- Keys to Maintaining Sobriety With Healthy Habits
Addiction recovery is a lifelong process. There will be bumps in the road, and you will always need to stay vigilant on your journey to a better life. That said, incorporating healthy habits into your daily routine can help make sobriety easier. Today, How to Organize Your Life provides some tips on how to do just that.
Get Enough Sleep
A good night’s rest is crucial for both your physical and mental health. It can be hard to stick to a regular sleep schedule when you’re first getting sober, but you must try. A lack of sleep can lead to relapse and a host of other health issues. Here are some tips for achieving a healthy sleep rhythm:
- Establish a regular sleep schedule: Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day will help your body regulate its natural sleep rhythm.
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed: Caffeine can keep you awake for hours after drinking it, while alcohol can disrupt your sleep cycle and make it harder to fall asleep.
- Avoid working or using electronic devices in bed: Working on your laptop or watching television in bed can make it harder to fall asleep and get the rest you need.
- Get plenty of exercise during the day: Exercise helps promote good sleep hygiene by tiredness your body and making it easier to fall asleep at night.
- Make sure your bedroom is dark, quiet, and comfortable: Keeping your environment calm and stress-free will help you relax and fall asleep more easily.
Start the Day Strong
The morning is a critical time of day; it’s when we get ready for the day ahead and set the tone for how we’ll be feeling. Developing a healthy morning routine is important for ensuring we’re off to a good start. Some things you may want to include in your morning routine are:
- Waking up early enough to have some time to yourself.
- Getting dressed in comfortable clothes.
- Making breakfast and/or drinking a healthy smoothie.
- Reading or doing some quiet meditation or mindfulness exercises.
- Spending some time outdoors, if possible.
- Eliminating social media from your morning routine.
Having these things in place as part of your morning routine can help you feel more relaxed and centered as you start your day. It can also help set the tone for how the day will go, and give you the energy you need to take on whatever comes your way.
A healthy diet will help your body heal from the damage caused by addiction and give you the energy you need to stay sober. Avoid processed foods and sugar as much as possible, and try to get plenty of fruits, vegetables, and protein. While you’re at it, limit your caffeine intake; too much caffeine can exacerbate anxiety and negatively impact your sleep.
Exercise releases endorphins, which have mood-boosting effects. It also helps reduce stress, improve sleep, and increase energy levels. All of these things are essential to maintaining sobriety, so find a physical activity (e.g., running, cycling, weightlifting, etc.) that you can commit to at least four days a week.
When you’re feeling overwhelmed or like you’re about to lose your cool, take a break. Step away from the situation and take some deep breaths. Doing so will help you avoid saying or doing something you might regret later.
Connect with Others
Isolation is one of the main triggers for relapse, so it’s essential to stay connected with friends and family members who support your sobriety. Attend meetings, join a sober social group, or volunteer — do anything that gets you around others who understand what you’re going through.
Sobriety is a difficult but rewarding journey. Incorporating healthy habits into your everyday life can make it easier to maintain your sobriety long-term. So get plenty of rest, establish a morning routine, eat healthily, connect with others, and implement the other tips above. Your recovery and your overall life will benefit significantly as you put in the effort!
How to Organize Your Life is here to provide organizational tips and promote books and courses to help you get as organized as possible. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out!
- 5 WAYS TO BEAT THE WINTER BLUES
Written by: Becky Bargh
Around two million people in the UK are affected by the winter blues, or Seasonal Affective Disorder, as the shorter days trigger many of us to feel more lethargic. While we can’t hurry winter along, we can give you some tips on how to navigate the colder, darker months. Here are just five…
Like its predecessors, 2022 was a tough year for many people.
But at the dawn of a new year, January brings with it positivity and plenty of promise.
As we move through the winter months, however, the winter blues – otherwise known as Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) – can start to creep in.
SAD has been described as a “winter depression” that occurs annually during the winter months.
While its cause is still debated, low vitamin D levels and lower levels of melatonin are a few suggestions for the onset of SAD over the darker season.
Symptoms are similar to that of depression and include persistent low mood, lethargy and irritability.
The good news is that there are plenty of tips and tricks that can help to combat the winter blues, as well as treatments depending on the severity of the symptoms.
Here are some suggestions.
1. Get active
Described as a “miracle cure” by the NHS – the benefits of exercise are vast.
