Everyone has had to learn the lesson that they are not in control at one point in their lives. Feeling the need to control every aspect of your life only leads to anxiety and disappointment. While you can’t control your life’s circumstances or how other people behave and react, you can control yourself, and that’s where a structured routine comes in.
The Benefits of Having a Routine
Having a routine looks different to each individual, but a few components should be common among them. According to Northwestern Medicine, in the article “Health Benefits of Having a Routine,” people with a structured daily routine often get recommended amounts of sleep, eat better diets, get more exercise, and feel like they have enough time to conquer their obligations.
We don’t want to believe it, but humans are creatures of habit. We find comfort in revisiting routines, and the psychological benefits are well documented. As children, bedtime routines and family routines increase family functioning, lead to better sleep habits, and strengthen family resilience in times of crisis.
The Challenges of Building a Routine
Unfortunately, it can be hard to establish a positive routine and easy to pick up a negative one. On average, a person takes 66 days to form a positive dietary habit. Forming a physical habit, such as doing 50 sit-ups before a morning coffee, takes one and a half times longer.
Forming a routine is variable from person to person, and it can take longer for some than others to make a healthy habit that doesn’t require conscious thought, especially if it’s a more complex habit meant to prevent disease. Sobriety is a complex, multi-step habit that requires a great deal of discipline. Fortunately, discipline and routines are reciprocally beneficial. In a summary of information about self-control, studies showed that self-control is strongly linked with success, and developing it into an automatic habit was possible through planning, goal-setting, and coping skills.
How to Create a Routine That Supports Sobriety
The health benefits of routines are well-established and support the goal to make positive choices automatic. Making self-control an automatic choice can be done through a purposeful routine. Some tips on creating a routine that supports sobriety include:
- Change your substance use habits into healthy ones. For example, if you usually indulged at night before bed, establish your new routine at that time.
- Make small goals that are easy to achieve while you work up to a more complex habit. Use the SMART goal method to make your goal more tangible.
- Establish a routine to deal with triggers and desires. For example, have a plan in place for when you have a craving. When a craving hits, you can go outside for a walk or eat a piece of fruit.
- Deal with mental health problems as they come up, and don’t let them spiral. Part of your routine should be allocated to managing your symptoms. Daily meditation, yoga, and mindfulness training would be great additions to your healthy habits routine.
Forming healthy habits to support sobriety doesn’t come easy. Often, it takes a specialized environment with support to learn and implement them into your daily life. At Alta Loma, you can not only learn skills and routines to help you establish a sober routine, but you can learn to manage the mental health symptoms that worsen substance cravings. Sobriety and healthy living go hand-in-hand, so if you’re looking for a way to establish a healthy routine that keeps you sober, call Alta Loma at (866) 457-3843 to talk about our program.