The Importance of Positive Routines in Your Recovery Journey

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The early recovery phase is an exciting and challenging time, but it’s important to prioritize your recovery so that you do not fall back into old habits. This is why having a structured routine is a predictor for success.

Positive routines allow you to introduce healthy habits into your schedule, promoting a life of sobriety. At first, these new habits may seem hard to implement—foreign in fact—but it does get easier. Eventually, your mind and body will get used to the consistency, making it easier to maintain a new, healthy lifestyle.

Let’s learn more about the importance of having positive routines in recovery and some of the habits to consider.

Why Routines are Important in Recovery

Routines are important for adults and children alike. The right routine can improve your mental health, boost your immunity and lower your stress levels. While some people associate routines with being boring and repetitive, it’s this consistency that makes them comfortable and familiar, allowing you to be productive in your days.

If having a routine is important for all adults and children, imagine what it can do for someone in recovery! The first few months after drug and alcohol rehab can be a challenge, as you’re learning how to exist in the world without the comfort of drugs or alcohol. If you don’t change your routine or implement healthy measures into your life, it will be easier to slip back into old habits.

Here are the reasons why you should have a positive routine in recovery:

  • Build healthy habits. When you were using drugs or alcohol, you probably didn’t have a healthy lifestyle with nutritious meals, exercise and restful sleep. Now that you are sober, you’ll want to initiate new routines that support sobriety. Over time, you’ll build healthy habits that are easier to stick to.
  • Prevent boredom. Boredom is a trigger for release, as it leaves open-ended hours in the day to reminisce and fantasize about substances. While it’s important to have some down time in your day, you also want this time to be structured. Having a consistent routine ensures that you are using your time wisely.
  • Create a new normal. Now is the time to overwrite your old habits with new ones. The only way to follow through with new, healthy habits is to create a new normal. This new normal should involve healthy eating, consistent sleep and regular activity.
  • Increase feelings of control. Addiction is a debilitating disease that takes away your self-esteem and self-confidence. Fortunately, you can gain some of this back by making positive changes that provide you with a sense of control over your life.
  • Boost mental health and well-being. When you lead a healthy lifestyle, you support optimal health and well-being. Start by celebrating your victories, easing stress with mindfulness and meditation and increasing self-awareness.

As you can see, having a positive and consistent routine is an excellent way to maintain recovery, learn new hobbies, make wholesome relationships and prevent relapse.

Habits that Promote Consistency and Structure

Having a healthy routine isn’t about keeping busy every second of the day. Instead, it’s about creating a schedule that makes you feel good and supports your physical and mental well-being. Some days will be harder than others, but stick with it and you will be successful in building new habits.

Here are some healthy habits that promote sobriety and structure:

  • Consistent sleep. Get enough sleep, even on the weekends. This will recalibrate your internal clock and give your body enough time to rest and repair itself. Most people need about 8 hours of sleep. If you’re struggling to get this, talk to your doctor or recovery team. Sleep disorders can increase your risk for relapse.
  • Balanced meals. Eating healthy foods supplies your body with essential vitamins and minerals, which you need for energy, immunity and wellness. When you eat a balanced diet that consists of whole-grains, lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, you should also notice clearer skin, more energy and less brain fog.
  • Regular exercise. If you’re not used to exercising, start small, such as with a 20-minute walk in your neighborhood. Exercise keeps the body healthy, makes it easier to cope with stress and releases feel-good chemicals in the brain. As you get more used to exercising, consider hiking, strength training or yoga. Doing these activities with a group also gets you social time!
  • Self-care. You don’t need to occupy every second of your time. Leave time in your schedule to focus on yourself. You can use this time to meditate, read a book, watch your favorite TV series or listen to your favorite album. You should feel happy and relaxed when engaging in these activities.
  • Stress management. Finally, make sure that you have tools to cope with stress. If you don’t deal with stress, it can build up and cause depression, anxiety or substance use. Breathing exercises, mindfulness or talking to a friend are all great ways to relieve stress.

Pura Vida Recovery in Santa Rosa, CA treats drug and alcohol use disorders. We not only provide treatment in the form of medication and therapy, but we also teach our clients the essential skills needed to succeed in recovery. Creating a healthy, structured routine is one of them! To learn more about our programs, contact our team today.