7 Habits To Start Now To Get A Healthy Head Start on 2022
For some, the beginning of a new year can be an exciting fresh start. But for others, especially if they are in recovery for drug and alcohol abuse, the prospect can be intimidating. So, we here at the Reco Institute decided we would give you a leg up on the year to come by rounding up some healthy habit tips that can help put you in the right mental and physical headspace to have an amazing 2022.
1. Cut Back On Your Drinking
As discussed in our “sober October” post, excessive drinking can negatively impact both physical and emotional health even for those who do not have an alcohol “problem.” Instead of waiting for dry January to start cutting back, get a head start and try and limit your use now to ensure that you go into the new year ready to take it on with a solid grip on your sobriety.
Especially given how many holiday events involve alcohol, this might be a good season to try and set a rule against drinking at home, or to set a definitive limit on the amount of alcohol you consume on any given occasion. And, if you have trouble adhering to these limits on your own, it might be a sign that you have a more serious issue with alcohol that you may want to address before facing the year ahead.
2. Embrace Mindfulness
Mindfulness is defined as “the practice of purposely bringing one’s attention in the present moment without evaluation.” In other words, mindfulness means making an effort to be mentally present to what is physically going on around you, to pay less attention to the endless chatter in your head and more to what is actually happening in the outside world.
One common method of increasing your capacity for mindfulness is through regular meditation. The practice has been shown not only to reduce stress and anxiety but to improve overall emotional health, as well as to have specific benefits for those struggling with addiction, making them more aware of their triggers, increasing their self-control, and even reducing their cravings.
3. Clean Up Your Diet
It’s hard to be your best if you don’t feel your best, and eating an unhealthy diet has been shown to increase the risk of a variety of physical and mental health symptoms. Certain foods, like sugar and other simple carbohydrates, have even been shown to have addictive qualities in and of themselves.
While a sugar addiction is unlikely to have the life-altering effects that another addiction might, you may find that you feel better if you try to reduce your intake to an occasional treat rather than an everyday or every-meal indulgence.
Eating right isn’t all about restriction either; instead of focusing solely on cutting out unhealthy options, you can also focus on adding more healthy ones. Making the time to cook wholesome, balanced meals with some thought to including reasonable portions of lean protein, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and, of course, an abundance of fruits and veggies, could make a surprisingly big difference when it comes to going into the year ahead with a positive can-do attitude.
4. Embrace Exercise
On a similar note, just as important for your body’s optimal functioning as eating right is holding yourself to a schedule of regular exercise. Studies have shown that exercise can boost your mood and enhance your mental health as well as offering myriad physical health benefits. 30 minute sessions three times a week of any moderate intensity activity is the minimum amount recommended health-wise, but many people find that more frequent or more intense exercise helps them to manage their emotions or to feel more confident. Sticking to any habit can help you to strengthen your discipline, and activities like sports, yoga, and swimming can simply be a whole lot of fun!
5. Set Goals And Figure Out How To Follow Through
Have you been staring at the calendar bewildered by the fact that yet another year has slipped through your fingers? If you want to feel better about your year come next November, this may be a good time to figure out your priorities for the year ahead and take whatever steps might be prudent when it comes to following through with your long term career, relationship, and other personal life goals.
6. Be Grateful And Give Back
As we discussed more in depth in another recent post, gratitude can help lead your way to improved physical and mental health, and can be an important way to safeguard your sobriety. From working at a soup kitchen to lending a hand with your loved ones, we’ve also rounded up a list of ways that you can give back this Holiday season. Engaging in charity work of any kind or just making an effort to be as kind as you can can help give you a sense of meaning and purpose that can also fuel your recovery.
7. Don’t Forget to Take Time for Self-Care
While it can be easy to get caught up in the rat race of everyday life, one way to get a healthy head start on 2022 is by making sure that you have built plenty of time for rest, relaxation, and other self-care activities into your action packed schedule. Getting enough sleep and leaving plenty of time to decompress and connect with loved ones is vital to protecting and maintaining your mental health.
Taking care of yourself also means not ignoring mental or physical health issues as they arise, and taking the steps to prevent them from worsening if they do. Whether this translates to staying in regular therapy, regularly attending twelve step groups, or even enrolling in a professional treatment program if you feel like you may be losing your grip on your sobriety or on your substance use.
Luckily, at the Reco Institute, you can find not only top-notch professional treatment services through our associated intensive outpatient program, but a safe and welcoming community of your peers and the additional accountability of living in a strictly drug-free environment. To learn more about our sober living residences, feel free to reach out to us at 561-665-5925