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Recovery can be hard with work and life going on too.
July 17, 2017

How to Find Work-Life Balance When You’re in Recovery

Recovery can be hard with work and life going on too.There’s no exact science to finding work-life balance when you’re in recovery—but that doesn’t mean a less stressed, more focused and self-disciplined version of you isn’t within reach. Get some helpful and creative tips for finding work-life balance here:

Does the strain of juggling meeting attendance, maintaining schedules, tending to responsibilities, performing good self-care and taking time for recreation tend to get you down when you’re in recovery? If so, you’re not alone. It can seem intimidating and a bit out of reach to achieve work-life balance in recovery. It isn’t, however, impossible. Here are some suggestions on how to find and maintain work-life balance when you’re in recovery.

LEARN HOW TO PACE YOURSELF    

Although it’s natural to want to dive in and get everything done at once, this is humanly impossible, not to mention, stress-producing and enough to cause a tailspin of disappointment, mistakes and loss of momentum in recovery. You’re in this recovery journey for life, so there’s no need to continue to pressure yourself to do more than you can currently handle. A key aspect of finding work-life balance when you’re in recovery is pacing. Put some space between recovery-oriented tasks and activities and other necessary items in your daily schedule. Granted, you need to be productive at work to be able to take care of your family and personal responsibilities, but non-stop work to make deadlines is no way to maintain a work-life balance.

TEND TO YOUR DAILY RECOVERY NEEDS

In recovery, you know what must come first: tending to your daily recovery needs. If you neglect going to meetings, fail to take proper care of yourself, ignore your schedules and routines, pile on your to-do list, you’ll soon find yourself feeling like you’re going nowhere, despite expending tremendous amounts of energy. Recovery, especially early recovery, is a time when you’re gaining your footing in sobriety, practicing the skills and techniques in your recovery toolkit, building a strong support network in 12-Step groups, working with your sponsor on the Twelve Steps and other recovery-oriented activities. It may seem like work and life are a bit out of kilter when you first enter recovery, yet this will smooth out over time. For now, concentrate on building a strong recovery foundation.

ASK FOR HELP WHEN YOU NEED IT

Accepting projects, tasks and getting involved in projects that stretch you too thin is a sure way to throw work and life out of balance. This is where you should ask for help from those closest to you in your social support system, your loved ones, family members, close friends who support your recovery goals, even co-workers. It’s called sharing the load, parceling out various aspects of tasks and duties so that there’s less of a burden on any one individual – especially you at this point in your recovery. Remember, though, that you should promise to reciprocate when you are able to do so, as this will make others more willing to help you. Then, be sure to follow through on your promise. When many hands share the work, the work gets done quicker.

CREATE A PLAN

Those who have completed drug and alcohol rehab are familiar with creating plans. It’s part of the process of recovery. Now that you’re back home, working and taking care of family and other responsibilities, the concept of planning is even more important. It’s an extension of the plans you began during treatment. Indeed, recovery, like life in general, does better with effective planning. Take some time to work on a plan for what you want to accomplish in recovery in the short-term, some months down the road, and long-term goals that may be years off.

Why bother with plans? Without them, you’re likely to find yourself ceaselessly repeating actions and getting less results from your efforts. Call your plans a guideline or think of them as a vision for where you want to go. Just craft a plan. And, since you are the architect of your plan, you have a vested interest in the outcome. You’re much more likely to put in the time and effort to see your goals and dreams in recovery realized.

WORK TOWARDS A GOAL

Once you have a plan, the key to accomplishment—and keeping a good work-life balance in recovery—is to begin working towards a goal. This does not mean that you can’t have several goals you’re working on somewhat simultaneously. Obviously, some goals are multi-step processes or require months or longer to complete. So, there’s time to do a little work on several different goals. If they don’t conflict with your recovery needs, or cause you to shirk your self-responsibility to do recovery work, you can handle acting on several goals a day. Be sure, however, to know when enough is enough. When it’s time to stop working and do something else that’s good for you and your recovery, pay attention and do it.

PRACTICE GOOD SELF-CARE

What is good self-care? It’s getting sufficient sleep so that your body can repair, replenish and rejuvenate. This means eight to nine hours of restful sleep each night. Good self-care also means eating appropriate healthy meals, not skipping meals or starting the day with a huge dose of caffeine. Getting regular vigorous exercise is also part of a good self-care routine.

USE TIME-MANAGEMENT TECHNIQUES

If projects always seem to swamp you and you’re often up against a deadline, whether at home or work, you’re likely making inefficient use of time. Here’s where brushing up on time-management techniques can make an enormous difference in your work-life balance in recovery. Remember, there are only 24 hours in a day. You can only accomplish so much each day, so it’s important to prioritize what must be done and adequately apportion time to tend to critical tasks and duties. You must factor in the time to attend 12-Step or other support meetings, work with your sponsor and take care of other recovery-oriented responsibilities. Making the time for and taking charge of your recovery goals will go a long way toward ensuring your continued progress in sobriety.

UNPLUG TO TAKE A BREAK

Technology is everywhere. From the time that you get up to the hour you go to bed, you’re surrounded by and make use of technology. Your smartphone, laptop, tablet, desktop, Fitbit or other fitness-tracking devices, GPS, radio, TV and so on, serve to entertain and inform your day. They also, however, add to your stress levels – at a time when you should be doing all you can to eliminate or reduce stress from your day.

Instead of giving in to the desire to constantly check your social media networks (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and the like) for updates, turn off your tech devices. It doesn’t have to be all day, just an hour or so to put a pause into your day and give you a tech break.

MAKE TIME FOR YOU

If you’re feeling burned out and frazzled, listless and exhausted, it may well be that you’re spending too much time on work-related projects or tending to never-ending tasks at home. The solution for this is to carve some time in your schedule for you. What you do during this “me-time” is not as important as the fact that it means something to you. If you enjoy hiking outdoors, do that. If meditating helps relax you and quiet your mind, make this part of your down-time. Reading, shopping, taking in a movie with friends, going out to dinner with a loved one, playing sports, trying out a new recipe, and gardening are some other ideas for personal pursuits.

TEND TO YOUR SPIRITUAL SIDE

During treatment for addiction, you likely learned about the importance of maintaining body-mind-spirit balance. Each requires diligent effort and are of equal importance in overall well-being. In addition to other ways to find work-life balance in recovery, make sure to highlight and make time for tending to your spirituality. This doesn’t necessarily entail religious worship, although many find prayer and going to services extremely helpful in restoring their spirit. You can get in touch with your spiritual nature through other ways, including various forms of meditation, including mindfulness meditation, self-reflection, and through yoga, deep breathing, even walking outside.

 

Sources:

Alcoholics Anonymous, “The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.” Retrieved June 21, 2017

Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, “Special Section: Defining and Measuring ‘Recovery’.” [Elsevier] Retrieved June 21, 2017

Medline Plus, “Why Yoga, Tai Chi and Meditation Are Good For You.” Retrieved June 21, 2017

Mental Health America, “Social Support: Getting and Staying Connected.” Retrieved June 21, 2017

Pew Research Center, Internet and Technology, “Psychological Stress and Social Media Use.” Retrieved June 21, 2017

Science Daily, “What is mindfulness-based meditation and why should I try it?” Retrieved June 21, 2017

Smart Recovery, “Values and Goals Clarification.” Retrieved June 21, 2017

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA), “Recovery and Wellness Lifestyle—A Self-Help Guide.” Retrieved June 21, 2017

The University of Georgia Cooperative Extension, “Time Management: 10 strategies for better time management.” Retrieved June 21, 2017

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