It’s the start of a new year, which means it’s time for resolutions. Countless individuals are purchasing new gym memberships, cleaning out their apartments and otherwise vowing to kick bad habits to the curb.
For people who are in recovery for substance addiction, the idea of starting a whole new year can feel daunting. Here are five resolutions to help you stay sober in the coming year.
Gym memberships aren’t only for people who want to lose weight. Regular physical activity can work wonders for a person’s mental health. Aerobic exercises such as jogging, swimming, cycling and walking have all been found to reduce anxiety and depression.
Exercise isn’t limited the gym, either — gardening, dancing and wandering around the neighborhood are all excellent ways to keep your body healthy and active.
2.Get enough sleep
Good sleeping habits (also known as good sleep hygiene) can make a world of difference when it comes to improving mental health. Some examples of good sleep hygiene include:
- Figuring out how much sleep you need (and sticking with it!).
- Going to bed the same time every night.
- Waking up the same time every day.
- Avoiding tech in the bedroom, including both the computer and television.
- Creating morning and nighttime rituals.
It’s easier to stay mentally healthy (and therefore sober) when you’re not dealing with the crankiness and jumbled thinking associated with sleep deprivation.
3.Develop new interests
One of the difficult things about getting — and staying — sober is redefining your free time. Hours that were once filled with drug use are now empty and may feel meaningless. Familiar locations may be tarnished with unpleasant memories of your addiction. You might need to find new friends who are willing to engage in sober activities.
Were you always interested in knitting? Give it a go! Did you play soccer in high school but haven’t kicked a ball in years? See if there are any intramural teams in your area. Find things that make you happy and pursue them.
4.Talk about your feelings
Recovering from addiction can be a deeply isolating experience. Although it can be tempting to hide the extent of your suffering from your loved ones, don’t be afraid to voice your insecurities, your struggles and your triumphs. By communicating your feelings with others, you gradually begin to build a support network that can keep you motivated during your recovery.
5.Improve your diet
Maintaining a healthy diet isn’t just good for your body — it’s also good for your mind. Researchers have found that diets full of high-fat dairy, fried, refined and sugary foods significantly increase the risk of depression. Vitamin and nutritional deficiencies also have a way of mimicking depression. Talk to your doctor about ways in which you can eat right for the new year.
Sovereign Health of California provides patients with treatment programs designed to address addiction and mental illness by treating them at their source — the brain. From the moment our patients contact us, we work with them to ensure that we know what they need and can provide a solution. Our revolutionary cognitive retraining program helps patients regain the skills they need for healthy living in the real world. For more information, please contact our 24/7 helpline.
Written by Courtney Lopresti, M.S. neuroscience, Sovereign Health Group writer