Jumpstarting Your Wellness Journey: The Ultimate Guide to Healthy Habits
You’ve decided to get sober, and starting a sobriety journey means being healthier, right? Yes — and much more! When you get sober, you do more than just quit drinking or stop abusing drugs. You improve your overall health, including physical, mental, and spiritual well-being.
Did you know that getting sober can boost your entire immune system? Many people decide to get healthy, stop drinking, reduce alcohol, or lose 20 pounds. How many people have made new year’s resolutions to focus on a specific goal to build healthy habits, only to stop their health habits after the first month?
Getting sober and staying sober isn’t a one-time promise you can make, like a new year’s resolution. Living a life of sobriety means committing to good habits and healthy living for the long term.
Starting a new healthy daily habit is great, but how long does it take to do something daily to build healthy habits? Everyone is unique, with their own set of challenges and motivations, but on average, it takes 66 days for a routine to become a habit.
Once a new habit becomes a normal habit, it’s like brushing your teeth — you go on automatic pilot, and the activity or habit simply becomes part of your daily or weekly routine. Keep doing it, and soon, you’ll wonder what your life was like without your new healthy habit!
Take Baby Steps
Once you’ve decided to jumpstart your health and wellness journey, starting too many things at once or creating lofty, unrealistic goals can end in defeat. A simple way to start healthy habits is to take baby steps. That’s right — start one thing at a time, begin slowly, and build upon these habits.
Speaking of steps, health experts say you should get a minimum of 10,000 steps per day for optimal health. The average American gets 3,000 to 4,000 steps daily.
Start by establishing a baseline, and then add more daily steps for better health!
Quit Bad Habits for Good
Quitting bad habits, such as substance use disorder (SUD), may be the best thing you can do for your health. When you start a journey of sobriety and hit your stride, everything else seems to fall into place.
If you’re trying to quit or cut back on substance use, join over 150,000 people with the same goals and download Sober Sidekick. It’s a free app that offers the following features:
Professional help available
Download Sober Sidekick today to get support to stop substance abuse and get healthy!
Find Your Fitness Thing
Did you hate gym class? Does the idea of working up a sweat sound like a terrible idea to you? Find your fitness thing by experimenting with different types of exercise. Try something new, or pick up something you used to do. Get off your couch and get moving — you’ve totally got this.
Did you know that exercise can help with boredom and cravings during addiction recovery? Find the fitness thing you enjoy, look forward to, and enjoy better health.
Here are a few examples:
Use free weights
Join an adult rec league
You Are What You Eat
You’ve heard the saying a million times, but have you really stopped to think about it? Being more mindful about what you eat can greatly impact your overall well-being. With a million diets advertised, such as low-carb, plant-based, and fat-free, it can be hard to know what to choose.
A simple way to eat healthier is to think about the 80/20 rule of eating. If you eat healthy and nosh on mostly whole foods 80 percent of the time, you can enjoy the benefits of healthy eating.
These benefits can include increased energy, better digestion, a stronger immune system, and even clearer skin! The other 20 percent of your diet can come from food sources that may be tasty but aren’t going to stave off disease.
Try to eat more veggies, fruit, and unprocessed foods, and you’ll start to notice a big difference by making small changes in your diet. When you eat healthier foods, it can reduce cravings for junk food and for drugs and alcohol.
Perform Acts of Self-Care
The word “self-care” gets thrown around a lot, but self-care can have many interpretations. Self-care can be anything that you proactively do to enhance your health and wellness in areas of mental health, physical health, and spiritual and social wellness.
The truth is no one is in tune with your own, personal needs besides you.
Examples of Self-Care
Do you feel calmer after you organize your space and light a candle? That’s self-care. Does walking your dog and breathing fresh air outside ease your stress and make you feel joyful?
Yep — that’s self-care. That hour-long conversation you had with your bestie left you smiling? That’s not wasted time because it’s self-care.
Self-care can be as simple as taking five minutes to meditate. Check out this list of self-care ideas, and no matter how busy your day gets, squeeze in some self-care.
Hit the H2O
When you’re thirsty, do you reach for another cup of coffee, a can of soda, or a tall glass of water? Studies show the average person doesn’t drink enough water. In fact, 75 percent of Americans are chronically dehydrated.
Did you know that not drinking enough water can cause your body to crave sugar? Some people in addiction recovery report drinking water helping with cravings for alcohol or drugs.
Easy ways to incorporate more water into your daily routine is to fill a water bottle at the beginning of the day and continue to fill it midday and before bed. You can also space out your water drinking with meals to help you remember. Some find it helpful to add a splash of juice, cut berries, or a squeeze of refreshing lemon.
