Recovery Lifehacks

Take a respite from the worries of the world.

Natural disasters. Political uncertainty. A global pandemic. There’s a lot going on in the world. The constant barrage of negative and emotional news does nothing but create more anxiety, even panic.

Make a conscientious effort to disconnect from the outside world every day.

Try this:

  • Set aside several windows of time throughout the day away from distractions. Spend that time meditating, exercising, writing in your journal or simply relaxing.
  • Take a day off from the news and social media. Focus on your own world. Decline to engage in conversations with others about current events.
  • Use that time to do something you enjoy. Read a book, talk to a friend, take a longer walk, cook an elaborate meal.

Staying constantly plugged in and connected doesn’t leave much space for quieting your mind and recentering. In the morning, energize your mind before facing the day. In the evening, find calm before going to bed.

 

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Simple, fast — and free — way to reduce tension

Calming your mind during a crisis can help you find peace and balance. But how do you get there when your emotions are in a whirlwind?

Thousands of years ago, our ancestors used mediation to get deeper understanding of life’s mystical, sacred sources. These days, you can follow their techniques to relax and bring order to your mind — and your life.

Yoga, qi gong and tai chi include a mediation component but you don’t need to make it that complicated. All you need is a quiet setting (at least at first), an open attitude, basic instructions and a few uninterrupted minutes. You can meditate while sitting, walking, lying down or even washing dishes.

Try guided mediation using free online sources or a meditation app. Or try simple ways of practicing on your own through deep breathing, repeating a mantra or engaging in prayer.

Tranquility can be scarce these days. Set a few minutes aside to focus on the moment and clear your mind.

 

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Recovery takes a village — don’t take your journey alone

Choosing to stay healthy and strong in recovery is a daily decision that requires a strong support network. Staying connected is tough — but tremendously important.

If you’re struggling to stay in touch with those who are instrumental to your recovery journey, make a plan. Write down in your schedule when you’ll check in with a friend, peer recovery coach, support group and so on — and make sure you follow through.

  • Call a family member or close friend every day to check in. Using FaceTime, Zoom or another video app is even better — eye contact makes you feel more connected.
  • Are you comfortable gathering in a small group? Find out if your 12-step support group or group counseling program has resumed meetings.
  • Not ready for in-person meetings? Take advantage of online resources to find a virtual meeting. Or organize your own by inviting a few peers you’re comfortable with.

Struggling to stay focused or feeling like you’re losing ground? Talk to a professional. Staying on track is hard even in the best of times. Don’t do it alone.

 

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Uplift each other — and the world — through prayer.

When bad things happen, maintaining faith is not easy. But the Creator is listening — don’t give up on your prayers.

Prayer can help us stay connected not only with our higher power but also with others, strangers and loved ones alike. We may not be able to hold each other physically or offer prayers and encouragement in person, but we can still be united in the presence of our Creator.

Praying in private can be just as meaningful as doing so with your faith community. Or extend an invitation to a friend or two to pray together, on a phone or video call.

Pray for yourself, for those you love, for essential workers on the frontlines who are helping you when you get sick or need groceries. For those who are struggling with fear and uncertainty or are feeling disconnected. For the whole of humanity.

Lift up others in prayers — and soon you’ll feel embraced and connected with others and the Creator by love.

 

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Uplift (yourself and others) with random acts of kindness.

Even in the worst of times, finding the bright spots can help restore your faith in yourself and the world around you. Compassion and kindness are the best healers.

Doing something good for others is uplifting both for the giver and the recipient. But the best part? Even something that seems small and insignificant for you can make someone else’s day.

Try these simple things to bring a little ray of sunshine, whether to a stranger or someone you know:

  • Tip extra generously next time you’re dining out, ordering delivery, getting a haircut or taking a ride-share trip.
  • Have groceries delivered to an elderly neighbor or offer to pick up necessities when you’re shopping.
  • Start a fundraiser for your local food bank or another nonprofit you support.
  • At the coffeeshop, pay for the next person’s order.
  • Send a greeting card to someone in an assisted living home.
  • Offer to babysit for a couple you know so they can have a date.

Being kind is easy. And the results may surprise you.

 

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The world is unsteady. You don’t have to be.

It’s hard to escape bad news these days. How can you maintain a steady course in your personal life when everything around you seems to fall apart?

Use restorative and comforting, healthy activities to balance out the negativity happening in the world. Whether that’s taking a bubble bath, stepping outside for fresh air or calling a friend, find ways to immerse yourself in experiences that help you refocus your thoughts.

Things you can do:

  • Find an inspirational book. Your spiritual Holy Bible, the biography of your role model or just an uplifting novel — fill your mind, heart and soul with positive reading.
  • Listen to inspirational music. Everyone needs anthems — whether that’s rock, country or blues. Create a list of songs that make you feel good (and dance your heart out to feel even better).
  • Practice good self-care: Take a walk to clear your mind. Nourish your body with healthy food. Physical wellness is another pillar to your mental balance.

Find ways to rejuvenate daily. And don’t be afraid to try new ideas.

 

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Check in with how you’re feeling, tune into your emotions. Whether you’re anxious, sleepless, hopeful, angry, or anything in between, take a minute for yourself, allow yourself to find your quiet place and just enjoy the jellyfish..

