words Al Woods
In the face of jarring COVID-19 quarantine procedure and devastating spikes in unemployment, this year has been a challenging year for all of us. While mental health is always important, it’s even more critical during trying times like this.
Whether you’re feeling depressed, anxious, overworked, or all-the-above, the good news is that there are plenty of things you can do to improve your mental state. Try implementing at least one of these mood-boosting tips, and you’ll find that with a little time and positivity, it can make hard times like these a little more bearable.
Kick unhealthy addictions to the curb
Has stress ramped up an unhealthy addiction? If we’re talking about excess caffeine or stress-eating, those are vices that you can tackle on your own with a little willpower and determination. But if we’re talking about drugs or alcoholism, you may need some professional help to get clean again.
When you’re ready to seek professional help to beat your addiction, start with a simple Google search like “Tampa area rehab centers” or “drug rehab near me.” Read through the reviews to assess which local rehab centers have the most positive patient feedback, then schedule an appointment to tour the facility. It’s important to find a place where you’ll feel comfortable and happy, especially if you’re undergoing in-patient treatment, so it’s okay to visit a few facilities before finding the right fit.
Exercise for at least 30 minutes a day
One recent study showed that only 20% of American adults get their daily amount of recommended exercise. What many people in recovery find is that exercise is one of the best ways to combat their addictive urges and impulses.
By exercising on a daily basis, patients are able to boost serotonin levels and encourage positive habits in their daily routine, rather than harmful habits such as substance abuse. Patients who exercise regularly also report that they have more energy throughout the day, which helps them feel better for hours after they finish their exercise. Experts even state that physical activity releases dopamine, the “feel-good” chemical in the brain. So exercising can also make you feel a lot better, even when coping with an addiction.
Schedule time each day to sharpen the saw
For those unfamiliar with the phrase “sharpening the saw,” this expression is defined as finding new ways to learn new skills, read new books, and collect new life experiences. When you’re fighting your addiction on a daily basis, it might not seem of utmost priority to spend the day sharpening your saw, but there’s actually nothing of greater importance in your recovery journey.
You never know what knowledge you can gain from sharpening your saw. A nugget of wisdom that you gain from reading a book, a meditation session, or even from talking to a stranger can be a helpful tool in freeing yourself from your addictive urges.
Learn the art of meditation
According to the New York Times, the practice of meditation can help you decrease the stress woven into your daily life, making you feel calmer and happier as you perform day-to-day tasks. This surge in endorphins is vital when it comes to entering recovery and staying dedicated to healing your addictive behaviors.
When starting a meditation session, many will find it difficult to silence their thoughts and settle into a peaceful state-of-mind. According to many meditation teachers, there’s no wrong way to meditate. What’s important is devoting the time each day to bring attention to your thoughts and your emotions for greater mental clarity. This practice has helped many in-recovery become more mindful and present in their daily lives, so they can address their addictive tendencies with an objective mindset.
Establish a consistent sleep routine to synchronize your circadian rhythm
Most adults, whether they’re in recovery or not, don’t get nearly enough sleep on a nightly basis. As a result, their productivity and quality of work suffer, as do their personal relationships and extracurricular hobbies.
If you aren’t getting enough sleep, there’s no way that you’re going to garner enough energy to conquer your addiction and make it through the recovery process. Completing a treatment program is going to take every ounce of strength you can muster. If your natural circadian rhythm is off due to irregular sleep patterns, this will deplete your energy levels for the day ahead.
Start and end each day by listing three things you’re grateful for
The experts all agree: strong people are grateful people. You’ll need every ounce of strength you can muster to achieve sobriety and recover from your addictions. You’ll be better equipped to endure the recovery process by taking a bit of time each day to write down three things for which you’re grateful, whether it’s family, friends, a career.
Even if you have to write down the same three things every day, do it. Consistency is key, and journaling won’t become a habit without repetition. As you list these three things, make sure that you really do feel a deep sense of gratitude for every item on the list. By actually basking in this sense of gratitude, you’ll not only feel better, but your list will be more impactful. Expressing gratitude is a great way to make it through the difficult periods of recovery, as you can refer to the items on the list during any bumps in the road.
Set daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly goals
It’s important to take recovery one day at a time. However, to achieve life-long sobriety and avoid relapse, you’ll need to set daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly goals for yourself. Setting daily goals will be especially helpful during your stay in a rehab center. You can also set weekly goals during this time, as well, if your care team has prescribed a stay of longer than two weeks.
You should also set weekly goals when you first return home. Once you’ve settled into your normal routine, you can start setting monthly goals soon after your stay at your rehabilitation center of choice. Quarterly goals, on the other hand, should be set about a month after you return home and get back into a new rhythm.
Surround yourself with positive friends who motivate you
Having a team of positive people around you is of the utmost importance when you’re recovering from an addiction. Even if that team consists of only one to three other people, recruiting a support group that you can depend on to act as a positive influence in your life can go a long way in keeping you on the straight and narrow.
If you handpick the right support group of friends, family members, or fellow substance-abuse sufferers who are deeply invested in your sobriety, they should have no problem doing their part to help you stay clean. Choose your support group carefully, otherwise, you may be misled by enablers.
Starting your recovery journey will be one of the most formative, life-changing, emotionally-wearing, and rewarding experiences of your life. Invest in your sobriety by incorporating these mindfulness exercises into your daily routine.