It’s something that everyone can do to improve their health; whether it be little or a lot, you’re guaranteed to feel the benefits.
To combat SAD, the NHS recommends exercising outside in as much daylight as possible.
This could be something as simple as a gentle stretch or a midday walk.
“Exercise release endorphins – chemicals that help us to feel good,” explains rugby legend, Jonny Wilkinson.
“It also gets the body moving, the blood pumping and helps to avoid stagnancy. Completing goals and challenging limits are small victories that help us build momentum and a sense of self-worth.”
However, we know it can be difficult to be motivated to get regular exercise in the winter months.
We recently provided some inspiration on how to get active in the winter months and why it’s so good for our mental health.
2. How your diet can help
Good health is achieved through a balanced diet. This doesn’t just mean eating a plethora of foods, but also in the right proportions.
The Associations of UK Dieticians recommends eating regular meals to help combat depression, along with a healthy portion of protein at each meal, due to its high tryptophan content – an essential amino acid needed to make proteins.
Sources include fish, poultry and eggs.
Vegetarians and vegans should opt for leafy green vegetables and pulses.
Meanwhile, recommendation number one from The Eatwell Guide for a balanced diet is to get five portions of fruit and vegetable every day.
Adding more vegetables to your favourite meals is one way to ensure you’re hitting the recommended allowance. Or swap out one of your less healthy snacks for a piece of fruit.
A nutritious diet safeguards your mental wellbeing, it can improve your mood, boost your energy levels and help you think more clearly, according to the charity Mind.
Meanwhile, Vitality’s Head Mental Health and Wellbeing, Belinda Sidhu, says that foods that are rich in vitamin D and B can help with energy levels.
3. Light therapy
In an effort to simulate sunlight exposure, light therapy is becoming an increasingly popular method to counter winter blues.
The act of light therapy itself involves sitting by a specific type of lamp for around 30 minutes to an hour, giving the illusion of more natural light throughout the shorter days.
Studies have found that using light therapy it can effectively adjust users’ circadian rhythm, which improves our sleep.
These lights come in a number of different forms, such as desk lights, screens and clocks.
While it’s a compelling idea, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) is yet to determined light therapy’s effectiveness.
For more information, visit the NHS website here.
4. Mindfulness and meditation
As mentioned above, theories around the onset of SAD come from a higher production of melatonin.
This natural hormone is produced by the brain’s pineal gland and controls the sleep cycle.
The body begins to produce melatonin when it gets dark, meaning it is produced for long in the winter months, and can disrupt our circadian rhythm.
There is some evidence to show that meditation can be used as an effective tool to overcome SAD. Meditating helps to increase the body’s serotonin levels, which modulates melatonin to a healthy level. In turn, this can help change your thoughts around negative thinking, a common symptom on SAD.
Mindfulness is another practice that can be beneficial in combatting SAD.
5. Speak to someone
A problem shared is a problem halved, as the saying goes, and it’s been proven to an effective one, too.
Research by Age UK found that around one in three adults share their worries and 36% feel better as a result.
Meanwhile, Wilkinson says that, for him, speaking out is how he moves towards his goals:
“When you feel like you’re overcome from the outside, it’s an opportunity to realise what you need to let go of in order to grow and face those challenges,”
‘Brew Monday’, is also one way that people are reframing ‘Blue Monday’, whereby people grab a hot drink and have a chat with someone, in order to ask how they’re feeling about their mental health.
But for those that are struggling with more serious forms of SAD, counselling can be a very positive form of treatment.
The NHS offers psychological therapies without GP referral.
Meanwhile, more severe cases of SAD might call for antidepressants as a form of treatment, however, this should be discussed with your GP.
- Quitters Day
With work back in full flow and our chaotic lives resuming, following a fun-filled and relaxing festive season, it comes as no surprise that many are already struggling to stick to New Year’s resolutions. Here’s when Quitter’s Day is and how to beat it.
January isn’t the most pleasant of months with Christmas and New Year’s Eve behind us and the daunting prospect of a New Year ahead.
However, it’s also a month full of opportunity and a chance to hit the reset button amid the busyness of day-to-day life. It can present new beginnings and a way to instil life-changing habits.
