Maintaining Sobriety During the Winter Months
Upon completing an alcohol rehab program, it is said that this is where the work begins. You’ve just learned all of the valuable skills needed to maintain your recovery and now is the time to put them to good use.
As an alcohol rehab facility in Sandy, UT, we know all too well the challenges that accompany the winter months. Along with a decrease in temperature and sunlight can come a decrease in outdoor physical and social activity. Similarly, along with the holiday season may come temptation, and when thwarted, loneliness. This is commonly known as seasonal affective disorder, or “the winter blues.”
For these and other reasons, we at Brighton Recovery Center know that maintaining sobriety can seem like an impossible challenge. The good news is that it isn’t! Sandy, UT is luckily a great winter location for activities and support for the challenges you will certainly face.
Here are some tips for staying strong after your hard fought alcohol rehab program.
Get Plenty of Exercise
As you’ve learned in your alcohol rehab program, being newly sober doesn’t necessarily mean you will automatically feel great all the time. One huge factor in feeling better for anyone is regular exercise and activity. Exercise is known to stimulate endorphins, a natural chemical that triggers positive feelings in your body when released.
It really doesn’t matter what type of exercise you do, as long as it is something you can enjoy and get into. Regular exercise has been shown to increase memory and thinking, increase self-esteem, improve sleep quality, give you more energy and teaches you to manage stress in a healthy way.
There are tons of options for getting quality daily exercise in and around Sandy, some can be expensive (worth it!) and others absolutely free!
Take a day or weekend trip to Snowbird or Hidden Peak. Whether you’re into the exhilaration of the high mountain air and thrill of downhill skiing or snowboarding, or prefer the tranquility of x-country skiing through the forest, both offer an incredible workout and amazing fresh air.
Take A Walk
Even in the winter, Sandy is a beautiful town to walk through the streets or go off into the trails of the surrounding woods. Walking is absolutely free and is a great way to clear your mind while getting your heart rate up, which has been shown to help ease the depression that can be associated with staying sober upon leaving an alcohol rehab program.
Join A Gym
Modern gyms have just about any activity you could ask for, from weightlifting, crossfit and simple bodyweight training, to running, biking and swimming. Most offer a multitude of classes for all levels, providing an opportunity to try something new.
An added benefit is the social/support aspect, as a high percentage of people there are focused on bettering themselves and adopting healthier lifestyles. Many times, gym members have been through alcohol and drug rehab programs themselves, and can offer a great deal of support.
Take A Class
Sandy, UT and its surrounding areas host plenty of studios that offer classes for yoga, martial arts or even dance. All of these have proven greatly effective in lifting mood, strengthening discipline and providing an improved feeling of overall well-being. Again, most people taking such classes are like-minded in improving themselves, creating a potential further support system.
Get As Much Sunlight As Possible
Sunlight can be hard to find in the winter, so it is important to get it whenever and wherever you can. The sun rises late and sets early during the Utah winters, and simply going to your 9-to-5 everyday can make it hard to get fight depression when it’s dark all the time. Try to find 15 minutes on your lunch break to walk around the block or even find a park bench to bask in whatever glow is available. Your mood will thank you!
Plan Ahead During The Holidays
Holidays are often the most difficult time after finishing an alcohol rehabilitation program. Chances are, the family, work and friends’ holiday parties you’ve attended in the past involved alcohol and perhaps other chemicals. It is important to keep in mind that maintaining your sobriety takes #1 priority, so you must make a plan and stick to it.
Pick And Choose
No one wants to be alone during the holidays, so it is important to make sure to attend only the parties where you have a strong support system. If you are lucky enough to have a supportive family, maybe it’s best to spend some extra time with them in lieu of some of your old friends who are more concerned about their good time.
It may be that the opposite is true, in which case, your supportive friends deserve the extra time.
Bring Your Own
If you feel confident enough in your resolve to stay sober and can attend parties involving alcohol, bring your own supply of non-alcoholic beverage to sip on and simply keep your hands busy. Have a rehearsed answer at the ready for the inevitable “Why aren’t you drinking?” interrogation.
Start Your Own
It’s possible that your first holiday after alcohol rehab will be better spent with only those who are like-minded. Have your own alcohol/chemical free party with other sober individuals. This doesn’t necessarily mean that all attendees have problems with alcohol. You’d be surprised at the amount of friends and family who simply choose not to drink for whatever reason.
Stick To Your Healthy Routine
Whether the winter season makes you feel stressed, depressed or even if you feel just fine, always remember to continue practicing the things that make you feel your best. Get the optimal amount of sleep, practice healthy eating habits, get regular exercise and go to meetings. The best way to remove bad habits is to replace them with routine good habits.
During the winter or any difficult time, always remember there is somewhere and someone to turn to. In Sandy, UT Brighton Recovery Center is always here for you. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction or maintaining recovery, please reach out to us so we can help!