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Creating Environments That Are Conducive to Long-Term Recovery

Published on November 20, 2020 by First Responder Wellness

As humans, we often become creatures of our environment. Certain aspects of our surroundings can shape us in both positive and negative ways. We can be heavily influenced by where we spend our time, who we spend it with, and the activities we take part in. A person’s environment can also shape their relationship with drugs and alcohol. This is why being aware of your surroundings and creating spaces that support your recovery is important in allowing you to continue healing and maintaining your progress. 

External Environment

Home

The physical world outside of us can have a significant impact on how we feel internally. Ensuring your home environment is a positive place where you can feel happy, safe, and confident is key. Living in a negative home space filled with clutter, dirty dishes and laundry, and poor lighting can adversely affect your recovery. These stressful environments can lead one to feel overwhelmed and possibly harbor hidden triggers that could lead to relapse

To create a home environment conducive to recovery, try decluttering the surfaces, drawers, and cupboards you use a lot. Organizing your environment can also help you avoid unnecessary stress that accompanies no being able to find what you need.

Kitchen

One of the more important, specific areas in your home to address in recovery is your kitchen. Stocking your fridge and cupboards with healthy foods and drinks can help make sure you are getting a balanced, nutritional diet. Eating healthy is crucial to recovery, and avoiding any foods or beverages that may be triggers or temptations can help prevent relapse.

Bedroom

Optimizing the bedroom for good sleep is essential. As a first responder, getting enough sleep is challenging at best. During recovery, it is just as important. If you find that you are tossing and turning or having problems falling and staying asleep, you may need to rearrange your sleeping environment. Ensuring you have the right mattress, your room is clutter-free, and you don’t have excessive noise or light can all help provide a tranquil space in which you can fall asleep.

Internal Environment

Headspace

When we think of our environments, it may be easy to skip over one that is integral to our well-being and recovery: our headspace. Start by making your mind someplace you want to be and live. Our external environments play a huge role in our recovery, but if we do not even want to be around ourselves, this can be a challenge. There are many ways to create a positive mind space including practicing mindfulness to declutter any noisy and negative thoughts. Finding healthy ways to make your mind a desirable place to be can help with the long-term recovery process. 

Digital Environment

Social Media

 With the rise of technology and social media, many of us may participate and interact within a digital space. This online environment has the potential to affect our feelings, behavior, and decision-making. Social media is a powerful tool with many benefits, but it also comes with just as many downfalls to avoid. It is imperative to make sure that what you choose to look at, who you follow, and what you fill your digital environment with is conducive to long-term recovery. This may mean unfollowing certain people or following more positive and motivational accounts.

Limiting the amount of time you spend in this environment can also be beneficial to your recovery. These platforms often contain misleading images that present everyone else’s life as an oversaturated and cheery experience while failing to show daily struggles. Social media users can often project a level of perfection and happiness onto the screen that is not realistic. This can lead to lowered self-esteem as you compare yourself to others. Limiting the time you use online toward making positive interactions, networking with other people who are sober, and sharing success stories can be a wise use of your digital environment.    

While clearing out our spaces of things that may cause stress or triggers, it can also be a good idea to decorate and fill them with positive things that make you happy. Just as you might replace those negative thoughts with positive ones, make use of your external environments in similar ways. Use splashes of your favorite colors, decorate your space with meaningful things you attribute with joy and make room for the activities you love to do. For example, if you love drawing, make sure you have a sturdy and clear desk where you can draw. If you love to read, make a cozy reading nook that invites you in. 

 Although we may not have control over some aspects of our environments, it is important to change what we do have control over to make our environments more suitable for recovery. What we choose to surround ourselves with can be a powerful tool affecting our mental health and well-being. If there are any factors in your environments that negatively impact you, removing them may prove advantageous. Once you clear out those negative forces within your home, headspace, and digital environments, it can help to add some positivity back into them. The road to recovery is not an easy one, but finding ways to help yourself out along the way can help ease the load. Creating environments that are conducive to long term recovery may help actualize your goals. First Responder Wellness is here if you are seeking more resources to guide you on your path to recovery. Call us at (888) 743-0490