t need to write a novel, just set aside some time each day to journal about whatever’s on your mind. If you’re stressed about a situation, write a “Pros and Cons” list to get more perspective. If you’re having a bad day, write a gratitude list. Remembering all the things you have to be grateful for will help center you and keep you focused on the things that truly matter.

Keeping your body in good shape keeps your mind in good shape.
Exercise isn’t just good for improving your physique, it actually triggers the production of chemicals that literally create happiness. Every time you exercise – whether that’s a brisk walk through your neighborhood, a kickboxing power-hour, or a soothing yoga class – your body produces things like dopamine that make you feel good and relieve stress! The same goes for your diet. Veggies, fruits, legumes, and wholesome grains are packed with vitamins and nutrients that will keep you operating at the top of your game and feeling great.

Take things one day at a time.
Progress isn’t going to happen overnight. You can’t fix things with a snap of your fingers and a lot of things are going to be beyond your control. All you can do is take it one step at a time, work at it day by day, and concentrate on what you can change. Don’t get overwhelmed by the bigger picture. Just focus on what you’re making of your time at that moment and make sure to make the best of it!

Learn more about prevention education and intervention programs from 3rd Millennium Classrooms.