6 New Year’s Resolutions on the Road to Recovery
The dawning of a new year is a time for reflection, but it’s also a time for new beginnings. Whatever has gone before can be left behind in the past. Your future is what you make it. And while it’s only natural to reflect on times before sobriety, looking forward to a positive recovery is crucial.
Treat this New Year as a celebration of your recovery but never forget that you’re on a never-ending journey. You can make the coming year happier and more fulfilling by making some key changes to your lifestyle — and your mindset.
To help you make the most of your addiction treatment this holiday season, here are six New Year’s resolutions for a holistic approach to your recovery.
1. Improve your diet
There is clear evidence that a high-quality diet not only helps you lose weight but also has a positive effect on our moods. A nutritious diet is good for both the body and the mind.
A nutritious, balanced diet is required for balancing levels of the hormone serotonin. Particularly during the early stages of recovery, eating lots of foods high in complex carbohydrates (peas, lentils, beans, whole grains) is essential.
- Around half the calories you consume should come from complex carbohydrates
- Protein from lean meats such as beef and fish should deliver around a fifth of your daily calorie intake
- Consume two to three cups of calcium-rich foods (dairy, kale, tofu etc.) every day
- Around a third of your daily calorie intake should come from healthy fats such as olive oil, flaxseed, oily fish, and canola.
2. Improve your sleep quality
Research published by Kirk J. Brower and Brian E. Perron demonstrates a clear link between sleep disturbance and the risk of recovery relapse. In fact, sleep quality has a profound effect on your mental health, concentration levels and general wellbeing. If you’re not getting enough quality sleep, the road to recovery from alcohol or opioid addiction will be more challenging.
Of course, making a New Year’s resolution to get more quality sleep is easy — making it happen requires a few changes to your lifestyle.
- Don’t eat within two hours of going to bed
- Create a bedtime routine (brush teeth, read, cocoa, etc.)
- Go to bed at the same time every night
- Get up at the same time every morning
- Remove noise and light pollutants from your bedroom
There may be times when nothing helps you to get to sleep. Don’t get stressed out. Stay calm and get up. Take a walk around the block, get some fresh air, or meditate for a while. Do anything you find calming. But don’t try to claw back some of that lost sleep through oversleeping the next morning. Stick to your routine.
3. Get more exercise
If you’re not getting enough exercise, your sleep quality, moods and general wellbeing might be suffering. A happier, more productive recovery is possible if you ensure that you’re getting sufficient exercise every day.
Mayo Clinic recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week. For the best results, exercise should leave you sweating mildly and slightly out of breath. Aim for around 30 minutes of brisk walking or gentle jogging every day as the bare minimum.
4. Build positive relationships
Friendships and relationships with family members are crucial on the road to recovery from addiction. Your interaction with the people you love should be uplifting and soothing. If these relationships are having the opposite effect, it might be time to speak out or walk away.
Avoid drama and negativity wherever possible. Instead, focus on the relationships you find relaxing and constructive. Remember: sobriety is a gift that can be taken away by stressful and negative situations.
5. Ask for help
Drug addiction is a chronic illness that’s with you wherever you go, but it’s not a personal failure. There will inevitably be times when the road to recovery becomes too much to handle on your own. Like a cancer patient asks for the help of an oncologist, a recovering addict must ask for help and support when it’s needed.
This coming year, promise yourself you’ll reach out for help when you need it. Even if you find this uncomfortable or an invasion of your privacy, you’ll be happy you did it almost immediately.
6. Taking proactive, positive action
Positivity is crucial for recovering addicts. Spreading joy and goodwill through selfless actions ensures positivity pervades every aspect of your life. Thankfully, there are several ways to be proactive about positivity.
Promise yourself you’ll perform a random, selfless act of kindness at least once a day. It’s easy to become consumed by your own issues on the road to recovery. But reaching out to others — and making a positive difference in their lives — lets you know everyone struggles from time to time. A little perspective from time to time is usually a force for good.
How you make a difference is completely up to you. It might involve phoning an elderly relative who’s feeling a little lonely. This simple human contact could mean the world to a lonely person. A random act of kindness might involve buying a stranger a coffee, carrying a neighbor’s groceries home, or volunteering at the local homeless shelter.
How your kindness manifests itself is largely irrelevant. Being kind to others should boost your self-confidence and feelings of self-worth.
Making a few lifestyle-related New Year’s resolutions is a great way to manage your recovery. But it should be part of a holistic program of treatment that includes FDA-approved medications such as Suboxone, counseling, and medical care. This year, let SaVida Health help you to stay on the path to recovery — and look forward to a brighter, happier, and healthier future.