If you are like millions around the globe, then you are likely spending most, if not all of your time at home. While there are plenty of ideas and suggestions to stay focused and on task, you might still be struggling. All this extra time at home could be enabling you to create bad habits in the attempt to avoid and replace other negative habits that lead to relapse. Among these bad habits are making poor dietary choices, neglecting hygiene, and avoiding responsibility. Since your daily structuring is up to you, you might find yourself often procrastinating, becoming more frequently bored and watching more TV. Because of this, your recovery is suffering. However, there are ways to replace bad habits with good ones.
The onset of any habit is usually the result of a trigger. Since there has been a shelter-in-place regulation placed upon you, you probably have a good indication as to where all of this extra stress is coming from. Once you recognize where your worry is coming from, start to be aware of certain times during the day when you feel the urge to indulge in a counterproductive habit, such as snacking, procrastinating by watching TV, or maybe even abusing another substance like caffeine or tobacco. Keep track of these times by writing them down. Record what you are doing, where you are, and what urge you are feeling at that time. Ask yourself, are these urges brought on by news, or certain friends on social media? After a couple of days of recording, you will then start to see a pattern.
One of the reasons you might be continuing to enable bad habits is because in some ways they are rewards for how you are feeling or behaving. Knowing you are going to smoke a cigarette or snack on chips to cope with the news might be pleasing to your body, thus creating cravings. Once you are able to see the patterns, you can then begin to skew your bad habits. For example, if starting your day watching the news sets in motion your bad habits, then simply do not start your day with the news. The idea is to recognize your cues and go the opposite way to not only disrupt the behavior but also disrupt the negative reward that comes as a result of it.
Once you can identify and disrupt the actions you are wanting to change, start thinking about replacing the behavior or habit with a positive alternative. When you feel the urge to snack when you go to the kitchen, instead of eating something like a cookie or chips, replace these junk foods with healthier options, like a banana or celery sticks. By deciding to choose a healthy snack, you are keeping your mind from defaulting to having a cookie and shifting the thought toward a healthier option.
Your recovery has taught you by now how difficult it can be to change the way you behave and make choices—it has also probably taught you that while these changes take time and effort, the benefits are worth it. However, you will want to start slow or with things that are easier to correct. Upon waking, instead of watching the news, take a shower. Use the time to get your mind ready for the day. Redesign your workspace, instead of working in the kitchen, try moving it to the living room or bedroom. These small steps help build a foundation for implementing better habits in your day. Just remember to take it slow. Also, focus on the rewards of each new task—what will motivate you?
Plan Around Impulse
Most bad habits are formed because you might be succumbing to impulse. Impulses are a short-term way to alleviate the stress of a problem, however, they lead to long-term bad habits. Stepping out for a cigarette when work or news becomes a little stressful could lead to needing a pack a day. Given that there is so much uncertainty surrounding the current situation, you will want to develop good habits that will last. Think about how you might design your schedule and habits to sustain an entire day spent at home. Always remember why you are making this effort.
Consistency is the key to any successful regimen. Understand that over time, these new behaviors will create new habits, and that is worth it to keep going. The outcome will not only offer you a more productive and positive day, but can reward you with more nourishing benefits that help maintain a healthy body and mind. To further motivate yourself, track your progress—much like sobriety, every day is a small victory, and you should recognize it.
Just because you are replacing the number of times you substitute a healthier option with a negative one does not mean you cannot indulge here and there. If you want to designate a time on the weekend where you enjoy a cookie or a cigarette with coffee, this is more than okay. The idea is to curb how often you do it, but you do not have to remove them. Instead, use them as a way to motivate yourself, knowing that you will get that cookie on Saturday.
Finding motivation from a place often associated with comfort can be difficult. True Recovery understands that maintaining a consistent schedule during these unique times is asking a lot of your recovery. If you feel that you are still struggling to get a handle on your recovery to build positive momentum, we are available 24/7 and are here to help find the kind of care that can best meet your unique needs. You do not need to face this alone. For more information call us today at (866)-399-6528.