Schedules, appointments, tasks, groups and sobriety — how do you manage it all? Whether you’re currently in recovery or just beginning to overcome addiction, it can be difficult to find the right balance between work, life and recovery. For the approximately 10% of American adults currently in recovery, juggling responsibilities while trying to remain positive and sober proves to be challenging. Learn what you can do to effectively manage your life while in recovery.
4 Factors that Contribute to Successful Recovery
According to SAMHSA, there are four dimensions that contribute to a healthy, well-balanced life in recovery: community, purpose, home and health. Focusing on these four areas during recovery can promote success, improve your health and benefit others. Explore some practical ways to work on each of these dimensions.
Take Care of Your Physical and Emotional Needs
When you’re in recovery and trying to find a good balance in life, it’s impossible to achieve your goals if neglecting your physical and emotional needs. Some ways you can support your emotional and physical health include:
- Get plenty of rest. Lack of sleep contributes to irritability, poor concentration and an inability to function throughout the day. Additionally, poor sleep can have a negative impact on recovery. Getting plenty of rest is essential to maintaining the energy you need to balance work, recovery and life.
- Eat a balanced diet. A busy schedule can be the enemy of a balanced diet. It’s easy to rely on fast food, microwavable dinners and foods that contain high amounts of fat, salt or sugar to get you through the day. However, doing so can deplete your energy levels and affect your ability to concentrate. Try keeping fruit or vegetables with you throughout the day to satisfy your snacking needs and focus on lean protein, whole grains, vegetables and healthy starches for larger meals.
- Exercise regularly. You don’t need a fancy gym membership or equipment to keep your body in shape. Carve out 15 or 30 minutes a day to walk, swim, lift weights (or gallons of water) or ride a bike to keep your body’s metabolism regulated and improve focus. If you have physical limitations that prevent exercise, talk to your doctor to explore your options. There is always something you can do to keep your body healthy.
- See your doctor. Whether you have existing health issues or not, it’s a good idea to maintain regular contact with your doctor to ensure your physical health is appropriately managed. For example, issues like uncontrolled high blood pressure, chronic pain or diabetes can have a negative effect on your quality of life and progress in recovery.
- Participate in counseling. Going through the process of recovery and finding the right balance in life is easier when you have personal support. Engage in individual counseling to focus on your personal emotional needs and gain positive feedback about your progress. Staying proactive when it comes to your emotional well-being is a proven way to support a balanced lifestyle.
Spend Time on You
It’s easy to neglect yourself when you’re feeling overwhelmed with responsibility, but taking time out to do something you enjoy alleviates stress and increases life satisfaction. Consider adding one or more of the following activities to your weekly routine:
- Yoga or meditation. For thousands of years, yoga and meditation have been thought to improve mood and enhance overall health. Yoga ranges from beginner to advanced levels, which is exciting if you’re someone who likes to improve upon a skill. Alternatively, meditation can be done anywhere for varying lengths of time and requires little skill.
- Creative hobbies. Painting, drawing, singing, dancing, scrapbooking, photography – the list goes on and on. Spending an hour or more a week engaging in a creative activity helps calm your mind, keep you busy and, over time, sharpen your skills in that area.
- Team sports. Whether playing sports with friends or a community group, engaging in physical activity is a good way to have fun while staying in shape. Indoor facilities, like those at the YMCA, make it possible to get involved in a sport regardless of the weather outside.
- Journaling. An easy and nearly cost-free way to spend time on yourself is to journal. Whether you do it daily, weekly or whenever you feel like it, journaling helps release both positive and negative thoughts, provides an outlet to express yourself and serves as a road map of your progress. In addition to writing out your thoughts, journaling can be used with the purpose of setting and tracking goals.
Invest in Others
Sometimes the best way to improve balance in your own life is by becoming a blessing to someone else’s. If you and your treatment team agree that you’re ready for this step, create space in your schedule to offer support to others or volunteer your time. A few options to invest time in others include:
- Be a resource for someone else. If you’re at a point in recovery where you can be a resource to others just starting their journey to sobriety, being a resource for them is a great way to provide practical support, empathy and advice.
- Volunteer for your favorite cause. Are you passionate about animals, underserved populations or a particular organization? Reach out to the organization and schedule an hour every one or two weeks (or more, if you have time) to assist with the charity’s immediate needs.
- Participate in a charitable event. Life can get busy, so you may not have time to dedicate to regular volunteer work. Special charitable events, like cause-related walks or donation drives, provide a great opportunity to support your community without making an ongoing commitment.
- Spend time with a loved one in need. Investing in others doesn’t always require a formal organization or charity. Sometimes, simply spending time to help a family member or friend in need can make all the difference in the world.
Control Your Environment
As anyone in recovery will attest, the type of environment you’re in at any point in time can either support or hinder your recovery goals. Part of achieving balance between work, life and recovery is controlling the environments in which you find yourself. Do your best to:
- Avoid stressful situations. Stress can be a trigger for anyone and if you’re in recovery, avoiding triggers that might lead to a relapse should be a priority. Additionally, experiencing stress can have a physical effect on your body and exacerbate mental health issues.
- Engage in positive social relationships. Choose to be around people who offer support, provide encouragement and respect your goal of maintaining sobriety. Positive social relationships help remind you that life is not simply about work and responsibilities; it is also meant to be enjoyed.
- Create a peaceful, safe home environment. The size of your home doesn’t matter. What does matter is whether you feel safe and serene within it. Since you will spend the majority of your downtime at home, make it somewhere you actually want to be. This means something different for everyone, but you can add a personal touch to your home by decorating, using soft lighting or adding comfortable pillows to your seating area — anything that makes you more comfortable and turns your home into a safe haven.
Get Support Today
Balancing work, life and recovery can be overwhelming, but there’s help available for you now. Contact Outpatient Services at (844) 211-7944 if you or someone you love needs assistance. Our trained substance abuse professionals are available 24/7 to provide complimentary, confidential consultations.