The second Friday in January, each year, is known as Quitter’s Day and there’s a double whammy this year as it falls on Friday, 13th January.
It’s a day when the month has already taken its toll on many, and those who set themselves New Year’s resolutions decide to give up.
So, if you’ve been teetering on the edge of giving up on Dry January, tucking into a steak in the midst of Veganuary, or skipping that lunchtime run, we’ve got a range of tips from nutritionists, personal trainers and sobriety experts on how to power through.
Remember why you’ve made your New Year’s resolution
While it can be tempting to quit and give up on New Year’s resolutions, try to remember the exact reason that spurred you on to set yourself the goal of quitting drinking, eating healthier, doing something creative daily or exercising more.
Consistency is key – even if it’s a tiny change
From dark mornings to the cold winter air, January doesn’t make it easy to spring out of bed and make the most of your day.
However, we are sometimes guilty of overcomplicating our goals or making them a tad too hard, which also makes sticking to them far trickier.
Try to make life a little easier for yourself by trying considering the following things:
- Even going for a 20-minute walk is better than not exercising at all, you don’t have to go to the gym daily
- If you’ve said you’ll cut out takeaways, think about the fact that you could whip up an easy meal in the 30 minutes it takes for your food order to arrive
- While one drink might not hurt on a night out, is it worth the guilt you’ll feel later for having that one blip in an otherwise-perfect sobriety run?
- Break your goals down into monthly milestones – this makes things seem much more achievable and allows you to celebrate little wins
Don’t underestimate the power of tiny changes, such as cutting out a can of Coke every lunchtime. The cumulative impact of one small change can still be incredible. Don’t be hard on yourself, and take your time – fitness doesn’t have to be overwhelming.
Fail to prepare, prepare to fail
It can be so easy to wing it and believe that, as you’ve made this mental promise to yourself, you’ll stick to your resolutions. However, we’re only human and you’ll soon find a little bit of planning goes a long way.
Some easy ways to prepare for your resolutions include setting a reminder and blocking out time daily, putting a calendar on your wall and ticking off each day you stick to your plan, and noting down your plan for each day in a list.
One way to minimise gym anxiety, particularly in the weight room, is to have a plan in place beforehand, so you know exactly what you need to do and where you need to go.
Accountability and support will help you on your way
Temptation is never far away, particularly when social plans with your friends revolve around the one thing you’re giving up.
While we know it isn’t realistic to avoid seeing your friends for the whole of January or avoiding walking past your favourite takeaway joint until February, there are easy ways to stick to your resolutions.
Believe in yourself
As corny as it may sound, lacking self-belief will instantly set you on the path for failure. If you’re constantly telling yourself you ‘can’t do it’ or you’ll ‘never stick to it’, your mind will believe that, too.
Implementing a new habit into your lifestyle is tricky enough as it is, so try to avoid putting mental barriers in the way of your progress.
For example, gyms can be daunting places and there’s endless opportunity to compare yourself to those around you. You may think you’ll never get to their level when it comes to strength or stamina, but everyone starts somewhere and they’re likely to have been in the exact same place as you.
Where you will be by next January is completely your choice.
- New Year’s Resolution planner
- January 2023 30 day declutter challenge
Sticking with this challenge will help you rid your house of more than 400 unwanted items!
But the best part about this simple challenge is that you don’t have any special rules or regulations you need to follow.
There aren’t even any specific tasks you need to complete each day.
All you have to do is rid your home of things you don’t want or need. Sounds simple enough, doesn’t it?
Here’s how it works:
- Day one: Pick one item from your home you don’t want or need and throw it away or place it in a box to donate.
- Day two: Pick two items from your home you don’t want or need and throw them away or place them in the donation box.
- Day three: Pick three things from your home to declutter and throw them away or put them in your donation box.
Continue this process for 30 days, adding an additional item to your grouping every day until you reach the last day, where you’ll get rid of 30 items.
By the time you’ve reached 31st January, you’ll have gotten rid of 465 things from your home.
While the basic 30-day challenge is a great way to get started, sometimes you need a more guided approach to decluttering your home, so here are some ideas:
Day 1: Sort through your mail and create a place to hold incoming mail in the future.
Taking the time to organize your mail is the first step to stopping paper clutter.
After you have sorted through your current mail, think about how you can keep the paper clutter under control in the future.
