In recovery, people can easily become overwhelmed by the changes they have to make and the stress they must face upon returning home. Between work, family, and friends it can be too much to take in. After leaving rehab it can be especially helpful for people to work toward creating structure in their lives so that they feel more in control in their environment.
The structure can prevent recovery from seeming too difficult and makes it easier for people to avoid the potential to relapse. The structure of routine and daily rituals can be very comforting for people in recovery as they try to prevent the kind of chaos that can fuel addiction. Early recovery requires life to be a bit more simplified so that a person does not end up in a vulnerable state and get involved in substance abuse again.
Reduce and Minimize Stressful Activities
The first step in structuring your environment after returning from rehab is to reduce or simplify your schedule. When life gets too busy and overwhelming it can be detrimental to your ability to remain sober.
If you have too many duties, assignments, or chores that you can’t seem to get done it will only add to your stress and create a sense of frustration. It is important in early recovery to eliminate all activities that aren’t essential or conducive to recovery. Once you have returned from rehab you will be tempted to return to your old life exactly as it was but it is crucial to structure your routine in a way that is more suitable for your new lifestyle.
Too many stressful activities can put you on the road to relapse very quickly because it becomes harder to fight cravings and temptation in a state of distress. Minimizing your schedule can help you avoid this situation and ease you back into normal life after rehab.
A Cleaner and Healthier Life
Another part of structuring your environment in recovery is having a clean space to live in and engaging in healthy habits every day. If you have a chaotic, messy home then that environment lends itself to more mental chaos than you need.
Keeping your house clean and more organized can help you to feel a sense of control and harmony so that you can stay sober. A person in recovery must also focus on the basics of a healthy lifestyle including good nutrition and exercise.
After leaving treatment most people are still recovering physically from the residual effects of their addiction. In this recovery period, it is helpful to eat only wholesome, nutritious foods that can improve your mood and benefit your body.
Stay away from too much sugar, caffeine, or high-fat foods which can create mood swings and negatively affect your body. Exercise is also beneficial for mental and physical health and has proven to be a key element in addiction recovery.
People who exercise regularly have more stable moods and steady energy throughout the day. Getting enough sleep is also very important in recovery as sleep is necessary for good mental health.
Routine is very important for people who are recovering from an addiction. A predictable daily schedule can reduce stress and the sense of structure can prevent the unknown from being an issue. A big part of every person’s routine in recovery should be attending regular addiction group meetings to stay in touch with their goals and support network.
Twelve-step meetings can be a crucial part of a safe routine that will keep people in recovery on track every day. A routine can also include other activities that are part of a sober lifestyle such as meditating or therapy. Simply having a structured routine that focuses on the goals of being sober is one of the most helpful ways to prevent relapse.