Death, the ultimate loss? - A universal truth for the majority of us. But loss is, indeed, an ever-present leitmotif in human existence. Throughout our finite sublunar hours, we experience myriad thieving, at times subtle, forms of misfortune - and grief becomes inevitable. Death, like any other loss, is a mere encounter between a human being and the orchestral performance of transience and finality. "This too shall pass." - a blessing and a curse. A loved one will die, a child will lose its innocence, a soldier - their limb, a lover - their finite yet unconditional love - imposed, abrupt, detrimental, and irreversible: loss, and its many forms. -Where do we go now but nowhere? This is how to harness the inner strength to move on after loss.
Moving on: the betrayal
Can something as seemingly irrelevant as "semantics" hinder our innate ability to process loss and grief? - Yes. "When will you move on? It's been two years." MOVE ON. -Move on? How can we? The two words suggest that life, love, memories, and death are nothing but fragments that now organically belong - in the past; moving on simply suggests we can finally leave the wound or the person we still love but is no longer physically tangible behind us. Not only that, we ought to. Imperative. And, so, the mustered glass-legged strength particles disperse at the very thought of betrayal. "I'm not leaving you here. I'm not going anywhere." Anxiety for the rest of my days? I'll have a double; thank you.
Where do we go now but nowhere?
After we've experienced loss, there is nothing in the entire universe, absolutely nothing, that could relieve the excruciating echo. The vast empty space. Sheer nothingness. For eternity. - Or so it appears at first. Depression, panic attacks, anxiety, sleep deprivation, starvation, substance abuse: and the body breaks. Feeble shadows we become, barely, almost unwillingly, hanging on to our weary existence. The very edge of the world. The precipice. - So, how does one harness inner strength? We start by saying: "I don't have to move on. I can learn to move forward with it. I carry my wound. It's mine to keep. And I shall carry it, willingly, gladly, selfishly, even." Onward. The traditional five stages of grief:
In today's society, the act of grieving is inconceivably frowned upon. Emotions are a private matter; when socially engaged, we are expected to flaunt our pseudo-optimism and bring our "My grief is exponentially getting better, don't you see?" charts to the party. There are two enemies or dangers to our emotional apparatus and its ability to process the tragedy of loss: 1. the external (social) pressure and the more cunning, imperceptible one: our own fear of deep-diving and cognizing the sheer volume of our pain. Health experts from DubaiPT advise: "When coping with loss, it is important to remember the "holy tripod" of human existence; mental, emotional, and physical health. Remove one, and the tripod will collapse. Taking care of our health during difficult times is paramount."
Let it all out
How do we move on after a loss? - No way around it, but through it. Estranged and unprotected as we may feel, we must give the inner dam permission to burst. Implosion vs. explosion; which one is less harmful? We know the answer. Unresolved grief can bring myriad negative consequences, and yes, we might not care if we're dead or alive - but what if we do survive the loss? What happens then? Suppressing feelings such as anger, pain, sadness, and guilt and preventing them from ever surfacing can only stall the process and make it even more insufferable. Grief is a metaphysical fire inside our bodies, minds, and souls, with every single molecule crying for someone or something to put it out. Without articulating the source of this majestic, colossal, lightyears-tall sadness, it threatens to devour our entire being. We harness the strength only by facing the echo of their absence.
The road to strengthThe body is there to carry the metaphysical bits; if the body is weak, the spiritual, mental, and emotional planes will follow into the abyss. If a mountain collapses, how do the trees survive? After experiencing loss, we cannot help but feel unworthy of living. The guilt of "being the alive one," "the surviving party," can be too vast to encompass. Days become the heaviest hours of the year, and we lose track of time. Sleep and food become distant entities, entirely removed from the physiological premise. However, when dealing with loss, self-nurture is paramount. Exercise can be of tremendous help regarding suppressed/unprocessed emotions. Expressing anger, grief, and sorrow through exercise can improve your mental health and enhance your inner strength capacities.
Make something of it
Love is the ultimate driving force, so how do we define loss? - It's the love's counterpart, really. They are one; creation-destruction, a fundamental symbiosis. To move on, we move forward by using loss as our driving force. To feel more, to live more, laugh more, and cry more. A loss of a loved one shouldn't be perceived as an invitation to existential hibernation. To wither away? The grand scheme of life responds: "That's just insulting." Instead, we use the unlocked capacities to experience life in a more meaningful way:
We don't have to move on after loss. Time can heal our wounds, but it doesn't necessarily cure the emotional void. - And that's okay. We're never going to be granted the "old me" role again, but there's a "new me" now: a bit sadder, a bit older, but alive. And stronger. The worst is over.