Start by taking the time after you bring in the mail to sort and throw away all unneeded mail. Then create an organized area to keep important mail, like bills, until it’s time to take care of it.
For important bills and coupons, I like throwing them up on a cork board.
Once they’ve been actioned, I put them in a filing bin for future bulk filing or shredding.
Day 2: Clean out and organize your junk drawer.
Empty out the contents of your kitchen’s junk drawer and sort through everything.
Throw away anything that is broken or unneeded, then return the items to the drawer in an organized manner.
Day 3: Throw away old and expired food from your refrigerator and freezer.
Dig through your refrigerator and freezer and throw away all the food that has expired.
After that, look through each food item and toss old leftovers, as well as anything else that your family won’t use in the near future. Follow the same process as you clean out your freezer.
Day 4: Throw away old and expired food from your cabinets and pantry.
Open up your cabinets and pantry and look through all the food inside.
Throw out all expired food and sauces. Then, take a good look at everything that’s left. Throw away or donate food that your family doesn’t like or won’t eat in the near future.
Day 5: Declutter your countertops.
Remove everything from your kitchen counters and wipe down the countertops.
Take a look at all the items that were previously on the counters. Get rid of the things you no longer want, then replace the items that must go on your counter.
Find a place to store all the other things you don’t want on your counters but that you still need.
These under shelf storage baskets are really handy.
Day 6: Find 10 items in your kitchen to throw away or donate.
Once the food situation is under control in your kitchen, it’s time to tackle all the other clutter in the room.
Look through your drawers and cabinets to find at least 10 items you no longer need or use.
It’s especially important to discard duplicate items, broken tools, and unused appliances.
Otherwise, throw the things you decide to discard in the trash.
Day 7: Clean out master bedroom dresser and nightstands.
Today, move on to your bedroom to start organizing the space.
Declutter everything from your dresser, nightstands, and any other storage areas in the room.
Look through the items and throw away, sell or donate anything that no longer fits, is broken or damaged, or you don’t like or want anymore.
Day 8: Sort through the clothing, shoes and accessories in your master closet.
Now that the bedroom has been decluttered, start clearing out your closet.
Look through all the clothes, shoes, and other accessories that you no longer want or need.
It’s a good idea to get rid of all ripped, stained, or broken pieces, as well as items that don’t fit or haven’t been worn in over a year.
Day 9: Declutter your master (or main) bathroom.
Focus on cleaning out clutter from your bathroom’s cabinets and storage areas.
Throw away old toiletries, hair care products, and makeup, along with any other products you don’t like or use.
Then, take a look at the linens. Get rid of ripped or stained towels and washcloths, along with other linens you don’t like or use.
Day 10: Clear out paper clutter in living areas.
Take a good look at all the common areas in your house to find unneeded paper clutter.
Throw away all old magazines and newspapers, as well as extra mail that may be laying around.
Day 11: Declutter your entryway.
Sort through all the things cluttering your entryway.
Remove all items that aren’t necessary to the space and throw away everything you don’t want or need in the area. Reorganize the space to ensure it stays clutter free in the future.
Day 12: Clean out your purse.
Pour out everything in your purse and sort through the items inside.
Throw away all the trash and unwanted things like old receipts, then take a look through everything that’s left.
If it’s not an essential item, find a new place to store it. Then, return everything else to your purse in an organized manner.
Day 13: Declutter your phone.
Scroll through the apps on your phone and delete everything that you no longer use.
Then, take a look through your photos and other files and remove all the files you don’t want or need. Delete blurry pictures and all photos you no longer want.
If you want to keep most of your photos, but still want to make space on your phone, consider getting a separate hard drive.
Day 14: Clean out another closet.
Move on to another closet in your home, like the closet in your kid’s room or a coat closet.
Remove everything from the closet, then sort through the items.
Throw away all ripped, stained, and broken items.
Then, remove all clothing, shoes, coats, and accessories that don’t fit or you no longer need. Toss, sell or donate the items.
Day 15: Find 10 items around your house to throw away or donate.
Take a walk around your home with a trash bag or box.
Place at least 10 items from anywhere in your home in the bag.
If the things are old or unusable, throw them away. Otherwise, place them in a donation box, sell them or drop them off at your local donation center.
Day 16: Clean out the cabinet under your sink.
