Tag Archives: hope

Recover and Thrive after Major Life Challenges

Man and woman relaxing

Strive to recover after addiction or other life challenges

Those who commit to to it can recover from addiction or other life challenges. They have a priceless opportunity to thrive and create a better life. To optimize your life, you may need healthy lifestyle choices, a supportive social life, and the drive to take charge of your life.

Remember that in 2020, there were many more changes and challenges than usual for individuals, families, and communities.  The year 2021 continues to be difficult for people with addiction or with mental illness, but recovery is possible.  Be kind to yourself as you realize all you have been through and survived. Both good and bad life changes can sharply raise your level of stress.

Get enough exercise and rest

Whole-body wellness means balancing the right amount of activity and rest.  We need both physical and mental strength to fight for recovery every day and to replace bad habits with good ones. Exercise has proven to be an effective recovery tool because “working out” affects the brain in a positive way.

If you want to add exercise to your life during recovery, think small at first. The goal is to identify and start an activity that is sustainable for the long haul, so you can stay self-motivated. Hitting the gym hard for 30 days until you burn out is not especially helpful. But, walking a little bit every day is an activity that can last a lifetime. Other low-impact exercises could include lightweight muscle workouts using small dumbbells, kettlebells, or resistance bands. If you don’t have weights, you could put water into milk jugs until they are the weight you want to use. Muscle exercises and the active movements are important to jumpstart metabolism and help to strengthen your core muscles.

Improve your nutrition

Besides adding physical activity, improving your diet also supports your overall well-being. Eating healthy foods and getting balanced nutrition are key. Destructive habits like substance abuse can take over your life if it seems like getting high or drunk becomes more important than eating. Recovery is an opportunity to start over and refuel the body with much-needed nutrients.

Switching quickly from an extremely poor diet to a healthy one can be difficult because your habits can be powerful. Consider small, impactful changes to your eating. Some healthy changes can include:

  • Eating regular meals on a schedule.
  • Cut down on caffeine, if possible. Drink plenty of water.
  • Eat foods that are lower in fat, higher in protein and fiber
  • Add vegetables to your plate. (Try covering half the plate in garden colors, then dividing the remaining half into a quarter of protein and a quarter of whole grains.)
  • Experiment with different flavors to add excitement to your meals. People often reach for junk food because it tastes good, but healthy food done right can taste even better.
  • Plan meals in advance and have a big cooking session. If you can spend a few hours in the kitchen on a Sunday, you can make your lunches and dinners for the entire week and avoid the temptation to grab a quick unhealthy bite during the week.

Find Positive and Supportive People

Healthy living includes spending positive social time with people and having fun. For instance, healthy cooking “parties” can be a way to meet new people or connect with old friends. The key to your social life— and the struggle — is to disconnect from negative influences that may trigger a relapse. To have a better “road to recovery”, you may need to find new friends. If you are an alcoholic, instead of going to bars, “hang out” at coffee shops or other places where they don’t serve alcohol.

Social support is crucial to recovery because you may not be able to manage triggers on your own. Supportive friends and family can help you stay on track and to keep busy enough so there is no room in your life for bad habits.

Take Control of Your Life

Taking your life “by the reins” is like steering yourself away from stress and addiction toward recovery. Problem-solving will be needed after you figure out what is bothering you the most. Perhaps your financial situation is the current source of your stress. Or, maybe you’re not totally satisfied at your job, but don’t feel financially comfortable enough to leave. Maybe you’ve recently lost your job and don’t know what your next move should be. Think about what you would most like to do in life, and then pursue it. This life change could be an opportunity to do something you love. You may want to start a “side hustle” or launch your own business.

If you are considering forming a business, a good way to protect your personal assets and qualify for more tax breaks is  LLC filing. Like most states, MN allows a company to be structured online with affordable services. First, you would need to spend some time brainstorming to choose a unique business name, and then start making a business plan.

Learn How to Cope

It could be scary to jump into starting a new business, a new job, or new relationships after a major life challenge. Your confidence is usually low, and your future may look uncertain. But, when you choose something you really want to do, it will help motivate you toward a more successful and stable future.  Make sure you talk about your plans with your family and friends, they can advise you and support you as problems come up.

In recovery, your emotions may change quickly, like an emotional “roller coaster”. It helps to have a coping plan to help you and your family deal with negative thoughts or behaviors.

Health Vista, Inc. has a Coping and Relaxation workbook you can download and print. You can also find many local and online addiction resources, and recovery resources to use.

Through healthy living, people in recovery can thrive. Rather than following a downward spiral, start making improvements in exercise, diet, positive social support. Follow your passion to help propel you to a better life as you recover from addiction or other life challenges. .

Finding success involves planning and a high level of self-knowledge, but it is easier than you might think. Get active and healthier. Laugh with good friends. Manage your life and learn to cope with the stress that comes with big and small life changes.

Blog # 24  Added 2-11-21 written by guest contributor Dylan Wallace.  Edited by Mary Knutson, Health Vista, Inc.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

 

 

 

Trauma Can Affect You: Ways to Help Yourself to Recover

Past or current trauma can affect you, your thoughts, and your behavior. Having past trauma, as a child or as an adult is common in our society.

Trauma affects some people more than others

Some people are more resilient and have more support. Ongoing anxiety issues may be something you need to learn to cope with.  If you have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), more distressing symptoms may continue to affect your life.

Some health care settings are embracing Trauma- informed Care (TIC)

TIC assumes that people have had past traumas and attempts to avoid “triggers”. They want to prevent people feeling re-traumatized while they are receiving health care, and help them feel more safe and secure.

