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5 Healthy Ways to Fill Your Time During RecoveryDuring recovery, you will probably find you have free time. Previously in your life, you might have filled your free time with unhealthy behaviors. Now, in recovery, you have time to fill with healthy behaviors. Consider your interests and what you may have learned in treatment. There are multiple ways to fill your spare time. Finding what works for you may take time, but once you find activities you enjoy, your recovery will be easier to manage. You may also find something new to make into a profession. If you need ideas, consider the following healthy ways to fill your time in recovery.

#1. Create an Exercise Routine

Exercise is necessary for you to be your best self. Engaging in regular physical activity can help your brain and rewire your thoughts into positive thinking. People who exercise are often happier and more productive in their daily lives. Taking up running, yoga or even rowing might help you stay focused on your recovery and life.

You do not need to have one specific activity you do to exercise; you may enjoy the stability of going to the gym, being surrounded by other fitness folks, and being motivated by the atmosphere found in the gym. Do not hesitate to exercise if you feel self-conscious. Most everyone who begins an exercise routine starts slow and builds up. Going for five minutes, in the beginning, is still exercise. You deserve to be happy, and exercise can help you find that joy and confidence in yourself.

#2. Play or Listen to Music

Music is healing in many ways. Finding a way to incorporate music into your life will only help you. Whether you decide to take up playing an instrument or just play music and dance in your home, you will find new joy in the power of music. According to an article on music and IQ published by Classic FM, taking up an instrument increases memory and IQ, as does singing along with your favorite songs. Noting differences in tones and words can help you feel more confident and give you a new behavior to focus upon and replace old behaviors.

#3. Arts and Crafts

Crafting is a fabulous way to fill the time you used to spend abusing your substance of choice. You may have forgotten the joy of crafting from childhood, or you may still be an avid crafter. Craft stores in almost every town offer various options and classes to get you started. There are now Diamond Dotz, cross-stitch, leatherworking, woodworking, jewelry making, and knitting or crocheting, just to name a few. Most craft stores also provide classes, or you can find books teaching you the basics, and from there, you can expand your special skill-set to make the craft truly your own.

#4. Outdoor Activities

Outdoor activities can be incredibly healing as they expose you to the calming and quieting effects of nature. Fishing and hiking are two examples of activities you can do outside. However, there are many more, and you can find lists of local activities, usually at community centers or by searching the web for local activities.

In addition, many stores that sell outdoor gear have lists of activities. Kayaking events, for example, happen on most rivers or lakes, and you can usually rent a kayak there. Do not discount an outdoor activity just because you are unsure of your ability or lack the equipment needed to participate in the activity. Do some research, find a partner, and get outside.

#5. Community Activities

There are myriad community activities available in almost every town. Dance classes and community theatre productions are just two options. You may also find bowling teams.

Perhaps you are not ready to engage in team sports but still want to find a place in your community. There are support groups available for a wide variety of life situations. You may also do a quick search online for small groups that meet for various activities like photography or group hiking or running. Your options for building a community and revamping your list of coping skills are endless.

Creating New Pathways in Your Brain

According to the article “Neural Plasticity: 4 Steps to Change Your Brain and Habits,” expanding your coping skills and finding new ways to fill your time is that doing so develops new pathways in your brain and life. Giving up old and unhealthy behaviors becomes easier once you start experiencing joy from a new behavior. Like overwriting a disk, you need to keep saving the new files to ensure you have the most up-to-date version.

By finding new activities in recovery, you may very well find joy. Practice makes perfect; the more you practice these new activities, the easier choosing them will become when you are faced with frustrating feelings you are trying to overcome.

Learning how to fill your free time in a healthy way takes time, effort, and a bit of trial and error. With time, as you pursue recovery, you will find ways to occupy your time and possibly find new interests and hobbies that make you happy. In recovery, you will find that overcoming your old behaviors is easier when you have a plan and a list of things to do. At The Guest House, we provide ways for you to occupy your time and help you develop your interests throughout treatment. If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental health or substance use disorder, you are not alone. Contact us at The Guest House. We offer a variety of treatment options that can fit your life. We believe in the uniqueness of every client and want you to live your best life. Contact The Guest House at (855) 483-7800 and learn how we can help.