If 2015 was a rollercoaster year, or the past two months of holidays has been a little stressful, you’re probably ready for a fresh start. Now is your chance. The holidays can be tough on recovery because you’re faced with more temptation, your regular routine is interrupted, and there is just a lot going on at one time. It can be easy to let yourself slip into a negative frame of mind when everything hasn’t gone perfectly. But resist this temptation by making a conscious effort to start 2016 off on a more positive note.
Start each day with a positive. No matter how the day before ended, each morning is a new start. Get up and spend a few minutes meditating to get yourself in a positive frame of mind and focus your thoughts. Practice some yoga or exercise to relieve any leftover tension you may be feeling and give yourself a rush of endorphins to boost your mood. You could also begin keeping a gratitude journal where you write down what you are grateful for. Each morning, take some time to jot down the positives. If you’re having trouble or feeling low, go back and read through some previous things you’ve written. You may come across some happy memories that make your day.
Ease into change if you’ve made New Year’s resolutions. You don’t have to jump in full force. Taking on too much at once can set you up for stress and disappointment. Start slowly and pick a few things to tackle. Running five miles every day, eating clean, or reorganizing the basement probably aren’t going to happen overnight. Start with smaller goals and work your way up. This way setbacks don’t seem as glaring and you build up your progress. You can make adjustments as you go to make changes more manageable. Have patience and realize that resolutions are goals you set for the whole year – they don’t have to be accomplished within the first month. When you step back and look at the bigger picture, it can be more motivating and less daunting.
Ask for help. If you know you’ve been struggling for a while, reach out for support. Consider talking to a therapist or attending more support group meetings. Being able to talk about your challenges and achievements and know that there are people who have your back can be encouraging. Also, commit yourself to saying no and delegating. You don’t have to take on everything by yourself. Let others share in the work and step up. You know what you can reasonably handle, so don’t bog yourself down. Make this the year where you achieve more balance and focus on your own wellbeing instead of always focusing on everyone else’s.
Live in the present. The past is past; you can’t do anything to change it. But you don’t have to let it ruin the future. Instead of worrying about what was or what will be, focus on what you can do now. Take care of today’s tasks before you fret about tomorrow’s. Enjoy the opportunities you have now with friends and family and make the most of these experiences. Taking pictures and keeping a journal can help you to slow down and appreciate what you have right in front of you.
Do something for others. Sometimes the best way to boost your own mood is to boost someone else’s. Find somewhere to volunteer this year and give back. Whether you’re sorting donations at the food bank, taking shelter dogs on walks, tutoring elementary students, or helping raise awareness for a cause close to your heart, it can brighten your spirits. Volunteering can give you a sense of purpose and help you feel like you’re making a difference. It also gives you something to look forward to. As you continue going, you can see how your hard work is paying off and changing lives.
Mental health is an important part of recovery. You want to keep a positive outlook and reduce risk of depression. Your thoughts and feelings can play a big role in your ongoing relapse prevention efforts. Choose to start the New Year off on a positive note by making a conscious effort to look on the bright side this year. You could also talk to members of your support group and find out what they do to keep a positive attitude.
Don’t let addiction hold you back in the New Year. Recovery is one thing you shouldn’t put off. Entering rehab now can help you set yourself on the right track for the rest of the year and for years to come. Contact Chapters Capistrano at 949-371-4198 to learn more about our inpatient rehab programs as well as seven- and 14-day detox programs. Make the choice to start 2016 differently.