What's more important than sleep? - Very few things. Yet, we readily embrace the tempo of modern living and gladly pursue "running low on battery" as our default modus. Why? Although detrimental to our health, there isn't enough time. 24 hours? In modern times like these, 86,400 seconds go by so thievishly and subtly that the linear nature of time collapses onto itself. The pressure is on. And so, we voluntarily remain robbed of our essential needs, thinking "Bargain. Fatigue here and there I can handle." Work, work, and some more work. We push back our sleep to accommodate the hectic lifestyle without ever considering the potential consequences. For our bodies to function correctly, we must confront self-imposed oblivion and listen to our primary needs. Here are the top mental health benefits of a good night's sleep.
Weight game - Shame game
Surprisingly enough, studies have found a direct link between depression, quality sleep, and our ability to maintain a healthy weight. Short sleep (defined as getting less than the recommended minimum of 7 hours per night) increases the risk of weight gain and a higher body mass index (also known as BMI). Although more research is needed to define the close relationship, it is now known who the weight-inducing culprits are: ghrelin and leptin, the underdog hormones. Ghrelin is a type of hormone that induces the sensation of hunger, and leptin dictates the "I'm full." sensation. The ones who indulge in sleep deprivation tend to have bigger appetites; hence, they end up eating more calories (overeating). Depression and overconsumption of food are also linked, as individuals find food an excellent coping mechanism, leading to a vicious Bermuda triangle scenario.
This one's a given. We've all been there; it's 3:15 A.M., and you're staring into the vast darkness of your bedroom. Sleep doesn't come because sleep doesn't will it. It's only 3-and some change hours before the "rise and shine, meeting awaits," and we get up feeling irreparably broken. Yes, that's what sleep deprivation does to us. Our cognitive and bodily functions diminish, and our concentration and performance can do nothing to fight the imposed subzero capability levels. Tried and tested; without a good night's rest, we are bound to experience failure after failure. It affects our strategic thinking, risk assessment, reaction times, concentration, and attention span. Our productivity and creativity call in sick, and mistakes and accidents cue up. Not only does a healthy sleeping regime improve our mental health, but it also enhances our memory and problem-solving skills.
Mens sana in corpore sano/A healthy mind in a healthy body
When we sleep, our blood pressure and heart rate naturally drop so as to allow our hearts to recuperate and rest. If we're not getting that recommended amount of sleep (7+ hours per night) instead of resting, our sympathetic nervous system stays active at night, meaning it goes into overdrive. By disrespecting its natural rhythm, we invite the "flight-or-fight" response to overstay its welcome. The sympathetic nervous system protects us from any potential, perceivable danger as long as we're awake. Sleep deprivation causes significant disruption and imbalance, as it keeps our blood pressure and heart rate from naturally going down, further inviting stress hormones to indulge in mutiny. If our blood pressure stays too high during the night, we're likely to experience high blood pressure throughout the day. Good oxygen supply and the absence of atherosclerosis improve our mental functions and keep heaps of stress at bay.
Reduces stress levels
One of the most notable mental health benefits of a good night's sleep is reduced stress levels. On the surface, we all appear more than capable of dealing with life's unpremeditated hiccups. "I'm fine. Everything is under control, really." - that's what we usually say to ourselves and to others. Convincing enough? Stress triggers are everywhere, another perk of contemporary living. Without healthy amounts of sleep, we risk weakening our defense lines, further inviting cortisol, adrenaline, and the notorious bunch to feast upon our already bruised health. Moving experts from bravo-moving.com advise: "We encounter stressed-out clients all the time; sleep is the sole foundation for bulletproofing the nervous system." A good night's sleep (and we don't mean "once a week") has an "anti-cortisol" effect and can relax the systems responsible for the prolonged "fight-or-flight" response.
Emotional apparatus balance: restored
Being at the bottom of Maslow's renowned pyramid (with physiological needs being at the very bottom of the hierarchy), we often take sleep for granted. It's just - primal stuff; who needs that? Not only is rest relevant for our physical health, but it kindly extends its nurturing nature to the psychological plain, keeping our mental health intact or, worst-case scenario - afloat. Things we do not anticipate happen: we lose our jobs, find ourselves on the brink of divorce, we put down our dog - avalanche triggers. Mental health conditions, such as chronic stress, anxiety, depression, and other mood disorders, can all benefit from a good night's sleep. Easier said than done, true. Mental health issues hinder one's ability to fall or stay asleep, but without getting that 7+ hours, the risk of further mental health impairment increases.
