New Year, New You: 10 Simple Ways to Improve Your Health and Wellness in Recovery in 2017
If you are currently clean and sober as you read this, congratulations! You have done the heavy lifting, made the huge transformation, and succeeded at changing your life for the better just by putting drugs and alcohol in the past and committing to recovery. It’s time to give yourself a break and do something simple for once – one easy thing that improves your health and wellness, makes your life better, and contributes to your ability to stay sober, happy, and healthy.
Here are 10 to choose from:
1. Hydrate. This one really could not be easier, and it’s great for you. Your body needs water to function yet too often we deprive it of the amount it needs. The result is lagging energy, low mood, and a decreased ability to handle stress – all of which can contribute to the urge to relapse. You can increase your fluid intake by drinking a glass of water first thing when you wake up in the morning and drinking a full glass at every meal. Then, carry around a large water bottle with you. If you drain the water bottle twice in addition to drinking a full glass at other points in the day, you are fully hydrated.
2. Breathe. Check. Already doing it. The goal is to take the time every now and then to do nothing but breathe. Whether you choose to sit still, walk, practice yoga, or try tai chi, all you have to do is focus on breathing in deeply followed by exhaling for even longer than the inhale. Doing this for a few cycles can automatically calm you down and make you feel more peaceful, relaxed, and ready to handle whatever comes your way.
3. Eat a vegetable every day. If you currently eat almost no vegetables, then eating one per day is a great easy task. Change it up and make it a different one every day to get different nutrients, and use it as a replacement for fries or another unhealthy staple in your daily diet. If you already eat vegetables regularly, strive for five servings every day.
4. Laugh. Humor is important, and when we are busy focusing on the woes of the past or worrying about the future, we sometimes forget to just enjoy where we are today. Watch a funny cat video online, hang out with funny friends, read a funny book, and find time to enjoy yourself every day.
5. Sleep. This is another easy task that you already do daily and is hugely important to your ability to stay sober. Getting good sleep every night can improve your physical as well as your mental health. It will give you time to rest, repair, and ready yourself for whatever may come.
6. Move. You do not have to train for a marathon to get the benefits from just making sure you move around a little bit every day. If you are not interested in working up a sweat, start by just standing for a while if you are often sedentary. Park far from the store to get in a short walk. Take the stairs. Pace while you talk on the phone or watch TV. Dance to your favorite tunes. Just get moving.
7. Read. If you are looking for a positive way to escape, pick up a great novel. If you want to laugh, a funny memoir may fit the bill. If you’d like to learn something new, a scientific exploration of a favorite topic or a reflection on an interesting period of the past may be a good fit. It’s a good way to stay busy and keep your mind active.
8. Spend time with good people. Go get coffee with a good friend you haven’t seen in a while or make a new friend at a meeting or work. No one is an island, and while it may sometimes feel like it is far simpler to stay to yourself and avoid the drama and hassle that can come with the wrong relationships, it is important to connect with others and build healthy, positive relationships.
9. Give yourself a break. You are often one of your harshest critics, and you can choose to give yourself a break when things go wrong or you don’t quite reach an achievement you were striving for. Love yourself, respect yourself, and trust that you are everything you need to be right now in this moment.
10. Stay sober. Okay, so this one isn’t always so easy, but if you are already doing it, keep doing what you are doing to continue it all the way through 2017. Meet with your therapist. Meet with your sponsor. Sponsor someone else. Volunteer. Check in with yourself. Try out new therapies. Ask for help when you need it. Keep getting treatment for ongoing mental health issues or physical disorders. Put your recovery in front of everything else in your life and make sure that every choice you make in the new year serves your ability to stay sober.
What are your goals for 2017? What simple choices will you make to feel better and healthier the whole year through?