 

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Finding pleasure in simple things

Joy in life doesn’t always come from big moments. The simplest things can bring the greatest pleasures.

Focusing on the big picture right now may feel daunting — savor the delights of the simple experiences instead.

Here’s some inspiration:

  • Express yourself creatively: Write a poem. Start a scrapbook. Learn to fold origami.
  • Grow something: Green thumbs are nurtured, not born. Small-container herbs. A beautiful orchid. An easy-care cactus. Care for a plant and watch it thrive.
  • Capture the moment: Document your memories of these historic times in a journal. Or simply catch a fleeting moment on your smartphone camera.
  • Upcycle: Turn a cardboard box into a basket or obsolete CDs into wall art. You’ll unleash your creativity and do something good for Mother Earth at the same time.

Even a good book, a fresh cup of tea savored in the morning, or a thank-you note can be uplifting. Just know where to look.

 

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Keeping your faith during social isolation

Physical and emotional healing during the pandemic are important, but don’t ignore your spiritual wellbeing. Lean on your faith and look for ways to nourish your positive emotions.

Some things you can do to stay spiritually strong:

  • If you’re not able to get together with your faith community in person, look for live-streamed worship services online.
  • Keep a gratitude journal by your nightstand. At the end of the day, write down three things you’re grateful for.
  • Continue praying for yourself and others. Your Higher Power hasn’t stopped listening.
  • Take time for contemplation — watch the sun set or enjoy a quiet moment outside.
  • Share love and compassion with others. Reach out to a family member with an encouraging word or a neighbor in need.

Maintaining faith is not just about attending a group event once a week. Feed your soul by embracing your fears. Focus on positive thoughts. And remember all the good things in your life.

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Finding your calm is more important now – than ever. We invite you turn your sound up and just take a moment, be still – breathe and listen to the calm of the waves…

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3 simple tips for physical fitness at home

Maintaining a fitness routine during the pandemic is a struggle if you’re used to running to the gym or the yoga studio. But like everything else in quarantine, all it takes is a little creative thinking to keep the momentum going.

Simple things you can do when you can’t hit the gym:

  • Hit the trails instead. Brisk walking or running are excellent for your fitness and if you have a park nearby, being in nature and fresh air is a bonus.
  • No weights or equipment? No problem. Use common household items — like laundry or milk jugs — to add weight and resistance.
  • Get “Zooming.” Many gyms and workout studios are offering classes via video conference, including free sessions. And of course, there’s always YouTube for following along.

And if you run out of ideas, think of simple ways to get the heart pumping, like deep cleaning and weeding. Then you can check some chores off your list too.

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Clearing your mind by keeping your hands busy

The whirlwind of strong emotions induced by the pandemic can knock anyone off balance. But how can you quiet your mind, at least for a little while? One simple way to clear the mind clutter is by keeping your hands busy with rhythmic, repetitive or creative activities.

Tactile activities like painting and knitting can feel therapeutic and even meditative. That’s because, neuroscientists say, “busy hands” alter brain chemistry the same way some medication does.

Even cleaning can help you relax and create a mental “space”. Not to mention it gives you back a sense of control and a tidier living space — plus, reduced clutter itself boosts mental health.

Cleaning or knitting not your thing? Tinker with a DIY project. Color in an adult coloring book. Put together a puzzle. The results don’t matter. Just enjoy the moment.

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Grieving for a changed world is perfectly normal

Anger. Frustration. Anxiety. Fear. Sadness. You’ve likely gone through these emotions — indeed, through an emotional rollercoaster — at some point during recovery. But this time is undeniably different. We are collectively grieving, and this grief threatens to derail even the most-resilient among us.

All these emotions are normal. Accept them rather than fighting. Allow yourself to grieve for a changed world. You don’t have any power over over what’s happening on the outside but you can choose how to respond. Find a balance between exploring your feelings and calming yourself by coming back into the present moment.

Let go of what you can’t control. Remember that even this new normal is temporary — and  this, too, you can overcome.

 

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The importance of maintaining a routine and structure

You’ve worked hard to develop a healthy routine in your journey to recovery. Then the pandemic turned your life on its head, disrupting everything from your shopping patterns and recovery meetings to various productive activities.

Even simple routines are tough to maintain when each day blends into the next. But you can’t afford to lose momentum and threaten your progress. Whether or not you have to leave your house for work, appointments and social activities, don’t break your daily rituals. If you do, getting back to a structured schedule will be that much harder.

Continue your morning routine — even if you’ll been spending the entire day at home. Do something that feels productive. And reward yourself by doing something you enjoy and breaking the monotony of isolation.

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Addiction thrives in isolation, but recovery relies on social connections. Social distancing has forced us into physical seclusion — and that means finding creative ways to remain connected emotionally.

Eye contact is important to a human connection. Use technology — apps like FaceTime, Skype and Zoom — to check in with your friends and family. Accountability doesn’t stop during a pandemic; in fact, it’s more important than ever.

Connect with the recovery community through social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook. Ask your 12-step program or group counseling about video meetings or the relaunch of in-person ones. Organize an outdoor picnic with a small group of your peers (while observing social distancing).

Even a simple phone call to a loved one helps you stay in touch. Lean into your support circle — and don’t be afraid to reach out.

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