Now that I have almost 6 years of continuous sobriety, I feel I’m ready to pass on all the knowledge I’ve learned over the years. It’s in my nature to help people (I’m the epitome of a “fixer” personality lol) and I feel that sharing these wellness tools I’ve learned through my recovery can only help others.
This is not to say I don’t get cravings anymore that really suck, or slide into a manic episode and get lost in my mind. But I now know how to deal with these things in a healthy way! So without further adieu, here are the top 5 things everyone should have in their wellness “toolbox”:
- HALT!! No, I’m not telling you to stop. HALT means Hungry, Angry, Lonely, and Tired and if you attend to those things, you’re setting yourself up for disaster. As a person in recovery who lives with 2 chronic illnesses, these things are of the utmost importance. Basically, all this acronym means is that if you take care of your most basic needs, you are setting yourself up for success! You will feel better both physically and mentally. To learn more about HALT, click here.
- Have a YOU day (at least once a week if you can) where the day is all about YOU! Binge your favorite Netflix series and chill on the couch all day, take a nap, take a walk outside, read that book you’ve been wanting to dive into… but whatever you do, it should be to benefit YOU! It is NOT selfish to put yourself first and make YOU a priority. For those of us who work in the field of addiction/mental health, it’s even MORE important to do this to avoid burnout, compassion fatigue, and a host of other issues. And for those of us in recovery, taking care of YOU should be your absolute #1 priority!
- Be thankful! For the little AND the big things in your life! This one can really put things into perspective for you and make you feel better on even your worst days. I actually do a weekly check in with myself where I make a list of some of the things I’m grateful for and it helps remind me how far I’ve come in my recovery and in my life in general. Here is a wonderful article about the benefits of making a gratitude list: https://www.chriswinfield.com/gratitude-lists/
- See a therapist, if necessary. There is NO shame in asking for and seeking out help for feeling sad or depressed or manic or anxious! I see a therapist twice a month and have been doing so for the last 10 years and it helps me IMMENSELY! I debated whether to include this tool in this list but finally figured that since it helped ME, it’s bound to help someone else! There are some wonderful therapists out there, therapists who’ve been where we’ve been… some of them are in recovery themselves! If you’re not comfortable talking to a therapist, seek out a Peer Support Worker. I’m a Certified Peer Specialist which is similar to a therapist except it’s NON CLINICAL! I help people by meeting them where they’re at, no matter where that is. I help them help themselves by arming them with knowledge about benefits, where to get them, how they better their life all around. And the greatest part about peer support is that it’s more of a friend/mentor relationship than a clinical relationship.
- Find a hobby. Even though this one sounds simple, keeping busy is one of the BEST ways to deal with mental health issues or addiction cravings. That old saying “Idle hands are the devil’s playground” applies here. Boredom can cause some of the worst cravings… but also depression, anxiety, and isolation. That’s why having something to do that you ENJOY makes all the difference for someone in recovery! Do you like sports? Join a local sports team and make some new friends. Do you like to doodle or draw? Take an art class at your local art museum or simply watch some YouTube videos about what you want to do and get going! Learn to play an instrument, start going to the gym, create a blog and get your thoughts out for the world to see… but whatever you choose to do, make sure it’s something you really enjoy and not something that feels like a chore. This one is one of my favorites because I did this about a year and a half ago with art. I had always loved to draw but I really wanted to broaden my horizons and learn to do EVERY kind of art, lol. So I taught myself and slowly built up a huge collection of art supplies. Now I can’t go a day without doing some kind of art!
If anyone is interested in learning more about wellness tools and how to make yourself feel better, there’ s a wonderful thing out there called WRAP – Wellness Recovery Action Plan and you can make one for just about anything. Here is the link to their wellness toolbox page with some more great ideas you can do for yourself! http://mentalhealthrecovery.com/info-center/wellness-toolbox/.
I hope you found this post insightful and informative. And I leave you with the knowledge that you are loved, you are light, and you are BEAUTIFUL!!