Everyday Tips for Your Recovery

What is Addiction Part 8: Helpful, Everyday Tips for Your Recovery

Estimated watch time: 8 mins 35 secs


When you’re in recovery, it can take some time and experimentation to find what helps you cope, overcome challenges and avoid relapse. What works for one person may not work for another.

Some activities explored in this video include journaling, developing a healthy sleep routine and exercise.

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Other Helpful Tips

This lesson will provide you with some other helpful practices for your recovery.

So it’s important for all of us to learn a variety of ways of coping and challenging times because no one solution will work for everyone and no one solution is going to work in every situation. So we all have to practice different things and figure out what works for us and what is going to work best for us in each of our situations and scenarios.

So journaling is something that can be a great way to help release pent up feelings. It can be used to help you focus on what went well in your day. Our mind often thinks about the negative things and we want to remember what went well as opposed to what didn’t go well.

I’m also going to talk about sleep a little bit because sleep is essential to maintaining sobriety and stress reduction. All of us likely need to get more sleep than we’re getting.

And then also recovery needs to be fun. So finding ways to add more fun into your life will help you enjoy being sober.

For journaling, you can use our free Journaling feature in your portal.

Some example journaling prompts are:

  • I felt good about.
  • Today I connected with.
  • Today I learned.
  • Right now I am feeling.
  • Today is different than yesterday because
    Today my sources of support were.
  • And today I was accepting of.

Now you’ll notice that the vast majority of these are positive focused. And that’s so that we do take time each day to look at what went well in our day.

So sleep improvement, getting sufficient sleep can help you regulate your emotions and greatly improve your ability to sustain recovery. The Harvard Medical School Division of Sleep Medicine in 2009 outlined the following tips for improving sleep. You don’t have to do all of these, but it’s important to know which of these might be helpful for you. And if you can do them all, that would be the greatest success.

So the first is to avoid caffeine, alcohol, nicotine or other chemicals that interfere with sleep. Some people are more impacted by these drugs than other people. And you’ll need to know what that’s like for you and you might just practice. What happens if I don’t have any caffeine at 2:00? What happens if I don’t have it after 12? And also, nicotine can also be very stimulating. Any nicotine cigarettes or nicotine products can also make it difficult for us to sleep that night.

So you want to make your bedroom a little more sleep friendly. You want it to be dark and quiet and cool for sleep inducement. So is there anything you can do to make your bedroom darker? This is why the hotels often have the blackout shades. If you can not adjust your window blinds or add thick curtains to decrease outside light, earplugs and sleep maks can really help to decrease sound and light. If your mattress or pillows are more than 10 years old, you might need to get new ones in order to help you sleep. If your pets keep you awake at night or wake you up early in the morning, you might want to think about having them sleep somewhere else. And electronics. Those blue lights really have an impact on us. So blue lights two hours before going to bed can cause us to stay awake. You might even be somebody who sleeps with the TV on that has an impact on how deeply you sleep.

So think about if you can move the TV or computers to another area of the house and turn them off at some point before going to bed. And the goal is to make your bedroom a sleep sanctuary for long term recovery.

So you want to establish a calming pre sleep habit. If you do the same thing for 20 minutes or so before you go to bed every night, it helps your body to know that that’s something that you’re getting ready to do. And this might be that you’re reading a book or a magazine. You practice some sort of mindfulness exercise. You do a little yoga or meditation, or do your journaling. A way of kind of putting things to rest before you go to bed and then go to bed when you’re tired.

And also, if you’re tossing and turning and having trouble sleeping, you generally want to get out of bed. It’s not good to lay there and toss and turn. So if you get up, if you’re not falling asleep after 20 minutes, you get up, do something a little bit relaxing and then come back to bed when you’re sleepy again. And then also rotate the face of your clock or your phone away from you. They find that staring at the clock actually makes it more difficult sleep. You start to panic about what time it is and how much longer you have to sleep.

So take advantage of natural light every day. Make a habit of opening the blinds in your bedroom or anywhere you are in the day, if you get some sunshine and absorb some vitamin D, it helps you to be able to sleep at night. Allow yourself to have a regular sleep cycle. We call this circadian rhythm. If you generally go to bed around the same time every night and wake up around the same time every day, you’re more likely to get a deep, restful sleep. Your body has an internal clock and it’s actually more important that you wake up at the same time, then you go to bed at the same time, though, both are ideal and it’s important to try and keep this the same during the week as it is on the weekends.

You want to drink enough water in the day so that you’re not dehydrated. That makes it difficult to sleep. But you also want to make sure you don’t drink too much for about an hour or so before going to bed, so you’re not woken up with the need to go to the bathroom.

And you’ll feel better when you exercise. So if you can take some time to exercise in your day, more days than not, then that will really help your sleep. You just don’t want to have worked out within three hours of bedtime.

So think about which of these practices you might be able to incorporate to improve your sleep habits. And it’s also something that you can experiment. What happens if I do this, but I don’t do that and see what you find is helpful to you. Most people need between seven and nine hours of sleep every night.

People in recovery need to find healthy ways of experiencing joy and fulfillment. When people stop doing pleasurable things, their mood tends to get worse, which makes them more vulnerable to addictive behaviors. And as addictive behaviors take over. Less than less time is devoted to doing enjoyable activities. So as you begin to think about how you’d like to incorporate pleasant activities in your life, keep the following suggestions in mind.

We have a long list of things that you can add in. Be sure that you select activities carefully. You don’t want to choose anything that might trigger a craving or a temptation. And the goal is to create a balance between things you enjoy doing and things that you do to fulfill responsibilities. So there’s an important difference between the two. You want to make sure these are simple things, easy for you to do and not anything complicated. You want to make sure there are things that you will actually do.

So in order to increase your chances of actually getting around to doing pleasant activities. Schedule them, actually put them on your calendar. It’s more likely that you’re going to do it. When you schedule pleasant events, consider your most risky times of day. So remember, we talked about those high risk equations, whether that’s morning for you, lunchtime, evening, weekend, after the kids go to bed, whatever it might be for you. And if you can put in some of these activities during that time, you’ll be doing something fun and you’re less likely to be thinking about using.

So keep in mind that your assumptions about whether you’ll enjoy particular activity may be wrong. You might find that you enjoy things more than you ever expected to. So it’s important to try some new things now and then.

Spend time with family. Go to the beach, make a gift for someone. Do a puzzle. Take a class. Do some volunteer work. Read something enjoyable. Take a dance class. Go on a date. Go for a bike ride. Call someone you like. Do some gardening. Listen to music. Watch something on TV. Make a bouquet of flowers. Go to the theater. Go to a religious activity. Play a musical instrument. Get a massage. Write a poem. Go to an aquarium. Make jewelry. Play with a pet. Take some photographs.

Can you identify some things in here you would like to try?

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