Let’s welcome Ryan Rosen back to the My Bipolar Mind blog as he shares some wonderful tips on how to sneak healthy habits into your post-recovery journey. Don’t forget to check out Ryan’s author bio at the end of this article to learn more about him and find the link to his site!
Many people in recovery struggle to balance mental and physical health, especially when first coming home from a rehabilitation center. Sometimes we think that too much damage has been done to make health and wellness a priority now. Others may feel like they don’t deserve health and happiness, while others—often, many others—come home to stigma and don’t have a supportive and healing community to rely on.
If you think your own health shouldn’t be a priority, it’s time to think again. You might be very busy getting your life back in order, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make time for health and happiness. My Bipolar Mind shares four simple, quick, and easy head-to-toe health strategies you can sneak in between meetings, at work, or anytime you need a wellness boost.
Exercise as a Lifestyle
Though human beings live more sedentary lives than we used to, we are often a lot more active than we think. To make time for exercise, which can be an important endorphin boost for folks in recovery, take advantage of every opportunity to move and stretch. For instance, parking further will give you an extra dash of cardio without having to carve out 30 to 60 minutes for a walk or jog. Take a walk during your lunch break, before and after meetings, and while talking to your sponsor or listening to podcasts.
Cleanse Your Space
COVID-19 has changed the way we connect with each other, which has had many surprising impacts on mental health. Some people feel isolated and held back, while others feel more crowded by their families. The closeness can be bonding and great most of the time, but it can also lead to conflict.
It’s particularly important for people in recovery to eliminate negative energy at home. Cleansing rituals come in all shapes and sizes. Spring cleaning is a cleansing ritual. Purge items that draw you toward temptation. You can even burn sage in rooms where you feel stressed and unhappy.
Regular yoga practice doesn’t mean an hour a day of twisting like a pretzel. Even the most basic yoga poses can rejuvenate your mind and body, especially when paired with meditation. Studies show that in as little as 15-30 minutes a day, you can better manage in-the-moment stressors with breathing exercises. Relieve joint and muscle pain through progressively deeper stretches. Improve balance and connection to the present moment with flowing movements. You’ll not only strengthen your body, but more importantly, your self-discipline, especially with a yin yoga practice.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Adequate sleep is a feedback loop for your body’s overall well-being. If you’re not in sync, your sleep can suffer. And if your sleep is suffering, you will feel out of sync. Sleep is the foundation of the steady steps to sobriety.
If sleep has been eluding you, start a bedtime routine at the same time and in the same way every day, so your body gets the signal that it’s time to wind down. Soon your body will flip that switch on its own. You can take a warm bath, slip into comfy pajamas, or snuggle under warm blankets. Keep the lights low and remove all tech from the bedroom—TV, smartphones, and tablets are known to disrupt sleep patterns. For many, taking control of our physical and mental health is a challenge, more so than we usually expect. Fortunately, there are many ways to prioritize your health without making huge life changes, especially during a time when major life choices can be harder and have more lasting repercussions.
Ryan Rosen has more than six years of sobriety under his belt, and his goal now is to be an inspiration to others. He regularly shares his story and wellness practices at treatment centers, sobriety retreats, and other recovery events in his region. With RecoverySpark.org, he hopes to spread the word to many more.
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Samantha is the author of "My Bipolar Mind: You're not alone," she is also a freelance writer, blogger, and mental health advocate who runs and manages her own mental health blog MyBipolarMind.com.