TIC Resources and Education are needed

I developed a Trauma Recovery Webquest  to share important information about TIC concepts including both childhood and adult scenarios.  It was designed to be used for health professionals as well as for anyone else.

Please realize that the linked video of childhood trauma in the first Powerpoint. Living with Trauma-Finding Recovery can be quite upsetting.  Feel free to skip that part if you don’t think you should watch it.

The webpages have many valuable links. The Trauma Webquest Process page includes a Resilience website and many handouts to help people cope with their symptoms of anxiety, flashbacks, dissociation, or thoughts of self-harm.

I have included (for free) links to some of the Recovery Workbooks that I have had for sale on my website, including Managing Anger, Managing Addiction, Depression, and a Coping & Relaxation Workbook.

Most importantly, you can use the Finding Your Way to Cope with Trauma Workbook !

I sincerely hope that you will find this information to be helpful and useful.

Believe that recovery  is possible.

You might enjoy the following video to inspire you:

 

Blog post #21  8-27-20 by Mary Knutson Health Vista, Inc.

Your Strengths for Recovery

A little gray kitten looking strong

Everyone has strengths

Knowing your strengths can help you be more confident with a more positive attitude.  Strength-based recovery uses your goals and talents to help you get through rough times.  First, start with what you already have and then build on them to gain insight, ability, and power that can help you make healthy changes.

As we grow in age, we also have the chance to develop and improve.  Focusing on your strengths instead of weaknesses can help you toward recovery.

The tiny kitten in the picture above doesn’t look like he has many strengths, but he did. He grew up to be a large, healthy cat named Duke.  He stayed playful and sweet, but he became strong, agile, and wise.

What strengths do you have?

See some common ones listed below (and you may add others). Notice the ones that you have. After that, think about which ones you would like to improve on:

  • Curiosity, or love of learning
  • Persistence
  • Kindness
  • Social intelligence
  • Humility
  • Self-control
  • Gratitude
  • Hopefulness
  • Able to adapt
  • Able to cope well
  • Express emotions well
  • Assertive
  • Courageous
  • Creative
  • Energetic or active
  • Having faith or spirituality
  • Future or goal oriented
  • Being a good citizen or team player
  • Good sense of humor
  • Intelligent or wise
  • Motivated
  • Open-minded
  • Polite or kind
  • Realistic
  • Resourceful
  • Responsible or trustworthy
  • Self-reliant
  • Sensitive
  • Strong support system
  • Thoughtful
  • Having zest for life

Your strengths for recovery:

Strength-based Recovery promotes resilience and self-acceptance, improving empowerment in recovery. And, it helps you succeed in challenging situations that may seem hopeless or helpless.

Build hope from within. Look at past successes and promote change by asking:

  • What has worked before?
  • What has not worked?

Remember that you are unique – Your strengths and weaknesses are not the same as anyone else’s .  By looking at your own set of strengths, a realistic, specific plan can be made to develop them. Then, allow your strengths to help you and your situation as you recover.

 

Blog # 7 written 12-6-15 by Mary Knutson of Health Vista, Inc.

Updated 5-25-20

Resources for Recovery

Recovery Resources:

Many of the recovery resources were written while working with psychiatric patients. However, they were made to be helpful for recovery from other kinds of illness, or for general wellness or well-being.

Many presentations and learning activities are shared in Health Vista’s resources for recovery.  They are organized under the seven elements of recovery, the same framework used for Recovery Education lessons.

Elements of Recovery:

  • Hope
  • Security
  • Support/Managing Symptoms
  • Empowerment
  • Relationships
  • Coping
  • Finding Meaning

Find resources for recovery from Health Vista

When I was working in Inpatient Behavioral Health, I started developing and writing simple but engaging and effective patient education and learning activities.

Through the years, I also collected a wide variety of free resources for recovery include Powerpoints and many other links for health education and motivation. I wanted to make them available for others to use. Although not all of the Recovery Education lessons are posted online, many of them are.  More may be added in the future, so check back often. Here are some examples:

You can find the Hopelessness to Hope Lesson handout here.

Click to see the Finding Hope Pathfinder. That recovery lesson was made into a video YouTube to help you toward the first step to recovery.  You can also use the Positive Words Discussion Guide.

Finding Hope Pathfinder narrated video

Click the title to watch  Finding Your Way to Recovery

Recovery Workbooks:

I wrote many simple, clear, and short workbooks to share. I have donated some to community groups, but the cost of printing is too high to make them all free.  The workbooks have a cost, but they are on the healthvista.net website. Topics include Managing Pain,  Managing Long-term Pain, Managing Depression,  Managing Anger, Managing Addiction, Managing Illness, Managing Mental Illness, and Coping with Trauma.

Contact me by e-mail if you want to ask if some prices can be changed.  The following coping workbook is available free of charge:

Your Recovery Workbook: Coping and Relaxation  [.pdf] can be downloaded free and printed out. 

As you will see, my website contains many free, but very valuable resources,  Please browse and explore the lessons, handouts, learning activities, and links at https://healthvista.net/health-resources/recovery-resources/

I suggest that you start by Exploring Mindfulness . Then, begin  Taking Recovery Steps:

  • Ups and downs are to be expected – It is best to handle them as calmly as possible, using help and support to get back on track
  • Take small steps – You will get to where you are going (no matter how long it takes) if you go in the right direction
  • You feel more in control when you take the recovery steps at your own pace
  • In life, there is always hope, but sometimes you have to change what you are hoping for.
  • Be open to learning and change as you start your recovery journey

“I am not interested in the past. I am interested in the future, for that is where I expect to spend the rest of my life.”  – Charles F. Kettering

Updated 5-27-20 by Mary Knutson