Leaving rehab can be a time of excitement, overwhelming emotions and curiosity about the future. It can also be challenging to transition back into your everyday life outside of treatment. One of the hardest adjustments is no longer having a daily routine as you had in rehab. Rehab is extremely structured. It includes eating nutritious meals throughout the day, exercising, individual and group therapy sessions, sober activities, time for reflection and other supportive measures. Leaving rehab and suddenly not having this routine can be difficult. Still, you can develop a structured daily routine all on your own. Developing a routine will help keep your recovery on track and keep you motivated.
How Does a Daily Routine Help Recovery?
Recovery can be filled with anxiety about relapse and hard work to maintain sobriety. Implementing a routine helps the person think clearly and make rational decisions as they can focus on their scheduled activities rather than worrying about using again. Cognitive functions will improve with a schedule as well, as stated by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
A daily schedule also helps prevent potential relapse triggers because the program itself is created to further a person’s recovery. Triggers are avoided in the schedule to progress recovery and form new, healthy habits. A daily schedule also reduces anxiety by keeping the recovering individual active. Their free time is occupied with productive behavior, leaving no time to sit around and wallow in negative thoughts.
Benefits of a Daily Routine
In early recovery, many people with addictions are coping with withdrawal symptoms. These can include feelings of irritability, anxiety, insomnia, depression and more. A daily routine helps combat these emotions. By having a set time to wake up and go to bed, insomnia is treated and helps get the person back to a regular sleeping pattern. Anxiety is dealt with by having a plan for each day, and depression is treated because a routine takes up free time. Boredom can often lead to negative thoughts and symptoms of depression. Routines can also help a person prepare nutritious meals and find a time to exercise, which may help combat depression as well.
Individuals are also more productive when they have a set routine because they have time to get their work and activities done. They are less likely to procrastinate and are better at managing their time since their work is divided up across the hours or days. Over time, this can also help a person build up their self-confidence and a sense of purpose.
Creating a Daily Routine
Here are some recommendations to get started on making a daily schedule.
While going through active addiction, many individuals do not get enough sleep. This leads to further physical and mental health problems such as anxiety, depression, stroke, high blood pressure, etc. The schedule should include set times for waking up and going to sleep, accounting for the time it takes to get ready for bed at night. Sleep can improve mood, overall health and even reduce cravings.
Set aside time to prepare and cook healthy, balanced dishes to eat throughout the day. Put in the time to create a weekly meal plan to continue feeling good.
Exercise is an excellent aid in recovery because physical movements release endorphins or “feel-good” hormones. This can help reduce stress, anxiety and depression. It can also help reduce cravings. Exercising combined with a healthy diet can also boost self-esteem and give the body the tools to work towards and maintain sobriety.
A daily schedule should also include aftercare, such as appointments, support groups and more. A common mistake many make in recovery is getting overly confident and stopping any follow-up care to treatment. This can lead to not correctly coping with triggers, distressing emotions and may even lead to relapse. Setting aside time for aftercare is extremely important to maintaining sobriety.
Fun activities should be included in a daily routine. It goes without saying that these should be sober activities, such as having a picnic with friends, swimming, playing sports, learning new recipes, etc.
It is common for those recovering from addiction to not realize how important a daily routine is. While in rehab, you might have noticed the daily routine that involved breakfast, support groups, individual counseling, lunch, more activities, dinner and reflection time. This is because these components are crucial to you successfully recovering from addiction. After rehab, many go home without realizing that a routine must be followed on their own time for the best chance at maintaining long-term sobriety. For more information or help creating your own daily schedule in recovery, contact Pinelands Recovery Center of Medford at (877) 557-5372.