Balancing relationships, work, health, spirituality, and a sense of wholeness in recovery can be challenging. With guidance from a supportive network of peers, clinicians, and medical providers, a “healthy” work-life balance in recovery is possible. I encourage clients in early recovery to break up their day into manageable pieces. It is important to remind ourselves that we do not need to get everything accomplished all at once.
Set an Intention
The foundation of a healthy work-life balance begins with an intention you set for yourself in the beginning of the day. This may include meditating for ten minutes before the chaos of your day begins. An intention could include a positive affirmation such as “I can do this!,” “I am strong,” or “I am capable.” In addition to providing yourself with a mantra, grounding yourself with reminders to take things “one day at a time” may also be helpful before a hectic work day. If even that feels too overwhelming, adjust the mantra to “one hour at a time.”
Be kind to yourself each day. Some workdays may feel more strenuous than others. It’s crucial to honor the messages your mind and body are giving you each workday. If you need a five-minute break to stretch or deep breathe, take it! Be honest with yourself when asking your mind, body and soul, “What do I need today in order to be productive?” The answer may be different each day, and that is perfectly okay. Being in early recovery involves self-compassion and kindness, so don’t forget to end each work day with a message of inner strength and compassion for yourself.
Recognize Triggers in the Workplace
As you become more open and honest with yourself in early recovery, you may discover that your professional career is not conducive to a life in sobriety. If this is the case, you have the choice to choose a different career path. This does not show weakness, but more so inner strength because of your decision to honor your recovery. Protect your recovery, as it is precious. Do not allow your work environment to dictate your success in recovery.
Make time for your program. Ensure you are carving out time to go to support meetings before or after work. If your soul feels fulfilled in attending support groups and working your program, it is more likely you will feel confident and capable in completing a full workday. It is equally as important to make time to talk to supports throughout the day. Check in with your sober network to feel a sense of community and connection to others during a long day.
Balancing work and your recovery can feel overwhelming but it can also be an exciting moment in your life to explore what you are capable of, now sober, in a working environment. Try to replace negative words you may associate with returning to work, such as “anxiety,” “stress,” or “worry,” with words like “excitement,” and see if there is a different energy about beginning a workday. In order to incorporate a healthy work-life balance, don’t be afraid to lean on peers, recovery advocates, friends, and family, for support when reintegrating to work. Practice positive self-talk and create an optimistic intention to begin your workday for a grounded mind and body. By incorporating these tools, you will find yourself navigating the work and life balance in early recovery with ease.