When navigating the journey to sobriety, forming daily or nightly routines will help you stay on track. Routines also encourage healthy habits and give you a skill set to fall back on when triggers or other challenges arise. Instead of having to make daily decisions about what to do or when you will do it, a routine conditions you to form healthy responses that become almost automatic over time.
A nightly routine may be beneficial because of the importance of sleep. Receiving enough quality sleep can have profound positive effects on your overall lifestyle, impacting both mental and physical health. Maintaining a routine of the activities you perform before bedtime, keeping the time you go to sleep consistent, and having a plan for the morning will help alleviate the stress that comes with making decisions during recovery.
Create a nightly routine that highlights your individualized needs. Many people need time to decompress after a long day at treatment or work, so blocking out transitional time to move in between tasks will help reduce your stress. Switching from a more mentally challenging task, like treatment or work, to something more simple such as cleaning up the house, may take a while for some people.
When creating your routine, try to understand what your individual transitional time needs are and picture what it will be like when you return home for the day. Some people like to shower during their transitional time, and others like to watch the news or read a good book. Recognizing this time is essential for self-care and will help you be your best self during future tasks.
Complete Environmental Tasks
After you have settled in and experienced some self-care, consider completing any environmental tasks that need to be done. Living situations are different for everyone, but this time might include doing laundry, washing dishes, taking out the garbage, or other cleaning tasks. Doing these tasks early in your nightly routine will make your space feel more comfortable and enjoyable as the evening continues. A clean environment has the power to foster a clean mindset.
Make Time for Mindfulness
Consider adding a daily mindfulness practice into your routine. Mindfulness is the ability to be fully present in a given moment and can be practiced through various actions, such as yoga, meditation, self-reflection, journaling, or reading self-help books. Journaling allows an opportunity to reflect on the day, to release concerns of things that could have gone better, and set new goals for the following day. Allowing this time to reflect and understand your thoughts is crucial so that you can reflect on the progress you’ve made and create more space for positive thoughts and feelings. Mindfulness can also take effect when calling a friend or family member and embracing quality conversation. Practicing mindfulness during the evening will help relieve anxiety and stress that may otherwise affect your thoughts when you lie down to sleep.
Fuel Your Body
At some point in your nightly routine, you will need to eat dinner. Consider using a period during the evenings dedicated to fueling your body with nutrients. This does not just have to be food-related but can also include taking supplements and other vitamins to help with immune system functioning and sleep. It can also mean taking a walk outside or heading to the gym to release some built-up energy. It is so important to engage in activities that promote your well-being and physical health during recovery.
When trying to get a good night’s rest, it is helpful to find a regular time that works to lie down and sleep every night and find a regular time to wake up in the morning. Maintaining a sleep schedule helps your body become energized and ready for the following day, working more efficiently the longer you maintain your sleep schedule. Try to set your schedule to allow yourself at least eight hours of sleep. Remember to factor in how long it takes for you to fall asleep from when you lie down and adjust your routine as needed.
Sleep should be enjoyable, so set up your sleep space in a way that brings you comfort. Adjust your room temperature, as too hot a room can interrupt your body’s natural cooling process, and too cold a room can make it difficult to fall asleep. Limit your screen time by turning off your TV at a certain time or setting your phone down early for the night. Sleeping in a dark, quiet space can help with insomnia and promote better quality sleep throughout the night. Try to avoid using your bed for anything else but sleep, so your body can identify and recognize the feeling of your bed with the action of sleep. This will also promote your quality of sleep.
Creating routines is a great way to help yourself stay on track during recovery. A nightly routine following work or treatment helps you stay productive, mindful, and safe. When creating your nightly routine, plan to set yourself up for a good night’s rest. This can start by acknowledging your personal transitional time when you return home, giving your body and mind time to adjust. Consider completing any demanding or cleaning tasks first so that you have the rest of your evening to turn inward and focus on comfort. Make time to reflect on your day, using mindfulness practices like meditation or journaling. Fuel your body with nutrients and physical activity before you finally lie down to rest. Lastly, create a sleep schedule that makes sense for you. At West Coast Recovery Centers, we use client-centered routines to help our patients make positive, lasting changes in their life. To find out more, give us a call at (760) 492-6509.