How to Live a More Balanced Life

Estimated watch time: 6 mins


The more balance we can bring to our lives, the more we can reduce stress. A balanced life also helps increase resilience, which is important in recovery. Improving your health can help you live a more balanced life. A balance between exercise, nutrition, sleep, social connection and pleasure/rest can help you lower your chance of relapse and build a more meaningful life.

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There are lessons accompanying each video that you can access through our recovery portal, Swell or you can download, here. (Lesson 9)

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Professional webinars:

Relapse Workshop: Balanced Living

This lesson is about balanced living.

Stress can be directly related to having your basic areas in your life out of balance, and the more balance we can keep, we can decrease our stress and make it less likely that we will relapse, we will be less vulnerable to relapse.

So we can build our resilience by keeping the following things in balance. Exercise. Nutrition. Sleep. Social connection. Pleasure and rest. And keep in mind that we’re just trying to make tiny improvements in each of these areas in order to bring little by little, a little more balance to our life.

Exercise and movement releases endorphins and other feel good chemicals in your brain. It’s an energy booster. It improves circulation and improves the quality and regulation of your sleep.

So you want to look for ways that you enjoy moving your body. You don’t want exercise to be something you dread or don’t like doing, but you want it to be something that you enjoy and have fun with. So it can be something as simple as walking a few days a week. Play a sport if you like. Do some yoga. Join your local YMCA. There’s all kinds of fitness apps. If there’s something on there you like and you want to make sure you don’t really need rules, you just want to add some movement and enjoyment to your days.

Nutrition. You want a healthy diet. Which means that you’re eating fresh whole foods whenever possible with a balance of protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats. Now, keep in mind that if you keep your food balanced, you’re going to keep your moods more balanced. You want to learn to listen to your body’s cues for hunger, fullness and satisfaction.

It is very easy to start over eating when you’re trying to get sober. You want to take note about how you feel after eating certain foods. Everybody’s a little bit different. But do you feel better after eating it or do you feel worse? Or do you feel better for a little while? And then you start to feel uncomfortable in some way? Pay attention to your relationship with food and recognize whether you reach for certain foods when you’re not really hungry. And this can happen when we’re trying to satisfy an emotional need and we might want to use one of our coping strategies instead of food.

Diets that are high in sugar and processed foods can create a lot of imbalance in our emotions. They can bring depression and anxiety and they can impact our ability to maintain sobriety. So the more we can stay away from high sugar and processed foods, the more stable emotionally we will be.

Sleep is vital to recovery. When you are sleep-deprived, you are more prone to feeling irritable, critical of yourself and others, and impulsive, and you may have a harder time controlling your behavior. Most people need somewhere between seven and nine hours of sleep each night.

So some things that you can do to help you sleep. Eliminate light in your bedroom, especially from electronics. Eliminate sound if it bothers you. There might be noises better soothing and there might be noises that are bothersome and keeping you awake.

Limit the use of any screen for two hours before going to bed. This includes your phone, tablet readers and televisions.

Stay nourished and hydrated through the day. Exercise regularly, but not within three hours of bedtime, it’s too invigorating. No caffeine after 2:00 p.m. Everyone is a little bit different on this, but you should know your time.

Establish a relaxing bedtime ritual. Meditating, reading, yoga. The truth is just having the same thing that you do every night for 20 or 30 minutes before you go to bed can help your mind know that it’s time to relax.

Comfortable temperature. The ideal temperature is actually between 62 and 67 degrees for sleep. And if repetitive thoughts keep you awake, you should journal before bed so you can put them down and put them to rest.

Social supports. Research has shown that social supports may be as important to recovery as eating healthy and exercise is. Think about your relationships. They should fill you up rather than drain you. So do you genuinely enjoy the company of the people you’re spending time with? Or do you feel distracted by other things going on in your life? Are there other activities you’d prefer to be doing with your friends or loved ones? And if so, you can invite them to do that. Are you craving some alone time but pushing yourself to be social? We all have different needs in terms of being alone or being social. And you should honor that. And if you find yourself getting irritable because you’re around people too much, then give yourself a little more alone time. And if you find yourself irritable because you’re alone too much, then give yourself some more time with social connections. You want to take an honest look at what you need from your social supports, and that will help you to be able to take some time to make some needed adjustments.

And do what you love when you focus your energy on the things you care about. You experience life in a much richer and fuller way than when you focus on things that bother you. The kindest thing you can do for yourself and others around you is to live life in a meaningful and purposeful way. When you think about your favorite memories from when you weren’t using, what were you doing? Where were you? Who were you with? And what made that memory joyful?

And lastly, when it comes to your health, it’s important to take time to recharge and relax. It’s just as important as spending time doing activities. Allowing yourself to do nothing from time to time takes self compassion and awareness of your limits. We burn out when we push ourselves to be busy all the time. It’s important. If you need a nap, take a nap. Watch some mindless television shows. Lounge around in your PJ’s. Or lay outside in the sunshine. Relaxing helps you return to your daily activities with more energy and enthusiasm.

Thank you very much for joining us for this relapse prevention workshop.

Thank you for choosing The Recovery Village. If you or a loved one are struggling with mental health or substance abuse and would like to find out more about the programs we offer, please reach out to us directly at 855-387-3291.

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