Drinking more water can help with weight loss and increase your energy level. It also helps to flush out unhealthy toxins from your body. This is especially important if you’re in addiction recovery or trying to start or maintain a life of sobriety. Hit the H2O bottle for better health and energy!
People in addiction recovery are twice as likely to relapse if they haven’t gotten enough sleep. Getting a good night’s sleep greatly impacts overall health and wellness.
If you’re in addiction recovery, your body needs time to heal, and when you rest and have deep sleep, this gives the body and the mind time to rejuvenate. The recommended amount of sleep varies, depending on your age, but adults who get less than seven hours of shut-eye per night put themselves at risk for health problems.
Do you go to bed with your phone? Many people do, as we use our phones for alarm clocks, messaging, email, and even our sobriety apps. Limiting screen time right before bed and stopping any form of screen time altogether 30 minutes before bedtime can help you to get a more restful night’s sleep.
Sleep is so critical to good health that a lack of sleep is associated with high blood pressure, weight gain, a high body mass index (BMI), and even stroke or heart disease. Even mental health can suffer due to a lack of sleep, with depression associated with poor sleep habits.
Jumpstart your health by hitting the hay early, and you’ll start to notice you have more energy and feel more alert!
Start a Health Journal
Most of the time, when people fail at keeping a goal or stopping a new year’s resolution, this is due to a lack of accountability. Write down what you did to achieve your healthy lifestyle goals each night.
This can include drinking enough water, making healthy food choices, exercising, and self-care. Starting a health journal is a great way to hold yourself accountable for your new healthy lifestyle. And it’s a good way to celebrate yourself every day!
Buy a fancy journal, or get a simple spiral-bound notebook to use as your journal. Decorate the cover with images or words that motivate you. Start a health journal today to keep track of daily habits, goals, and health appointments to keep yourself accountable.
Incorporate Action and Coping Planning
Anyone can set goals, but how many people actually achieve their goals? Roughly eight percent achieve long-term goals, while the others fail to follow through, largely due to planning and accountability. Keep reading to make sure you part of the eight percent who plan, execute and succeed at their goals — with the help of action planning and coping planning.
Let’s dive into these two goal-planning lifehacks!
Making a plan is one thing, but creating an action plan increases the chances of following through with your plan. For example, when you plan to work out the following week, it sounds like a great health habit to start, right?
Outlining details, such as who, what, where, and when can add structure to a plan, deepening our commitment level.
Use the who, what, when, and why approach when creating an action plan for health. Let’s illustrate action planning for health, using the example of making a plan to go to the gym.
Deciding what type of workout motivates you — tennis, running, or a group fitness class creates a visual in your mind of what you’ll do. This provides a firm idea to help you visualize your plan, pick out the appropriate athletic wear, and perhaps even sign up for a class to commit to a day and time.
Determining when you will work out — mornings, evenings, or at lunchtime — gives a more concrete form of a plan.
Making a commitment to yourself, such as setting an alarm for a 6 am workout will prompt you to go to bed earlier, rather than leaving the day open to chance, planning a workout, but without committing to a time. Some people find putting a workout appointment on their phone creates the accountability they need.
Defining things like who you’ll work out with or if you plan to hit the gym solo can help to promote follow-through. Having a workout buddy is great for putting pressure on yourself to show up, but not everyone has a workout partner to call.
Defining who you’re accountable to can even be yourself. After all, if you can’t count on yourself, how do you expect other people to count on you? You’ve got this!
What’s a coping plan for health? In a nutshell, coping planning is your Plan B! You can think of a coping plan as a backup plan for when something doesn’t go as you thought it would.
An example is planning to get up early for spin class, driving there, and realizing you forgot your spin gear. A plan B could be a brisk walk, switching to lunch time exercise, or hitting an evening spin class instead. The key is having a way to stay committed to your plan and following through.
Incorporating action planning and coping planning will help you stay on track with wellness goals, and deliver health benefits for years to come!
Jumpstarting your wellness journey feels amazing. When you commit to your personal health and wellness, you choose to yourself, and you tell yourself that you’re worth the time and energy.
Health and wellness is a big part of the journey to sobriety, as you heal your mind and body from alcohol and drug abuse. Incorporating healthy habits is a process.
Give yourself a pat on the back if you’re choosing to jumpstart your health and wellness plan for better energy and health, and a higher quality of life. If you think you have an addiction, or if you’re sober curious, and feel you’ve been imbibing too much, download the free Sober Sidekick app today!
How Long Does It Take for a New Behavior to Become Automatic? | Healthline
When you're trying to find an exercise you enjoy | UW Health.org
Adult Dehydration | NIH — National Library of Medicine
Goal Setting and Action Planning for Health Behavior Change | PubMed Central