Life can become busy for most people from time to time. This is especially common at the beginning of recovery when you are attending residential or outpatient treatment. Or, if you attend various 12 Step support groups during the week.
Life can also get busy with things like relationships, jobs, kids, tasks, and more. Naturally, an overly busy life may feel overwhelming and feel like you’re out of balance. Learning to balance your recovery and life outside of recovery can take a little practice and effort, but it’s certainly possible. It’s also well worth it.
Let’s look at how you can begin balancing your life better with the following 5 tips.
The first thing you can do is make a list of all your obligations or duties. These are the things that you must do in life. Or, the things you feel you should do to practice self-love, self-care, and responsibility.
Duties may include things like work, spending time with your partner or family, taking care of household chores, and doing what you have to do for recovery, like meetings, counseling, etc.
This list is your “to-do” list. Take the time each day to make sure you’re getting these things done.
Now that you know what’s most important for you to do daily, sit down and think about the things you’re doing that are time wasters. These are the things you don’t really need to do in your life.
For example, let’s say Matt heads out to exercise each morning but ends up stopping to chat with his neighbour sitting out on the front porch. Matt doesn’t mind chatting, but his neighbour keeps him tied up for about 20 minutes, which makes him feel rushed every morning to fit everything in.
Perhaps Matt could put on his “Not-To-Do” list, “Don’t talk so long with Joe every morning. Politely excuse myself after a few minutes and catch up with him some other time.”
This could save Joe from feeling rushed in the morning and he could enjoy a more balanced day.
What kinds of activities can you do without?
What are you spending time doing that you just don’t need to?
Hours upon hours on the computer or video games? Facebook? Television?
Can you cut some of the time down on those things?
If you’re feeling out of balance timewise, look for the ways you might be wasting time each day and then cut them out or decrease the time. Keep your list handy to serve as a reminder.
It’s easy to get so caught up with work, duties, obligations, etc., that you may forget about actually having fun.
What are some things you love to do but haven’t been doing them lately?
Fishing? Going to meet a friend for coffee? Hiking? Tinkering in the garage? Woodworking?
Now that you have your list of obligations and duties, make a new list of things you love to do. Then, make sure you find the time to pencil in those activities regularly. No doubt getting back to doing those things you enjoy can help you feel better on all levels.
Now that you’ve made a list of your duties, things you want to cut out or decrease, and things that you love to do, make a daily schedule for yourself. Put on there when you will do what. You can even print out a calendar to help you out.
Write in when you will go to recovery meetings, counseling, enjoy a date night, family night, and recreational activities.
If you’re only doing your duties (work, chores, etc.) and not wasting time on unnecessary things, then you’ll be able to create a calendar that should help you start living a more balanced life.
Of course, you can change your schedule up now and then, especially if you’re feeling pressed for time or out of balance. For example, if your wife tells you she misses you and wants to spend time more time with you, look at your schedule and do some more balancing to include more time with her. Or, if you’re not getting enough time to fish, see where you can pencil that in and follow through with it.
It’s easy to get up and go all day long until your head hits the pillow. Work, chores, tasks, hobbies, recreation – if you’re not careful, you can get on that hamster wheel and run yourself ragged. This is true even if what you’re spending time doing are wonderful things.
A great way to live a more balanced life in recovery is to take just a little bit of time each day to get quiet with yourself. This could be five minutes when you first wake up or maybe take some moments throughout your day to get quiet and just breathe.
For some, regular meditation practice helps them feel more balanced. It calms down the mind and allows them to just be present in peace.
And peace is what most people truly desire.
So be sure you’re taking some time each day to just sit and be quiet. Or get out in nature and just enjoy the beautiful peace there. As you re-enter your daily routine, try to keep that peace alive and well.
The modern world we live in can prompt busy lives, so be sure you keep your schedule in check. For those in addiction recovery, staying balanced with your recovery work and daily life tasks is important. Getting out of balance can result in stress that could become a trigger. So, every so often take inventory of your life and be honest with yourself.
If you’re overly busy and feeling frazzled, make the necessary changes. Take these tips into consideration as you continue along your recovery road, creating the kind of life you truly desire.