Want to Be Healthy and Stay Sober This New Year? Try These 5 Simple Habits to Keep You on the Right Track!
A new year is a good opportunity to clean your slate and start working on making positive changes in your life. Many people make New Year’s resolutions, but they are often difficult to keep up with, especially for those who are recovering from addiction. Instead of making an over-ambitious resolution that you know you might have trouble sticking to, try focusing on these healthy habits that you can bring into your daily life.
1. Make Your Bed When You Wake Up
Though this may sound like something your mother would say to you as a child, making your bed immediately after waking up is a great way to begin your day organized and with a sense of purpose. Each day we are faced with numerous tasks we must complete, and this is one simple task you can feel good about completing before you even leave the bedroom.
The importance of organization in maintaining a healthy and sober lifestyle, especially early on in your recovery, cannot be overstated. Overcoming addiction is a difficult process that doesn’t happen overnight, so establishing an organized schedule starting from the moment you get out of bed is a powerful way to find purpose and motivation for the rest of the day.
2. Develop a Healthy Sleep Schedule
Getting enough sleep is essential to the recovery process. Sleeping at least 6-8 hours a night is a key aspect of maintaining a healthy body and mind. Not only is it important to make sure you’re catching enough ZzZs, but keeping up with a regular sleep schedule is the foundation of being organized and on top of your daily routine.
Each of our bodies has a biological clock, or circadian rhythm, which corresponds to the 24-hour cycle of a day. Disrupting this natural rhythm can cause us to become irritable, anxious, and depressed, and can make the recovery process more difficult. One of the integral parts of sober living is to maintain a regular and healthy sleep schedule. Try to set a standard bed time for yourself, and avoid hitting the “snooze” button on your alarm clock in the morning!
3. Take Care of Your Body
Many Americans struggle with drinking enough water every day. It’s well known that our bodies are made up of roughly 70% water, and it’s important to drink about 2 liters of water a day. Hydration is necessary for our biological processes and detoxification of our bodies, and therefore it is of critical importance to keep yourself hydrated while in recovery. Not having enough water in your system can result in fatigue, lack of concentration, and a plethora of negative health effects such as dry skin and joint pain.
One way to make sure you’re getting enough H2O is to carry a reusable water bottle (such as a Nalgene bottle) with you as you go about your daily activities. Packages of bottled water are also very affordable in bulk at the grocery store, and keeping a pack of water bottles somewhere convenient such as your car, your kitchen, or your workplace will make it easier to remember to stay hydrated.
Eating well is another important aspect of healthy living. Many of us intend to eat well, but it can be hard to follow through with good eating habits. Starting the day with a healthy breakfast can give us the motivation and energy we need to stay focused and substance-free. Avoiding junk food and fighting cravings can be tough, especially during the holidays, but adding healthy treats such as grapes, bananas, and other fruit to your diet is a great way to feel good about what you’re putting into your body.
4. Be Physically Active
Exercise is one of the most difficult healthy habits to maintain, and many people lose their resolve to exercise only weeks into the new year. Gyms can be a daunting and overwhelming place for many people, especially if you’re not accustomed to the environment or have anxiety being around others. Worry not, however, because there are many day-to-day activities that you can incorporate into your life that will improve your mental and physical health.
One of the greatest benefits of being physically active besides physical health is how it fosters a positive state of mind. Endorphins released in your brain while taking part in regular physical exercise improve your mood, reduce stress, and create a sense of motivation and purpose.
Rather than visiting a gym regularly, try some simple callisthenic workouts at home. Everyone is familiar with push-ups, sit-ups, and jumping jacks, but even simple stretches such as touching your toes and twisting your torso can improve your overall well-being.
If you live or work in a place with an elevator, try using the stairs instead. It may take you a little longer to get where you’re going, but walking up stairways is a great way to increase your cardiovascular and respiratory health. Another good habit is to walk short distances where you would normally drive or take another form of transit.
5. Begin Something New
Writing in a journal may seem like a simple and tedious thing to add to your daily routine, but it can be a useful tool for organizing and improving your life. Starting a journal not only gives us an opportunity to organize our goals and desires, but it also gives us a chance to express our feelings and be true to ourselves. The recovery process is difficult and overwhelming at times, and it can be hard to articulate how we feel or what we want. Taking time out of your day to sit down and write about your thoughts can be a powerful way for you to take control of your life.
Picking up a new hobby is another great way to add additional structure and motivation to your life during recovery. Depending on the hobby you pick, it can be a fantastic way to meet new people and form relationships with those who share similar interests with you. Not only is it good to make new friends in a sober setting, but it is a great way to build and maintain a support system. Skydiving, archery, and recreational sports like basketball are just some of many hobbies that can help you stay busy and have fun.
Keep on Keeping on
While these suggestions are simple in nature, they are meant to be easily accomplished to help build a foundation of organization and structure while recovering from addiction. Keeping up with simple, healthy habits in your day-to-day life will help you develop a consistently positive mental attitude during your recovery and the rest of this year.
If you or someone you know is looking for a place to act on #5 from this list and meet new people in a substance-free environment, try stopping by The Other Side. We provide a space for members of the recovery community to have a good time without the pressures of maintaining sobriety in risky environments—and we can all agree that enjoying yourself more is a worthy resolution for 2017.
The Other Side
93 E Berkshire Dr, Unit G
Crystal Lake IL 60014