Stay the Course: Mental Health Self-Care After Treatment Ends

14 Jun, 2021
mental health self-care

mental health self-care

You probably know by now that a lot of folks struggling with addiction also face a co-occurring disorder. This can be an array of mental health issues, from depression, to bipolar disorder, and more.

The point is, the two demons often walk hand in hand. As you conquer addiction, it’s important to bring mental health self-care into the spotlight, too.

Once you identify your triggers and cope with life on life’s terms, you’ll experience a new freedom. But, it’s hard-earned. We like to think that’s what makes it even more valuable!

Together, let’s create a blueprint for mental health success after treatment ends. It will rely heavily upon routine, structure, and faith in a new community of friends.

Many have gone before you and successfully carved out a new life for themselves, and we believe you can do the same, if not more. Let’s start planning.

Develop a Routine

Structure will be vital at this point in time. Develop a routine and stick to it as much as possible. By this, we mean daily exercise (even if it’s just a 15-minute walk), meditation, journaling, or a new hobby.

In a moment, we’ll talk about some helpful resources at your disposal, but you must prioritize self-care. Find something you love, like going for a walk and listening to music or taking a bubble bath, and develop a routine.

What may seem insignificant to others is actually building a structural foundation for well-balanced success.

Continue Counseling

Whether you pursue counseling as outpatient care from your treatment center or seek mental health support elsewhere, this is critical.

Life changes a lot (in the best way possible) when you remove debilitating substances and face life on life’s terms. When troubles come and you don’t take a drink or a drug, you will need other (more productive) coping mechanisms.

A counselor can help you sort out the tricky situations in life and develop healthy coping skills that will take you through the ups and downs with newfound success.

Seek Out a Support Group

Along with counseling, find a support group filled with like-minded people. AA is a great place to start. Those 12 steps have been around since the 1930s for a reason; they work!

Learn how to turn your will and your life over to a higher power and soak up all the wisdom in those rooms. There are so many people who have been in your shoes before.

Show up to regular meetings and draw from that. Consider this a part of your mental health treatment plan. You’ll start to hear the same things over and over again until you really believe you can live a sober life.

You’ll be encouraged, too. You’ll start to realize, “If they can do it, so can I.” You’ll want the peace and serenity they have, knowing you’re already on your way.

Change Your Scenery

We’ve heard counselors say this in support groups: there’s only one thing you have to change – everything.

In order to succeed in sobriety, you’ll have to (and hopefully want to) change your scenery. Make new friends and visit new places.

When new members enter the rooms of AA, people pass around a phone chain. Take advantage of that. Call someone whose story resonates with you and work on building a new friendship.

Take a yoga or meditation class and seek out new friendships there, too. You’ll quickly see how many triggers there are out there in the world – old places you used to visit, old friends with bad habits.

Avoid these like the plague because they’ll only draw you into a mental health crisis. Instead, set sail on a new pathway. Seek out unchartered waters that are infinitely calmer and, ultimately, lead to a more balanced existence.

Volunteer Somewhere

Another golden nugget from the rooms of AA is this: when you find yourself stewing over personal issues, get out of the house and go do something for someone else.

Take the focus off yourself. As part of your new routine, see if you can volunteer somewhere once a week. This can be anything from a horse farm to a children’s hospital. The setting doesn’t matter.

Simply pick something that’s of interest to you and donate your time, even if it’s just one hour a week. It’s an interesting concept but, typically, mental health help starts to evolve when we give a little of ourselves.

Earmark Triggers

This is something worth bringing up with your counselor. Take note of anything that might be considered a trigger. Be wise about this because even the slightest things can be considered a trigger.

Old TV shows you used to love might remind you of all those nights you sat home at night and drank. Certain family members who don’t exactly give you the “warm and fuzzies” may be a trigger.

Earmark these triggers and protect yourself like your life depends on it (because it does). Find something new to watch on TV. Excuse yourself from family functions for the first few months of sobriety.

Don’t apologize for vigorously taking care of yourself in these early days after treatment ends. You’re going back out into the same world, but as a completely different person. So, you’ll have to make some adjustments. Be okay with that and put your health first.

Mental Health Self-Care for You

Mental health self-care looks different for everyone. Perhaps, while you’re going to a pottery class, someone else from your program enrolls in a boxing class. The details don’t matter as much as the structured life you’re about to create.

Rely on every resource at your disposal, from licensed counselors to support groups. Know you’re not alone and walk with those who have gone before you.

Here at Sober Life Treatment Center, we’ve developed a strong clinical program that uses evidence-based approaches to heal past traumas. We’ve been where you are and know the value of a sober living community.

Come explore our drug and alcohol program, mental health program, and adolescent program. We offer a wealth of outpatient programs designed to give you all the tools you need to succeed.

With a willing heart and an open mind, this world truly is your oyster. The changes start with you and we’d love to usher you through this new season in life.

Check out our weekly treatment schedule to get a feel for our structure and, when you’re ready, please give us a call. We’re here for you and we believe in you.

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