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In life, there are all sorts of things that can happen to us, that knock us down and that make it difficult for us to get back up our feet. Whenever we encounter these sorts of events, it’s essential that we take whatever steps we can to rectify the problems we are facing, and to get on the road to recovery.
Recovery will mean different things, in different contexts. If you’ve been subject to addiction of one form or another, recovery can involve an inpatient program, followed by an intensive outpatient program to ensure that you are staying the course, and are continually taking steps in the right direction.
If you’ve had your career aspirations thrown out the window, recovery might mean reformulating a professional vision for yourself that can inspire you, and then doing whatever is in your power to move productively towards that new career goal.
In any event, staying the path on a recovery programme can be tough, and can require lots of motivation, momentum, and grit. Sometimes, it’s all too easy for your spirits to flag when you are on a journey of recovery – and this can be a real problem, and can jeopardise the entire goal of recovery altogether.
So, if you’re in the process of recovering from something in your life, here are a few tips for keeping your spirits up while doing so.
- Hold yourself to a routine
Routine and structure are essential for keeping your world clearly defined, during a period of uncertainty and chaos. When undergoing a process of recovery, it is quite certain that your life is going to seem quite chaotic, and that you are going to struggle to maintain a clear sense of just what it is that you should be doing at every given moment.
Even the most “wild” of us needs some kind of structure and order, on a fundamental level. Structure and order helps to reassure us that we are in “familiar territory,” and keeps things from becoming, and seeming, unbearably complex, all around us.
Holding yourself to a routine during a period of recovery isn’t necessarily going to be easy, but it is a very important step that we all need to undertake.
The specifics of your routine will vary, depending on the specifics of your personal life, your job and family obligations, and so on. As a general rule, however, you should set yourself a regular wake up time, and regular mealtimes, at the very least.
If you don’t have a set time each morning when you wake up, it’s all too easy to fall into a haphazard routine of staying up late and waking up at irregular hours, and finding it impossible to plan your day in any kind of productive way, as a consequence of that.
Ideally, your routine should be much the same from one day to the next. In either case, you should get into the habit of scheduling out your day, and your daily obligations, on some form of calendar – whether digital, or paper-based.
It’s good to follow the same tasks in the same order, just so you can go through the motions carefully and with diligence. For instance, learning how to floss with braces could come before you take a shower, then you may wish to meditate, and starting some light stretching to begin your day. Then perhaps you could go for a walk, return and drink a little coffee, prepared for the day. It’s all about the incremental approach, which may seem minor now, but will have an amazing cumulative effect going forward.
- Be compassionate towards yourself, and allow yourself a bit of rest and relaxation every day
People, as a rule, are not generally very good at being compassionate towards themselves. Instead, what often happens, is that the more ambitious people among us will absolutely and uncompromisingly grind themselves into the dust in order to achieve their goals and live a life that they find meaningful. The less ambitious, on the other hand, will frequently give in to unhealthy and unhelpful acts of hedonism, and pretend that those are “self-care.”
Being compassionate towards yourself doesn’t mean being a tyrant to yourself, or going out and getting drunk three nights a week. It means allowing opportunities each day for a bit of rest and relaxation, and it also means giving yourself the benefit of the doubt, and being understanding of your own challenges and troubles.
Being compassionate towards yourself is an essential part of making it through a recovery process, without suffering unduly along the way. It’s about creating some balance in your life, and helping to keep things on a healthy course.
In order to practice compassion towards yourself, you should find ways of adding a bit of rest, relaxation, and comfort to each day. This can be scheduled straight into your daily routine in the form of a hot bath in the evening, followed by some good music, some light stretching, and reading in bed. Or, it can also take a more “on-the-fly” form, and involve finding opportunities every day to appreciate the small pleasures in life.
- Set yourself goals that actually inspire you
It’s difficult to keep your spirits up, if you don’t have a sense that there are things in the future that are worth working towards, and that are worth getting inspired by, and becoming enthusiastic about.
If you fail to set yourself any inspirational and encouraging goals for the future, you simply leave yourself drifting around in limbo, and this is unlikely to help you to keep your spirits up, or to help you to generate any hope for the longer term.
By the same token, if you set yourself goals for the future that you don’t care about, and that don’t inspire you, you will feel unmotivated to work towards them, and there’s little reason to think that they will have enough potency to serve as a positive force in your life.
Setting yourself goals that actually inspire you, on the other hand, can help to give you focus and encouragement in the here and now, and hope for the future.
- Seek out resources that help to give you a sense of perspective and hope
We are all blessed these days, because we have such easy access to a vast range of resources that can help us to gain a sense of perspective and hope in our lives. It’s just a matter of actually seeking those resources out on a regular basis.
On the path to recovery, you should listen to inspirational talks, should read books that help to convey a message of hope (or should listen to the audiobook versions,) and should consider joining support groups, and visiting websites based on the same theme.
Generally, these resources should help to boost your motivation and sense of possibility on a day-to-day basis.
This is a contributed post.