Time and Recovery
Written by N
This week’s group topic was on time! It was an interesting one and I just loved listening to everyone who shared and found it has helped me to see how relevant it is to reflect on how I choose to spend my time! It is also a broad topic that has been evolving and growing in my mind since group ended yesterday. I decided today that I would spend some time simplifying it as best I can! I will begin by asking myself…..
”What have I learned about time on my recovery journey so far?”
Time to Meet My Basic Needs
Giving myself time to look after my basic needs is vital! My body and mind require a certain amount of food in order to function to the best of their ability! My body and mind also require quality rest and sleep in order to function too! Some of the things I can do to help me use my time wisely in these areas are to…
- Prepare food in advance if necessary. Especially when I have a busy day ahead! But this does not mean that I need to spend my time thinking about and planning my food for hours on end making sure all the “conditions” are met! It can be a simple exercise that will benefit me and ensure I nourish my body when I am tired or short of time!
- Eat enough food before I leave the house to ensure I have enough energy to keep me going for a while! I am realising that hunger does not make doing any task easy or enjoyable!
- Pack some snacks to bring with me if I am going out for longer periods of time. I can have a snack to keep me going!
- Allow myself time to sit and eat and focus on the food I am putting into my body! I can put away the phone, simplify the self talk and focus on the taste! I can look up and notice my surroundings!! A bit of music in the background helps me to relax! And I also remind myself to breathe so I am less tense!
- Listen to the signals from my body. Ask my body “Do you want food?” “Do you want rest?” Noticing if my energy levels have dropped or if my head feels foggy or if I am finding it more difficult to concentrate or stay in the present moment.
- Choose to sit, take deep breathes or walk slowly, while in present moment, so my body can relax a little if a nap is not possible right away!
- Allow myself time to wind down before sleep by reading or mediating or listening to music.
- Practice “switching off” the brain when I lie down to sleep. I use short phrases such as “It is time to sleep” or “Stop” to help me! I use “colour breathing” or simply take long breathes and count them! It takes practice and sometimes I am more successful than others! Sometimes one method works and sometimes I need to use them all!
Time For Me
Allowing myself time for me is essential too! I tell myself that I deserve time for me and that I am worthy of my own time! And the more time I spend doing this, the more energy I seem to have to give to other areas and people in my life! In order to make the best of my “Me Time” I can…..
- Discover what I like to do! This in itself takes time to do!
- Notice how an activity makes me feel! I find that when I notice lightness or peacefulness or contentment when engaging with an activity that these are usually signs that it is a helpful activity to spend some time doing!
- Remind myself that it may take a little practice engaging in an activity in order to see if I will choose to spend my time doing it! I may not always like it straight away! Sometimes it may be how I am thinking that is the problem not the activity itself!!! Maybe I am focusing on the outcome or bringing perfectionism to it! Maybe I am judging myself or comparing myself to others!
- Drop the guilt about taking time for me! As I said above I deserve to spend time on doing things that I like!
- Notice the small everyday things that I like to do just for me! And be present when I do them! Notice how the water feels on my skin in the shower! Or how it feels to brush my hair or put on moisturiser!
Time For Others
Allowing myself time to connect and interact with others gives me energy! There are a few things I have been learning about how I choose to spend my time with others….
- Time with my family is important! Obviously sometimes, as a family, it is necessary to engage in deeper conversations and discuss plans, talk about feelings or worries too but finding time to hug or dance or laugh is also vital!
- All of my time does not need to be spent helping or doing things for other people! It is easy to forget my own needs when I allow this to happen.
- Some relationships make me feel light and some don’t. Less of my time and energy is wasted when I make wise choices here! Simply put I can choose to spend more time engaging with those who make me feel lighter and less with those who don’t!
- All conversations and encounters with others do not need to be deep and meaningful! I can enjoy a quick chat about the lighter topics in life or share a joke with someone and still feel energised!
- I can choose to spend less time overthinking and analysing conversations and encounters with others too! Less time thinking about what might happen before the event and less time going over it all afterwards! I can just choose to see how it goes and to let it go!
- I can choose to see the positives in a situation or in a person rather than always focusing on the negatives! I always get to choose how I think about it!
Time For Recovery
Recovery does not happen on its own! It takes time to learn and reflect and practice all the new skills I have been learning along the way! It is vital to prioritise time for recovery! There are a number of things that help when doing this….
- Allow myself time to attend Recovery Group often! It is a wonderful place full of wonderful people! It has helped and continues to help me so much on my journey!
- Allow myself time to be curious and to become aware of my realisations and learnings and thoughts! I don’t always understand what it all means to me straight away! It takes time but I have found it is time well spent! It is only through awareness and curiosity that I have been able to question it all and to begin to make it all seem a little less complicated in my head!
- Allow myself time to practice a new way of thinking or being! Old beliefs and habits can be very deep and therefore it is only natural that it takes time to become skilled in a different more helpful way of thinking and living!
- Allow myself time to reflect on my journey so far! Time to notice and celebrate success no matter how big or small! I find that it is often easier to see what I can’t do…yet rather than seeing all of the helpful and positive steps I have already taken towards freedom!
To finish off I decided to give a little heading over to the importance of balance in all of this “time” stuff! So what have I learned about balance and time????
- I don’t need to do everything on this list every day to succeed at being “good” at time management!
- My time can be adaptable or flexible! I do not need to write down a minute by minute account of what I will achieve with my time every day!
- I can choose what way I would like to spend my time each day! And not beat myself up if I don’t get it all done!
- If something happens or comes up I can choose to spend time doing it even if it doesn’t fit into my planned “daily schedule” for that day! I can choose to be spontaneous if I want! I can choose to embrace it! I can choose to enjoy it!
- I do not need to obsess over any one area above! I can prioritise spending time on recovery but that does not mean that I need to spend 100% of my time on it alone! Reading and writing and questioning and thinking about my recovery and my learnings and my realisations! I can still engage with others or spend time in the present moment enjoying nature! I can still nourish my body and get enough sleep at the same time too!! (Only realised that last bit recently!!!)
So that is my simple(ish!) summary of time and recovery!
Before I go I find myself wondering what is the most important lesson I have learned about time along my recovery journey? I am wondering if I had one piece of advice for anyone who is starting out on their own recovery journey what would it be?!!
I think that maybe the most important lesson I learned along the way is that recovery itself takes time! It does not happen overnight no matter how much a person wants it to! I am not free…yet but by giving myself the time to recover I am already experiencing a far more pleasant and content way to be that I couldn’t even imagine existed! A life filled with beauty and contentment and peace!
Now another question pops into my head and I ask myself tonight….”So was all the time and energy put into recovery worth it?”
And my answer…..