Open the cabinet under your sink and remove everything inside.
Throw away all empty bottles and all the cleaning supplies you no longer want or use. Clean out the cabinet and return the items in an organized manner.
This area under the sink cabinets can be difficult to organize. I find using a 2-tier basket system works best.
Day 17: Declutter another bathroom or closet.
Repeat the decluttering process that you did on day 8 in another bathroom in your home.
If you only have one bathroom, declutter another closet or storage area in your home. Throw away or donate items you don’t want or need, then return everything back to the storage area.
Day 18: Declutter the dresser and nightstand in a kid’s room or guest room.
Move to a second bedroom in your home to work through the clutter in that room’s storage areas.
Sort through everything stored in the room’s nightstand, dresser, and any other storage areas.
Remove everything that you don’t want, is damaged, or doesn’t fit. Then, return everything to the storage spots in a more organized way.
Day 19: Declutter your kid’s toys.
Look through all the toys your kids have and sort out the ones they’ve outgrown or no longer play with.
Donate all good, usable toys and throw away everything else.
If you don’t have kids at home, use this day to sort through your books, movies, or any other large collection of items you have in your home to clear out all the items you don’t need or want.
Day 20: Clean out a bookcase or storage cabinet.
Pick a bookcase or storage cabinet in your living room or family room and sort through the things on the shelves.
Clean out everything you no longer need or want, then clean the shelves and organize the items stored inside.
Day 21: Get rid of old devices.
Look through your home and gather up all your old phones, tablets, computers, remotes, and gaming systems.
Don’t forget to remove all the cords and chargers that go along with each item.
Make sure all the devices are wiped clean of personal data, then take the items to an electronics recycler. Usable devices can also be sold, if you desire.
Day 22: Remove one large item you no longer want.
If you have an old piece of furniture or an unwanted TV, find a way to remove it from your home today.
List the item for sale online or schedule a waste disposal company to come pick up the item. You can also haul the item to a disposal site yourself.
Day 23: Clean out another junk drawer.
If you have another junk drawer in your home, repeat the process from day 2.
If you don’t have a second junk drawer in your house, work your way through the remaining drawers in your kitchen to find items you no longer want or need.
Discard everything that is broken or unusable, then place the remaining items in a donation box.
Day 24: Declutter your inbox.
Take a look at your email inbox and clear out every message that you no longer need.
Organize important messages into labeled folders so you can find them when you need them in the future.
Day 25: Clean out your desk.
Go through the drawers and shelves in your office or desk area. Throw away all unneeded papers, then toss all unused office supplies.
Day 26: Declutter your car.
Head outside with a trash bag and clear out all the clutter and trash from your car.
If there are things in your car that you need to keep, set them aside.
Vacuum and wipe down the interior, then return everything that belongs in the car to the vehicle, making sure to sort and organize as you go.
Then, bring in everything that belongs in the house and return it to its location.
Day 27: Declutter your laundry room.
Go into your laundry room and identify all the items that shouldn’t be in the room and take them out.
Make sure the laundry room is organized to do its main function of cleaning clothes, sorting them and folding them.
Day 28: Clear out one untouched spot in your house.
Now that you’ve worked your way through most of the common cluttered areas in your home, it’s time to think about the spots you haven’t tackled yet.
Head to one area in your home that hasn’t been decluttered yet and clean it out.
Throw away things you don’t want or need, then return everything else in a more organized way.
Day 29: Find a home for everything.
Once the majority of your home has been decluttered and reorganized, it’s time to think about how you’ll keep your house organized in the future.
When reorganizing spaces, it’s a good idea to designate a spot for everything in your house.
When you remove something from its spot and use it, make sure to return it to its designated location when you’re finished.
And before you buy something new, make sure you consider where you’ll put that item before you make the purchase.
Day 30: Donate your unwanted items.
Once you’ve finished the minimalist challenge, you’ve probably accumulated a ton of unwanted stuff.
Take everything that is still in good, usable condition to a donation spot.
These items can be donated to Goodwill, your local church, a shelter, or another charitable organization.
When your donation box is empty, return it to the spot it was stored in and continue adding to it throughout each month.
At the end of the month, donate the items and repeat the process again.
If you’re looking for a printable checklist:
Here’s a 30 Day Decluttering Checklist (5 types).