Your client’s recovery efforts are most effective when aided by consistency and predictability. While unforeseen stressors will always be challenging to process, having a consistent routine can better structure each day around self-care and predictable events.
Maintaining a sober routine guarantees that each person has access to adequate recovery outlets. It also helps each individual identify developing stresses or concerns. Creating an effective routine is a skill that needs to be learned and practiced to be best utilized.
The Importance of a Sober Routine
Those navigating sobriety will face all manner of stresses throughout their journey, from changing social groups to urges or cravings. Developing a sober routine provides the necessary structure to approach each day with a sober mind and plan. By balancing one’s personal and work responsibilities with regular sober practices, each person can process stresses and urges in an informed, conscious way. These routines also promote recurring, self-affirming thoughts that empower each individual to maintain control of their daily actions.
Starting the Morning Right
Your client’s morning alarm sets the tone for their entire day. Providing enough time each morning to engage in all kinds of personal hygiene practices is crucial for starting the day with a mental and physical fresh start. A consistent wake-up time allows individuals to begin their days with structure and predictability while mentally preparing for whatever the day ahead may hold.
Taking this time, for example, to wash one’s face promotes regular mindfulness practices as they feel the water on their skin, their feet on the chilled tile underfoot, and their breathing. Beginning the day in tune with one’s body can provide an early warning to any stresses that may be building while providing time to process the responsibilities of the day ahead.
A scheduled, sober morning routine also allows an individual to set alarms that will enable time to eat breakfast or take a few minutes of self-care without feeling rushed. Taking time for breathing exercises, reading, or a morning jog are all critical parts of an effective sober routine, allowing individuals to begin their day with a feeling of control and agency.
Stresses, urges, cravings and tense emotions can be present at any hour of the day, and effective sober routines employ multiple outlets to address these feelings. Self-care is any practice that allows individuals to take time for themselves, process their feelings, and focus on their health and needs. Scheduling time for fun hobbies before or after work is just as important as your client’s other obligations.
It can be easy to overlook the necessity of self-care with the stresses of daily life. Work, relationships, and the pressures of continued recovery are all taxing, and an individual’s day can be filled to the brim with responsibility. Treating self-care practices as equally important is necessary to ensure they are scheduled and not compromised in the face of stress when they may be needed most.
Filling one’s day with a balance of responsibility, structure, and self-care also prevents excessive downtime in recovery. Too much time without direction can lead to boredom, which can cause an individual to fill their day with whatever comes to mind. For those still navigating their sobriety, their most immediate thought may be related to the use of addictive substances. Keeping consistent routines can prevent the threat of boredom from becoming difficult to manage.
While your client’s morning is filled with hygiene routines and setting the tempo of the day ahead, their afternoon or post-work routines also serve a purpose. One’s profession will always come with some degree of stress. Therefore having post-work practices can help process these stresses and prevent them from leaving the workplace and impeding a person’s home life.
Turning off one’s work phone or avoiding checking emails after a specific time is essential for establishing barriers, mitigating stresses, and promoting engagement with other activities. These activities could include yoga, cooking, or any additional relaxation and self-care strategies. Setting aside even half an hour to lay on the couch with a book is a good strategy. Making it routine can provide the body and mind with the best potential to utilize this time. A post-work ritual can create a clear emotional divide between work and home life.
Bedtime may seem juvenile to those in recovery, but having a consistent schedule and nightly routine can be a great benefit. Electronic blackout times, nightly hygiene, and meditation allow individuals to release pent-up feelings and stresses throughout the day. Journaling can also be a nightly outlet for your client’s thoughts and experiences, creating regular, consistent support. These sober nightly routines also ensure that the body is prepared to expect and receive sleep at a regular hour, promoting healthy sleeping habits for the next day of sobriety ahead.
Developing a predictable, consistent, and sober routine in recovery can help individuals structure and balance their lives, even amid constant change throughout life. At Pacific Sands Recovery Center, located in Santa Ana, CA, we understand the need for these routines and are prepared to help you structure your day healthily and effectively. With our personalized self-care and coping strategies, detox programs, residential treatment, and intensive outpatient programs, we are able to help you maintain a sober focus at any stage in your recovery journey. We also keep a small, intimate atmosphere of supportive peers and professionals, allowing us to further personalize your time with us and address addiction in the way that it may have impacted your life. For more information on how we can help you, or to speak to a caring, trained staff member about your unique situation, call us today at (949) 426-7962 to begin your healing journey.