Great Ways to Give Back 

giving back

Giving back is a great gift for your recovery and for those who need it most. Here are a few simple ways you can help out this holiday season and show support to those in your community: Purchase a toy. There are roughly 13 million children in America who live in poverty and who will receive few or no toys this season. Toys for Tots has locations in every state – and just one toy or a small monetary donation can make a huge difference in a child’s life. Volunteer for the Veterans. Many vets are spending the holidays alone […]

Nostalgia During Recovery: What You Should Know

nostalgia

It’s easy to get nostalgic during this time of year, especially as you’re beginning to form new supports and new sober traditions. The holidays can bring on feelings of sadness or loneliness – and this alone can trigger nostalgia. Often defined as “a sentimental longing or wistful affection for the past,” nostalgia has both a positive and negative side during recovery. It can be a great reminder of why you’re working so hard in your recovery, especially if you’re recalling memories that help motivate you to stay sober. Nostalgia for old friends or past parties can be dangerous, however, because […]

Managing Stress This Holiday Season

holiday stress

It’s official: The holiday season has begun. Certainly, this can be a reason to celebrate – but it’s also a signal that you need to start safeguarding your mental health. For as happy and joyful as the holidays can be, they can also be stressful. Luckily, some of the same self-care activities you practice for your recovery can help manage your stress levels, too! Here are a few to try this holiday season: Make recovery to-dos a priority. This is an important one. The holidays can be tough and now is not the time to skip therapy or support groups or […]

Poor Sleep May Be Causing Your Anxiety

poor sleep

If you suffer from anxiety, it’s not news that it can take a toll on your sleep, causing you to have trouble falling and staying asleep. In fact, sleep disruption is a common symptom of mental illness, and anxiety is no exception. A new small sleep study discovered that it works the other way, too: Poor sleep can trigger anxiety in otherwise healthy adults. According to sleep researcher Eti ­Ben ­Simon, of the University of California at Berkeley, sleep deprivation caused anxiety levels in healthy people that were 30 percent higher than when they had slept. And these anxiety scores […]

Keeping a Gratitude Journal 

gratitude journal

Study after study shows that the simple act of writing down the things for which we’re grateful are plenty. This includes better sleep, greater immunity, less anxiety and depression and more overall happiness. A gratitude journal is your opportunity to write down a few things each day – or every other day – that you’re thankful for. You don’t need to write a long passage – just a few minutes to record the changing leaves, hugs of a loved one or just another day of recovery without any slip-ups or setbacks. Doing so can help you find the silver lining […]

Taking Care of Your Whole Self in Recovery 

caring for whole self

When you’re recovering from a substance use disorder and/or a co-occurring mental illness, caring for your whole self is paramount. This means paying attention to your physical, spiritual and emotional health – which are all connected and linked to your lasting sober and overall wellness. According to Mental Health America (MHA), incorporating joy, spirit and relaxation into your life is one way to develop resiliency and stay healthy during recovery. MHA says the four C’s to joy, spirit and relaxation are connect with yourself, connect with others, connect to your community and create joy and satisfaction. By keeping in mind […]

Sober After-Work Activities 

sober activities

Happy hour is not so happy for those of us in recovery. In fact, it’s simply a bad idea when you’re in recovery. But how can you stay social, sober and shake off a little stress? Luckily, there are a bunch of sober activities that you can enjoy with your co-workers – it just takes a little creativity. These ideas will help you get started: Get your art on. Many local art galleries and museums stay open late one day a week. Call around and gather a group of coworkers for a night of art and culture. If this isn’t possible, […]

Minding Your Mental Health During Recovery

mental health

It’s Mental Illness Awareness Month and it’s a great time to think about what you can do daily to mind your mental health. In order to have a successful recovery and prevent relapse, you need to tend to your mind, body and spirit – and this is especially true if you’re struggling with a co-occurring mental illness and substance use disorder. Luckily, it doesn’t take a huge commitment to start feeling more focused, calmer and happier – and you can start today by adopting one of these healthy habits. Maximize your mornings. What you do in the a.m. can set the […]

Signs You’re Enabling Your Loved One’s Addiction

enabling loved one

Helping a loved one with a substance use disorder is far from straightforward. If you’re not careful, you can unknowingly set up roadblocks to recovery and reward negative behaviors. There’s even a name for it. It’s called “enabling,” and it’s comprised of a variety of actions that allow your loved one to avoid any consequences and continue using with a sense of security that you’ll always be there to rescue him or her from any mistakes. Some experts say the difference between helping and enabling is this: “Helping is doing something for someone that they’re not capable of doing themselves.”  “Enabling is […]

Writing Exercises to Develop a Positive Mindset 

writing exercises

A positive mindset is so important during recovery. It may sound simple, but if you learn to perceive yourself and your new sober life in a positive light, you’ll be that much more motivated to stay the sober course. Writing is a great exercise to reinforce the good in your life and to let go of any negative emotions that are standing in your way. A simple journal – filled with whatever helps you sort through your emotions – can do the trick. But you can also try one of these specific writing exercises, which can help you streamline your […]