Even though there are several dozen competing treatment models for substance use disorder (SUD), nearly all of them emphasize the importance of building and maintaining positive routines throughout the recovery process.
Whether someone gets treated as part of a residential or outpatient rehab program, chances are the importance of structure and routine will be drilled into them throughout the process. In programs that offer more holistic, long-term approaches to treatment, they may even emphasize the importance of maintaining good habits even after the program.
This is an especially important point, given that it takes a minimum of three months for individuals to recovery from SUD, including milder cases. The process often takes much longer for more severe cases. Unfortunately, most rehab programs do not last as long as most people need to fully recover from SUD. This means that after the initial part of the program, most of the responsibility for recovery will fall on the patient themselves.
Being able to develop good habits during the early part of SUD recovery can be a major predictor of long-term success. Below are a few crucial habits that will help recovering individuals improve their chances of achieving a full recovery. If you need a list of Dallas drug and alcohol rehabs that offer holistic treatment approaches, get in touch with our team at Dallas Drug Treatment Centers.
1.) Keeping a regular sleep schedule
Sleeping too much or too little can both be catastrophic to your mental and physical health. It can also leave you feeling depressed or irritable. When you don’t feel good, you will be less prepared to make good decisions, including ones that help you avoid a serious relapse.
Everyone is different, but most people need between 7-9 hours of sleep each day. Try to make sure that you go to bed and wake up at the same times each day, including on weekends. This will help prevent you from slipping into unhealthy sleeping patterns while allowing you to remain productive.
2.) Making time to meditate daily
Today, it’s understood that meditation (and a related practice, mindfulness) helps us remain calm and focused throughout the day. But while this should already be a compelling reason for recovering individuals to try meditation, there’s now a mounting body of evidence that it can directly aid in helping the brain heal.
Meditation has been shown to aid in neuron growth, which can be instrumental in helping the brain heal faster from defective connections such as those formed by substance misuse.
Many studies seem to suggest that 20 minutes of meditation is all that it takes to get most of the benefits. Some transcendental meditation advocates suggest going for two 20 minutes sessions daily. Thankfully, meditation can also be incorporated into exercises like running or yoga, and even such activities as active music listening.
3.) Getting at least 2-5 hours of exercise a week
Exercise is now a go-to supplemental therapy for SUD. Moderate amounts of cardio, strength, and aerobic exercise let recovering individuals bleed off nervous energy, better regulate their emotions, and get better quality sleep — all things that help with SUD recovery.
While a lot of wellness gurus advocate for an hour of exercise a day, this is hardly realistic for many people. Doing too much too soon can also be unsustainable for many recovering individuals, causing them to quit this beneficial habit.
Thankfully, 20 to 30 minutes a day on most days is realistic and fairly achievable for most of us. This level of activity seems to be enough to give most of the benefits required for a sustainable recovery. You can always increase the activity level later on as you get more comfortable with your current pace.
4.) Preparing healthy, wholesome meals
A healthy diet can work synergistically with meditation and exercise to help you look and feel great. This, in turn, can help build one’s self-confidence and improve your motivation to continue with recovery. Learning how to source wholesome ingredients and prepare healthy meals can also be a great hobby that teaches you some things about self-care.
5.) Practicing gratitude
A Berkley University paper has found that actively practicing gratitude can help rewire your brain for happiness. This is incredibly important for people with SUD, as their recovering brains may not regulate emotions the way they did before they were affected by drugs and alcohol.
By practicing gratitude, recovering individuals will not only contextualize their recovery better, but they can also play an active role in their happiness. This, in turn, can help with one’s motivation to continue with recovery.
6.) Meeting with your therapist regularly
As you recover, you will find less of a need to meet your therapist. However, it’s important to continue checking in, especially in the first few years after rehab. This will help give you a more realistic idea of how much you’ve progressed and if things are going on in your life that you need to address.
Building good habits during recovery can be important for several reasons. First, they keep individuals occupied and focused on improving their mental and physical health. Second, after some time, they can aid in conserving emotional and mental energy, both of which are often limited in people with SUD. Third, ingrained positive habits can help individuals better ease into mainstream society later on.
If you or someone you know needs help with a drug or alcohol problem, get in touch with our team at Dallas Drug Treatment Centers. We will help you find rehab centers that will help you build a stronger foundation for your recovery. Good luck, and stay sober!