Congratulations! You have completed a sober living program, and you have started your new lease on life. With all of the sludge that we have slogged through this year, consider this accomplishment a major feat in your life. You are foraging healthier relationships, healthier patterns, and deciding what life will look like in the weeks, months, and years to come.
As we remain smack dab in the middle of a lockdown, social restrictions, and colder winter months, we find ourselves with some additional isolation and idle time. These can be potential enemies of someone that is trying to remain on a sober path. How can you continue to carve out a healthier place for yourself while enduring some long winter months? Read on to gain fresh perspective on winter and new ideas for staying sober:
1. Get outside!
Regardless of where you live, connection with nature, and getting some fresh air on a regular basis will be a critical part of your continued healing process. Fresh air and exercise will reduce stress, clear obsessive thoughts, and improve your mood. Grab a friend or family member and get outside for a brisk walk, taking in the natural beauty of your surroundings.
2. Stay connected to friends and loved ones
After the hustle and bustle of the holidays, the long stretches of cold darkness can get the most cheerful soul down a bit. Stay connected to friends and family, sharing your struggles and triumphs. Surround yourself with supportive loved ones as you attend gatherings that may trigger unhealthy behaviors, and know who to call if you are experiencing emotions that can lead you astray. As you remain open to creating healthier relationships, you’ll find yourself gravitating toward conversations and away from unhealthy patterns and behaviors.
3. Stay realistic about life
You may think that your newfound sobriety will be the answer to all of your problems, but this is not the case. If anything, clear thinking might initially make life’s issues bigger and harder to bear. Take some deep breaths, rally the support of those around you, and realize that you will have some tough times ahead. Taking things one day….and one problem….at a time will help life seem much more manageable.
4. Create healthy habits and routines
It’s time to take care of that temple—-body, mind, and spirit. Start to create habits that promote your future success. Begin to exercise, journal what you would like your life to be like, create relationships that move you forward, and learn to meditate. You have the incredible opportunity to design life from this point on; what is it that you want? Who do you want to become? What are your passions? Get clear on designing your life, and then get down to the business of creating that life!
5. Practice gratitude daily
Gratitude is a magical emotion; studies have shown that simple appreciation for life “as is” can have profound mental, emotional, and physical effects on a person. Start with the small things—a cup of tea, a comfortable pillow, and you’ll be setting up a powerful practice that will pull more good toward you–every single day.
6. Leave the old behind
Winter is the perfect time to slough off elements of your life that no longer work for you—excess weight, toxic thinking, poisonous relationships, and bad habits that keep you from moving forward. Make a list of those things you would like to change about life as you think about the year ahead, and use this list to build up momentum as you create the life you truly want, step by step. Get excited about your movement, and celebrate each small step along the way. You are making significant changes to your life; imagine where you will be a short year from now as you put these steps into practice. Get busy, and create your best life yet!