A frequently overlooked aspect is how sleep exactly affects our relationships. Well, the quality of our sleep directly dictates the way we reason, the way we articulate our thoughts and feelings, and most importantly, our headspace. If we're sleep-deprived, the chances are we're more likely to fly off the handle for minor inconveniences. We become grumpy, we judge ruthlessly, and leave no room for empathy, sympathy, and other benevolent virtues. A bad night's sleep can put even the most resilient friendships and romantic relationships to the test. If our bodies don't get the recommended amount of rest, conflict, indeed, becomes inevitable. Getting enough sleep regulates our emotions and helps us interact with others in a healthy manner.
The mental health benefits of a good night's sleep may be innumerable, but this one takes the cake: consistent, sufficient quality sleep is key to unlocking increased life expectancy. Those who practice optimal sleep across their lifespan are more likely to reach very old age.
Meta description: Our most overlooked physiological need is sleep. Learn more about the top mental health benefits of a good night's sleep.
With the current economic uncertainty, you might be worried about how to protect your family if a recession occurs. While there is little you can do about the economy, you can pay attention to your spending, manage your debt wisely, and increase your income to help ensure your family's financial stability.
1. Stick to Your Budget
Creating and following a household budget allows you to manage what you spend while encouraging saving. Calculate your fixed and variable reoccurring expenses to determine what you have left each month for additional purchases.
Shop smart by comparing costs, reading reviews, and checking ratings when buying a new product. This can help you find quality options within your budget to get the best value for your buck. Making a habit of comparing prices can save you a lot of money in the long run.
Another idea is to save a portion of your income each month. Treat your savings account like a monthly bill, and never miss a payment. By prioritizing savings, you can ensure your family has additional funds for an emergency.
If you’re having trouble managing your budget, turn to the expert coaches at Turning Point Stewardship!
2. Reduce Your Debt
While you may not be in a position to pay off your debt entirely, you can be strategic when choosing how to allocate your financial resources. If possible, eliminate small balances while prioritizing your highest-interest debts. Maintain organized financial records to minimize confusion and keep track of your debt repayment progress.
Financial records can be confusing, but digitizing your documents allows you to conveniently access and review them. Storing copies of account statements and payment receipts in a single file helps you stay organized while managing your debt.
3. Invest in a Home Warranty
A home warranty is a type of insurance that helps to cover the cost of repairs for items in your home, such as your furnace, air conditioner, plumbing, and electrical systems. Many people choose to purchase a home warranty when they buy a new home, as it can provide peace of mind in knowing that these expensive items are covered in case of breakage. To determine whether a warranty is worth it when buying a new home, consult the home’s inspection report.
A home warranty can also be beneficial if you own an older home, as it can help to offset the cost of repairs or replacement for items that are starting to show their age. In either case, a home warranty can help you save money by covering the cost of repairs that you would otherwise have to pay for out of pocket.
4. Consider Gig Work
With the rise of the gig economy, there is more opportunity than ever to earn additional income. Ride-sharing, grocery or food delivery, and dog walking gigs allow you to connect with people willing to pay for these services. If you are tech-savvy, there are countless opportunities to make extra cash with just your computer and an internet connection, including:
5. Start a Recession-Proof Business
Another way to diversify your income is to start a business. While launching a new company is often costly and time-consuming, investing in a recession-proof industry can provide a steady stream of revenue regardless of the state of the economy. Popular recession-proof business ideas include:
Investing in one of these in-demand businesses can be profitable and fulfilling. According to experts, online-based businesses are easy to launch and require lower initial costs than those requiring a brick-and-mortar storefront.
Whether you get a side hustle or start a recession-proof business, having diverse sources of income is a benefit. Exercise wisdom and planning when managing your finances and consider investing in a home warranty. Economic uncertainty can be frightening, but preparing for a recession eases financial stress and provides valuable peace of mind.
Life is stressful, and all of our many responsibilities can add up to be truly overwhelming at times. One of many people’s biggest stressors is personal finances. All too quickly, your finances can spiral out of control, and you may feel that you’ll be trapped in debt or living paycheck to paycheck for the rest of your life. Thinking this way can be deeply upsetting and may even completely change your outlook on life.
If your current financial situation has you feeling overwhelmed, take things one step at a time to help get yourself back on your feet. Below are a few steps you can take to help set yourself on a path for financial success.
The best thing you can do to help alleviate feelings of stress surrounding money is to learn as much as you possibly can about money management. From opening a bank account, to applying for a credit card, to setting up a savings plan and more, there is so much to learn about the very basics of money management.
