Spring brings with it a number of little shifts in our day-to-day experience. There are more daylight hours as compared to winter. The weather warms up, and flowers begin to dot the landscape. Everything feels brighter, and people begin to come outside, open up their houses, and reconnect with each other.
It is also the season to embark on big spring cleaning ventures, taking the opportunity provided by the weather change to clean out the car or the garage, and air out the house. This rejuvenation can make everything feel new again, and there is no reason why you cannot apply the same principles to your recovery.
Ready to give your recovery a reboot, clean out the cobwebs, and shake things up a little bit? Now is the time. Reboot your recovery in a few simple steps:
Have you been putting work first recently? Hibernating to watching season after season of your favorite shows on Netflix? Compulsively scrolling through the social media apps on your phone?
Now is the time to change up your priorities, from how you fill your downtime to the focus of your schedule. Put your recovery back at the top of the list and rearrange other activities around that. When you lay out your schedule for the next few weeks, start by ensuring that you:
- Meet with a personal therapist.
- Go to 2-7 support group meetings.
- Attend holistic therapy sessions.
- Meet with a sponsor and/or sponsee.
- Spend time with people from recovery outside of therapy sessions or group meetings.
Every day, the focal point should be on engaging with your recovery in some way. In some cases, this may require you to change up your work schedule, rearrange time spent with friends, or switch up your workouts. The result will be a new schedule that is refreshing to you and your recovery.
2. Change your diet.
What you eat has a huge impact on how you feel and function every day, and many people choose the springtime to do a little internal spring cleaning. While it is not necessary to engage in a lengthy juice cleanse or a highly regimented liquid detox, you can drop processed and fast foods from your diet, and replace them with fresh fruits and vegetables – lots of them. You will find that healthier eating, while not necessarily fun during the first few days, will ultimately help you to have more energy, sleep better, and feel better overall. When your quality of life and sense of wellbeing are balanced, it is far easier to manage stressors – both acute and chronic – and avoid relapse as a result.
If you are not ready for a major overhaul of your diet, you can make some small changes that can add up to big results, like:
- Shop only on the perimeter of your grocery store rather than buying processed foods that are usually kept on the center aisles.
- Make sure all your snacks are fruits or vegetables.
- Cover half your plate at each meal with vegetables and fruit.
- Bring your lunch or breakfast with you to work rather than eating out.
- If you have to eat a meal out, grab a to-go salad from the grocery store and picnic outside. It is spring, after all.
3. Try a new holistic therapy.
Have you ever thought about trying tai chi? What about making meditation a regular thing, even if only for 10 minutes a day? Want to try hot yoga? Get a massage once a week? Incorporate aromatherapy into your daily commute or your bedtime routine?
Holistic therapies can amplify your recovery, adding a new dimension to your experience and helping you to grow spiritually and emotionally, which in turn will empower you to stay sober when faced with triggers for relapse. Because there are so many to choose from, your spring “cleaning” can include trying a bunch of different options, or choosing your favorite and incorporating it into your daily schedule.
4. Create a new goal for your recovery.
Depending on your past experience in addiction, the current challenges you are facing, and/or where you would like to be in your recovery in the future, you can shake things up in your recovery by making some new recovery goals. This can include:
- Working on an important relationship in therapy sessions
- Working the 12 Steps or a specific step
- Connecting with a volunteer position that allows you to give back to your community
- Finding work that is meaningful and/or removes triggers for relapse from your work environment
- Addressing the effects of past trauma through mental health treatment
New goals can breathe new life into your recovery this spring.
5. Enjoy yourself.
Recovery does not have to be all work and no play, and spring is a great time to find the fun in your recovery schedule. You can find ways to enjoy yourself while making progress in recovery at the same time. For example, you can:
- Go out for coffee with people from your home group.
- Reconnect with people you met during treatment by attending an alumni event.
- Participate in sports therapy, outdoors or adventure therapy, dance therapy, or another artistic and interactive therapy experience that will enhance your recovery.
- Read a book, watch a documentary, or attend an art exhibit about recovery.
How will you “spring clean” your recovery this year?