• 7 Ways to Master the Art of Living in Balance

    The Art of Living in Balance

    It is a cliché for sure, but life truly is a series of ups and downs. It’s almost like being on a

    Teeter Totter or See-Saw. Sure, this outdoor playground apparatus is a favorite of all kids, but very few adults do well without balance in their daily lives.

    For a recovering alcoholic or drug abuser, finding the equilibrium and maintaining a sense of calm can be an enormous challenge. Prior to rehabilitation, their main objective was only to obtain their drug of choice. This thought filled every minute of every day. Most addicts, if they are honest, will tell you they lived in a state between getting high and finding a way to get high.

    A balanced existence, without too many “lows” or too many “highs” strongly decreases the chances of sobriety success and longevity. But just like with recovery, achieving a balanced way of existing, takes time, practice and preparation.

    Listed below are seven steps to leading a more balanced lifestyle.

    1. Vision Board

    Frequently, when you can actually see your goals, it is easier to maintain focus and direction. Vision boards are a simple and motivating method to setting, following and achieving key self-determined targets. Loosely defined, a vision board is “a tool used to help clarify, concentrate and maintain focus on specific goals. It displays motivating images that represent whatever you want to be, do or have in your life.” Vision boards are made to be flexible as your ambitions develop and transform. It is a positive representation that can be easily viewed throughout the day and provide inspiration.

    2. Plan and Structure

    Following a successful rehabilitation treatment, most substance abusers find that a pre-planned schedule is their best friend and free time is their worst enemy. Organizing the day with specific actions and tasks helps eliminate feelings of being overwhelmed. A routine provides direction, which is essential, especially for the first few months of returning to life at home. This should not be seen as a punishment, but rather as another tool to combat relapse. And remember, the daily calendar should include things that are active and fun as well as attending support groups and therapy.

    3. Keep it Simple

    It is only natural that when you leave rehab or a sober living situation, you will be swallowed and consumed by a busier, more hectic routine. Don’t let the chaos take over. One key component of keeping your day under control is to limit your commitments to family, friends, events, even emails and social media. Until you have experienced several months of abstinence, limit the “noise” that surrounds you and search for tranquility.

    4. Healthy Mind/Body/Spirit

    For many, yoga is a completely foreign workout. But after engaging in this unique form of relaxation exercise, numerous individuals from all walks of life find it easier to “live in the present.”

    Some professionals in the field of addiction believe that drugs and alcohol are frequently used to escape dealing with deep rooted issues. Addicts will often use their substance of choice in order to change the way they feel. This leads to a disconnect between the body, mind and spirit. As discussed previously, many people who are addicted don’t know what they feel, let alone why. But Yoga cultivates body and mental awareness in a caring, nurturing way. “Yogis” learn to listen to their bodies at all different levels.

    There are, of course, many other forms of movement and exercise (from hiking to dance to bicycling), but many believe Yoga has special qualities to relax the mind.

    5. The Company You Keep

    It should come as no surprise that your success for a sober life is highly related to the support system you create. The choice is up to you and this is a critical area where counseling can be beneficial. Discuss with a therapist what type of assistance is best for your situation. Alcohol Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are almost always part of recovery. But self-help books or groups, community counseling, medical attention, family involvement and a multitude of other supportive environments can be created to aid your commitment to sobriety. You are not alone.

    6. Have Fun

    Recovery should not, and must not be all “doom and gloom.” Post-rehab provides numerous opportunities to explore your interest or hobbies that were pushed aside during your addiction. Now is the time to get out your canvas and paints and discover your passion for art. Rejoin the softball team at work, write, travel, simply laugh and find your inner joy that may have been missing for so long.

    7. Reflect

    At the end of each day, take just five minutes to silently express your gratitude. You have traveled a difficult path and the journey of abstinence will be a life-long process. Be thankful for all you have achieved, count your blessings and breathe.

    Audrey Beim holds two advanced degrees from major universities, including a Master’s Degree in Psychology. She has over 20 years of experience in the health, wellness, nutritional and fitness categories and has used her expertise to write articles for media outlets such as Linfield Media and Examiner.com.

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