Mood swings are common in recovery; especially in the early days. It may be easier to take medication to treat depression or the blues, but for someone trying to abstain from mood-altering substances, this is not the best idea. The good news is that there are a number of non-drug ways to treat or even prevent anxiety, stress, depression and the blues. Below are a few examples:

Talk to Someone

If you are feeling down in the dumps, one of the best ways to lift your spirits is to talk to someone about how you are feeling. Your natural reaction may be to bottle up your emotions, but talking to someone you trust will help to make the load lighter. If you are finding it difficult to get in touch with someone, then consider writing your feelings down in a journal. Just writing things down can be a great stress reliever until you can pour your heart out to a trusted friend.

Go for a Walk

Getting away from your current situation or environment can help to lift your mood. If you have a dog, take it for a walk, or head to a meeting where you can share your feelings with other members. When depression strikes, you might feel that all you want to do is get into bed and wallow in self-pity. However, this will only serve to make you feel worse. You will be surprised at how much better you feel after getting out of the house and thinking while you breathe in the fresh air.


Reading is a great way to relieve stress. Immersing yourself in a fictional story or reading recovery materials will help to take your mind off things while also helping to put your problems in perspective. If you read inspirational stories, you are bound to feel better when you hear about other people’s experiences and how they handled them.

Meet Friends

It is never a good idea to be alone when you are feeling down or depressed. Call your friends and arrange to meet up for a coffee or a walk in the park. Or head to your nearest fellowship meeting where you can simply chat with others or just listen to other people’s stories.

Find Something to Do

Think about taking up a hobby to keep yourself active during your recovery. Boredom and loneliness are common causes of depression and can even be linked to relapse for those in recovery. If you can find something that you enjoy doing and that will keep you busy, you will never get bored. In addition, a hobby could open new doors for you – you may be able to turn your hobby into an occupation, or you may meet a host of new people through it. Painting, photography, dressmaking, and stamp collecting are examples of things you could try.


Relaxation techniques may be something you were taught during rehabilitation. It is a good idea to think about things that relax you, such as yoga, gardening, meditating, fishing or listening to music. Whatever activity helps you to relax is something you should be doing regularly. The more relaxed you are, the less likely you are to experience feelings of depression or anxiety.

Do Not Give Up

Remember that it is normal to experience ups and downs during recovery. You may feel great one day and then really down the next. Never forget that recovery is a process that takes time, and you need to take each day as it comes and remember that tomorrow is another day. The feelings of depression will pass. However, if they do persist, speak to your doctor.