How healthy habits help addiction recovery

Taking the first steps towards recovery can be overwhelming and the transition from the chaotic life of using to a healthy balanced lifestyle may feel impossible.

However, embedding new habits into your lifestyle by allowing them to become automatic can help make the recovery journey smoother.

At The Hader Clinic Queensland, creating a healthy daily routine starts as soon as you enter our residential addiction treatment program. The staff are on hand to support you in building a stable framework for a better way of living right from the get go.

How daily routines help the recovery process

A routine can help give you a sense of stability and purpose

Maintaining physical and emotional stability is one of the most important reasons why you should have a daily routine. A known repetitive routine takes out the stress of decision making about the smaller stuff – leaving you more available to put your recovery front and centre.

A routine also creates a sense of purpose which leaves less idle time to think about cravings, particularly in early recovery.

A routine can help build self confidence

Having a daily routine that slowly incorporates simple daily responsibilities such as doing the washing and prepping healthy meals as you recover, creates a sense of self mastery and competence. Achieving small successes in establishing your routine will help restore self confidence. Living an ordered life support recovery.

A routine can ease anxiety and stress

A routine can help you deal with a stressful situation in healthy ways. The twists and turns of life can be highly unpredictable and maintaining a structured existence, including attending daily meetings, can provide an anchor that helps weather life’s storms.

Recovery routine ideas

Set yourself up for success by getting your morning off to a great start

The moments after you first wake up are an ideal time to invest in some self care to set your intentions for the day – you could try some gentle stretching, or breathing or even take a few moments to reflect on something you feel grateful for, before starting the day properly.

Move well and eat well

There is mounting evidence that suggests exercising at a moderate intensity can help the recovery process.

Moderate exercise can encompass a bit of “huff and puff”, but should not be excessive or painful. Choose an activity that you enjoy whether it’s a run, walk, weights or yoga.

Writer and journalist, Michael Pollan, who penned the simple, yet powerful, “Food Rules” suggests “eating more plants” and “less of the cereals that turn your milk a different colour”. In simple terms, aim to eat fresh whole foods – plenty of fruits, vegetables, protein and dairy and avoid highly processed junk foods which have low nutritional value.

The combination of exercise and good nutrition are important for mental health. And planning and preparing healthy meals and partaking in exercise empower your confidence in your ability to take care of yourself. 

Make time for a meeting and connect with others

Attending an AA or NA meeting can provide you with invaluable support from others who understand what you’re going through.

A meeting can provide a safe space in which you can be honest about your addiction with other people. 

Being honest with your situation is an important step in the recovery process and allows you to gain insight into your past behaviours.

Check in with yourself too

Sometimes you also need to attend a “meeting of one”- that is sometimes you need to pause and check in with how you’re feeling.

Allow yourself to begin to slowly feel the rainbow of emotions you may have been trying to numb by using – and most importantly, if this is overwhelming and you’re feeling wobbly, seek help from your sponsor, rehab staff or a psychologist.

Make fun part of the recovery journey as well

Yes, recovery can be a serious business – however, learning what sparks joy for you is equally important.

Remember that addiction overloads reward circuits in the brain, so it may take a while for you to recalibrate – as it takes time for the brain and body to reverse the effects of addiction. 

This means you may not feel much emotion initially – but persist, you will be able to feel joy again.

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