We all find comfort in routines.
A routine acts as a safeguard for your mind, body, and soul when it keeps you from falling back on old habits by replacing them with new ones. Although following a tight daily or weekly schedule might not work equally well for everyone, that should not stop you from exploring different options until you find the right routine for your unique needs. There are countless ways to incorporate consistency and discipline into your daily life. Your peers and professional resources can help you through your experimental period as you learn what works best for you.
How Detailed Does My Routine Need to Be?
When asked to picture a routine, you may imagine having to follow rules that dictate your actions throughout each part of your day down to the minute. While detailed schedules may be useful for those who require heightened structure, the majority of people find that format to be stifling and counterproductive. Some individuals specifically prefer a more relaxed routine.
Whichever type of routine you choose, the important thing is to follow it consistently. If you only keep up with your routine once in a while, it will never really integrate into a pattern of behavior, making the strategy much less effective. That is not to say that your routine must be set in stone; you can adjust your schedule as needed to make sure that the process continues to work for in times of transition or when accounting for other unexpected twists in the journey of your life.
Sticking With Your New Routine
It is not always easy, and sometimes you may be tempted to scrap your new schedule when you are tired or frustrated. These moments are precisely when a routine can help you the most. The consistency of a set number of tasks and expectations can help move your day forward, even when it might feel like every other effort has stalled out. Small victories, such as completing a necessary minor chore, can be enough to give you a renewed sense of purpose and hope. By sticking with your new, healthy patterns, you can overcome emotional and psychological overcome road bumps on the road to recovery.
Four Helpful Building Blocks for Your New Routine
When you’re ready to tailor your daily routine to fit your individual needs, personality, and current recovery trajectory, there are as many options as there are ways to live your life. Four popular building blocks that often lead to success are listed below. Some ways in which anyone can make positive changes and develop new behaviors include:
1. Make a Daily To-Do List
Make a list of things you want to get done each day, including essential appointments like therapy and community meetings. The timeline for your checklist can be strict or just suggested, whichever feels more natural and will best help you stay on track. Tasks in a list form can make it easier for you to keep intrusive thoughts from setting your mind off on paths you would rather avoid. To-do lists are also useful for practicing holding yourself accountable.
2. Journal at a Set Time of Day
Some people find that journaling and other activities that can help your mental wellbeing are more effective if you set aside an intentional amount of time for them. By establishing a time slot dedicated to journaling, you allow yourself to set aside your worries and focus all your attention on this single task. There are several ways to “journal.” Examples include video or voice recordings of emotions and experiences, writing things down on paper, or using a phone or other smart device. They are all valid, so do whatever works for you. You can use the time you set aside to unwind, self-reflect, and challenge your thoughts to form an objective viewpoint on any challenging situations you may have encountered.
3. Take Time for Self-Care
A large portion of sober living can involve pressing forward in recovery by overcoming mental, physical, and spiritual hurdles. In between responsibilities, it is essential to take time to renew yourself on both spiritual and emotional levels. Effective self-care should be part of your daily routine, which will make it an automatic habit with time.
Self-care can come in many different forms, from taking time to make a wholesome meal to going out for a refreshing walk.
For some people, it can mean finding a community member to trust and confide in about your current stresses, and for it might mean spending time vegging out on the couch. By setting aside a block of time each day for self-care, you’ll have critical quiet time to calm your thoughts and refocus your spirit.
4. Improve Existing Skills or Learn New Ones
Staying active can make it easier for you to ignore urges and separate yourself from intrusive thoughts. You can choose to improve the skills you use for work, school, or volunteering opportunities you enjoy. Learning can take the form of informal online training or traditional in-person courses. The feeling of accomplishment that comes from mastering new abilities is a fantastic morale boost and can improve your motivation in other aspects of your life.
Having a comfortable daily routine leads to a variety of lasting benefits for a person in recovery. If you are used to a structured, orderly environment, creating schedules for yourself can ease the transition into the more chaotic nature of everyday life as you move through stages of recovery, while at the same time providing you with a chance to practice self-accountability. Routines can build confidence and self-esteem while allowing you to find new ways to make progress every single day. At Safety Net Recovery®, you can expect to be supported and encouraged to set effective routines. Our staff makes a point to get to know your individual needs and discuss new patterns that you might find helpful. Permit yourself to embrace changes that can stay with you as you build up a positive environment for yourself. If you would like to know more about Safety Net Recovery® and the services we offer, reach out today by contacting us online or by phone at (770) 432-9774.