Entering recovery, we are encouraged to develop new habits, new hobbies, challenging moments of boredom, new mindsets, and new personal accountability levels. However, probably the most fundamental change, underpinning all other changes, is developing a routine.
Why Routines Matter
Addiction is all-encompassing, as either drugs or alcohol become the central focus of a person’s day. They pay little regard to important, health-giving routines, including sleep, healthy eating, and exercise.
Setting up a regular routine system helps replace an erratic approach to everyday activities with structure, consistency, and dependable habits. It can help make sense of a crazy day, providing a sense of security when someone is faced with overwhelming tasks or responsibilities.
Although establishing a routine is essential, there is no “one size fits all” approach. We understand that we all need to sleep, begin our day, eat nutritious food, and do something constructive with our time. However, how we go about those things is mostly up to us.
Sleep Through It
Sleep is one of the most important things we can do when maintaining healthy lifestyles and energy levels. A lack of sleep affects our cognitive or thinking processes, making it difficult to function at optimum levels. Here are some tips about making a routine for sleeping:
- Choose a regular and realistic time to get to bed
- Take a relaxing shower or bath
- Try to switch off digital devices before bed
- Drink some relaxing herbal tea before turning off the light
Since it is connected directly to our recovery, eating quality food helps replenish lost nutrients and heal damaged health. This is important because when we remove toxins during the detox process, our body fights back with cravings for the thing we are trying to eradicate. Sticking to regular meal-times can help equip our body to control those cravings. Here are some mealtime tips:
- Plan ahead for meals.
- Choose an area of your home that you designate for eating. If you have a dining room, use it for more than a place to throw junk onto the table. You wouldn’t throw junk mail, purses, and other items onto your bed and leave them there.
- Think of your dining room as a place to refuel and recharge. A place to relax, enjoy food, and reflect on the day’s activities. Make it pleasant to use. A small corner in an apartment is every bit as good as a full-size dining room.
- Check out new recipes, and if possible, shop for specific ingredients. Having a structure for our shopping trip can be useful.
Stretch It Out
Establishing an exercise routine can be challenging since it requires discipline. Our body has to sleep. If we don’t sleep, we become ill, irritated, and eventually, our body will take over, and we will fall asleep. Similarly, if we don’t eat, we may feel okay for a while, but eventually, we will be so hungry we have to eat something.
Exercise, however, is more discretionary. Skip out on exercise, and what happens? Generally not much. It is only when we start exercising we realize its benefits on our body. With exercise, the key is finding something we like and can stick to. We don’t need gym memberships or expensive equipment. Walking thirty-minutes each day will be beneficial. The key is picking something you enjoy that does not feel like a chore.
When we think about establishing routines in eating and sleeping, exercise can actually help accomplish that. Even the walk outdoors can help us sleep better and make us more mindful of the food we put into our bodies. When it comes to exercise:
- Pick an activity you enjoy.
- Start slowly and don’t overdo it.
- If you are too busy to schedule a straight 30 minutes, maybe do three ten-minute spots per day.
- The point is to do something that works for you!
Probably the most fundamental change—underpinning all other changes—is the development of a routine. Establishing regular routines helps replace an erratic approach to everyday habits with structure, consistency, and dependable habits. Addiction is all-encompassing, with the desire for drugs or alcohol being the central focus of any given day. When we are dealing with an addiction, we pay little regard to important, health-giving routines during those moments, including sleep, healthy eating, exercise, and leisure. Developing a routine that works can make sense of a crazy day, providing substance when faced with overwhelming tasks or responsibilities. Surrounded by the Rocky Mountains’ inspiring landscape, the Detox Center of Colorado offers a solution-based transitional residence program aimed at accountability and recovery. We look forward to helping you explore the range of supportive treatment and aftercare options available to you. Call the Detox Center of Colorado at (303) 952-5035. It may be the best thing you do for yourself today.