The way a person thinks about themselves and their world makes a huge difference in recovery. Changing thinking is as easy as changing perspective, but this is also very hard to do. People in recovery may be dealing with dual diagnosis challenges along with physical difficulties. Maintaining a positive outlook takes some time. This means restructuring a person’s thinking and way of behaving in recovery. Learn more about why restructuring time in a person’s day can help them in recovery and lead to better self-care practices.
Why Structure Matters
One of the challenges with recovery is dealing with structure. In an outpatient setting, a person may go to treatment on a certain schedule but still have free time to do things like go to work or spend time with family. In an inpatient setting, they have less freedom and flexibility. The structure of this supports their recovery until they leave rehab. Some people are okay with creating structure when they leave while others really struggle. The structure is important to an extent because a person in recovery cannot spend too much time alone or they might begin to backslide. They may also struggle with depression or other challenges when they are alone too much. Too rigid of a structure can be detrimental as it keeps people too focused on the regimen and does not leave free room for creativity, doing hobbies, or resting. There is a happy medium but it depends on each individual to work with their team of supporters, therapists, and others who can help them create the best plan of care.
One way people in recovery restructure their time is through meditation. They work on meditating for a healthier mind, body, and spirit. With practice, they begin to build a different way of looking at the world and their life in recovery. This also promotes positive thinking, restful energy, and finding a place of inner peace. Meditation is key for people in recovery who need some structure but also need to create restful moments in their schedule. Some ways that people incorporate meditation for self-care:
- Developing space in their schedule every day at the same time
- Finding a third space in their home, office, or a studio to meditate
- Downloading apps that help bring meditation into their schedule without having to go somewhere (or pay money)
- Listening to audiobooks, listening to podcasts, or reading content (books, blogs, etc) to help them meditate
- Getting a group of close friends to meet up to meditate together
Time is not just about spending every second at a recovery meeting, pouring over the 12-steps or working. It is also about taking time for self-care. Yoga has many benefits to this end. It helps tone muscles, support a healthy cardio system, and improves flexibility. Yoga helps people be mindful and fully engaged in the present moment. This will help the end goal of creating space for a long-lasting recovery. Yoga is also great for engaging with the community. People love to work out together, so yoga is a great way to do solo practice but also participate with others.
Create Space to Read
Reading is one way to promote positive self-growth and healing. It also provides a quiet respite from external sources of information coming from the television and the internet. Reading helps feed the brain and body but be wary of what is being fed into them. Positive and uplifting, or informational, the material is better than reading stuff that may bring a person’s mental state down. Reading from a pad, digital screen, or regular book all have positive effects. It is helpful to minimize scrolling and reading on social media to avoid overconsumption of negative information but it can be a way to engage with friends and loved ones who hang out and converse online.
Write Down Goals
Goals are important to focus on recovery. Time is going to slip away and before a person realizes, they will not have achieved what they wanted. This fog can keep going for a while as the brain and body adjusts in recovery. Writing down goals will help keep a person focused on what they need to do:
- Hobbies to pursue
- Work requirements or goals
- Reach goals
- Sobriety goals
- Personal goals
Some of these are important but it means setting aside time to accomplish them. This does not mean having minute by minute schedules laid out. This means working on a plan that will help a person find the support they need and find hope in the midst of that. A healthy recovery plan includes many elements like sobriety goals and how to grow in confidence and self-esteem. The more a person can work their recovery goals, the stronger they will be in recovery.
Treatment is a huge part of recovery. It only lasts a short time but is significant in impact. Discuss treatment options, sober living, and other ways to maintain a healthy recovery. Structuring one’s days around treatment is key at first, then transitioning to a structure that works however that person desires to move forward after treatment. Upfront, more structure is better, but some restructuring can help a person later find room for more self-care and less rigid planning around sober activities as they grow stronger in recovery.
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