The winter months can present a myriad of new challenges for those in recovery. Limited daylight and low temperatures can significantly affect one’s regular hobbies and circadian rhythm, impacting both one’s daily hobbies and typical routine. Bedtimes and morning alarms, new therapeutic practices, and any other alterations to one’s day brought about by the change in season can be challenging to cope with.
However, while the seasons may be changing, there are ways to navigate their unique hurdles while maintaining a healthy daily routine for those in recovery. These can help support one’s continued sober efforts and mental and emotional health.
Know the Differences of the Season
Creating a healthy routine is paramount as the different seasons can significantly alter one’s typical rhythms. Each season can come with its own factors. The extended amounts of summer daylight permit easier social connection but also make it difficult to get to sleep early. On the other hand, the winter months cover the greater portion of one’s day with night. Accepting that one’s routines may have to be changed is the first step in preparing for whatever season lies ahead.
This can be especially helpful when an individual is creating new coping strategies or taking on new therapeutic hobbies. Outdoor coping strategies, from participation in sports leagues to hiking, biking, or even walking one’s dog, can all be much more difficult to employ regularly during winter.
Accepting that some recovery strategies may be tied to the whims of the season can be difficult. However, it can also encourage those in recovery to look to new outlets. This can broaden one’s recovery toolkit and prevent over-reliance on a single recovery technique.
Taking on new indoor-focused or accessible therapeutic outlets, such as yoga, meditation, or setting up a space for art or music in one’s living space, can all be powerful therapeutic opportunities for winter. Exploring these various options and deciding on the new interests most pertinent to each individual can allow one to practice and hone the skill, making the transition into the winter months that much easier.
Keep Alarms Consistent
Morning routines are essential to starting each day in a productive mindset. While the daylight may change, one’s alarms can help each individual maintain a sense of consistency and predictability regardless of the sunrise of each given morning.
Keeping one’s regular alarms and getting out of bed is essential. While it can feel jarring to get up before the sun, not adhering to a routine can have greater detriments. Doing so can compromise not just one’s sleep patterns but also one’s energy levels throughout the day. Maintaining a sense of regularity helps an individual start the day off in a predictable fashion and allows them to better monitor the amount of sleep they are getting each night.
Unfortunately, actually getting out of bed can be the hardest part of the day. Between feelings of depression, stresses of life, or even just being tired, getting oneself out of bed and ready to face the day ahead can be complex. Having a regular morning routine can be essential in ensuring that one approaches each day with a productive goal rather than allowing stresses to set in from the moment one wakes up.
Waking up, brushing one’s teeth, taking a shower, and eating a healthy breakfast are all instrumental in framing how the rest of the day may feel. Keeping these things consistent not only helps each individual focus on their physical health, but such a monotonous approach to one’s morning can provide an opportunity to practice mindfulness or plan for the day ahead.
However, one’s morning routine does not have to be boring. It is fair to schedule a time to catch the morning news or for a bit of self-care before the day begins.
Prioritizing Your Schedule
While schedules are intended to provide structure and consistency, they are still malleable. Changing one’s priorities or regular schedule to adapt to the winter months can be incredibly beneficial. By acknowledging the limited daylight or cold temperatures, one can better plan their responsibilities and self-care around the structure of the day.
For example, one may choose to schedule in their regular self-care earlier in the day in order to take advantage of the daylight. One can simultaneously commit to one’s responsibilities and obligations later in the afternoon if they are not light-sensitive. While swapping around schedules can be beneficial, it is not an excuse to put off one’s responsibilities until later and later in the day. Instead, it should be a practice in prioritizing and decision-making while still tending to all of one’s regular duties.
The winter months come with a myriad of changes, and adjusting to all of them can be difficult. At Everlast Recovery Centers, we understand the unique plights brought upon by the changing seasons and are ready to help you make the right changes to maintain a healthy schedule in sobriety. We house a homey and supportive community, ready to help you build upon your strengths while providing a safe place to overcome your vulnerabilities, all backed by education and an ever-changing and personalized approach to your unique needs and goals in recovery. From art and music to writing, yoga, meditation, EMDR, and much more, we are prepared to address your goals while developing effective daily routines to tackle the daily stresses of winter. For more information on how we can help you, or to speak to a caring, trained staff member about your unique situation, call us today at (866) 388-6925.