A strong option to get you started on your financial literacy journey is learning about how your credit score affects your finances. Your credit score will be the foundation of your financial journey over the years as it impacts your ability to be approved for loans and lines of credit. The higher your credit score, the higher loan amounts you can be approved for, and the higher credit limit you can be granted.
Building up a high credit score increases your potential to be approved for personal loans specifically. Personal loans are useful if you need a certain amount of money to pay for something important or want to consolidate your debt. Debt consolidation helps you simplify your monthly payments and can even reduce your interest rate depending on your credit score and other financial considerations. Consolidating your debt with a personal loan is a great first step to taking back control over your money and building better money habits.
Set a Budget
Once you’ve implemented a few new strategies to help you better manage your personal finances, it’s time to create a budget. Creating and sticking to a budget is a fool-proof way to feel less stressed about money. A budget determines how much of your money can go toward your various expenses and savings, making it easier and more predictable to manage your income every pay period.
Start by recording all of the income you can expect to receive on a monthly basis. This will be the foundation of your budget. From there, list all monthly expenses you have, including credit card bills, groceries, gas, other necessities, and free spending money. Once you’ve determined how much you spend on a monthly basis, you can then allocate any leftover money to savings and sinking funds to help you save money over time. If you find that you have little or no money left over after paying your monthly expenses, reevaluate your monthly costs to see if you can cut down on spending, and increase the amount of money you have left over for saving.
Without a budget, it can be easy to spend too much money on items you need or want, leaving you with not enough money to pay your bills or put away for saving. This can easily lead to a stressful situation that only snowballs each pay period if you don’t correct this behavior.
Seek Support From Those You Trust
If you find that your financial stress is not something you can alleviate on your own, look to those around you for help and guidance. From your friends and family, to financial professionals, there are a variety of ways you can get help from others to learn how to better your financial situation.
Perhaps you choose to confide in a family member by disclosing your financial circumstances and ask for their advice on how you should proceed. If circumstances allow, you may even ask your loved one for some financial assistance to help you get through an extremely difficult time. Your mental health and livelihood are much more important than money, and if you find that your financial situation is deteriorating your quality of life, rely on the help and advice of your family and friends to help you through a tough time.
If asking for help from loved ones isn’t something you're comfortable with, a financial professional is a great option for taking charge of your financial situation. If you are struggling with low income and high debt, a credit counselor is a professional who can help you better understand your financial standing and assist you in creating a budget. While these services do cost money, if you are in a particularly difficult situation, the cost would be worth your investment. Learning how to better manage your money from a professional will help you be in a better position in the years to come.
Managing money is a stressful task for just about everyone. Without the proper education and management tools in place, digging yourself out of debt can be nearly impossible. To help take back your finances and make your money work for you, try out these tips.
Knowing that the divorce rate in the United States is roughly 50% doesn't make being on the receiving end of that statistic any easier to bear. The good news is that a divorce is not inevitable in the face of marital discontent. It's possible to repair your connection if at least one of you wants to. In reality, experienced divorce prevention counselors have helped thousands of people on the verge of divorce or who had already filed papers find their way back to each other and happiness. That's why we've asked them for help, and they've told us all about which actions to take on the brink of divorce. Hopefully, they'll be enough to help you and your partner make the best decision.
Here are some actions to take on the brink of divorce
The movies are a great way to have a good time. Perhaps it's even something you enjoyed doing with your spouse. However, they can also lead to great trouble by ingraining the phrase, "and they lived happily ever after" into our brains. But we never get to see what happens after the honeymoon, and once real life begins, do we? The effort and upkeep, both mental and emotional, that a marriage demand is something you'll rarely see in any movie.
Considering and, let alone, going through a divorce is never a joyful experience. Heartbreaking, distressing, and at times emotionally numbing, this is the reality for many people. When a marriage seems hopeless, what can you do to rescue it? How do you refrain from falling over the edge? Is your marriage salvageable at this point?
Take a deep breath, as there are still some options worth exploring. You must broach the subject carefully and introspectively look at your relationship with your partner. Think of it as confronting a loved one about their drinking or gambling, for instance. In both cases, talking is just the start, but plenty of actions are required from you until you fix the issue. Here are the three most important steps to take on the brink of divorce.
#1 Be honest with yourself
Even though it can be quite a challenge, you have to do some soul-searching and give yourself an honest evaluation. It is a great action to take on the brink of divorce. So ask yourself: is there a lot of pressure on you right now? If so, it might affect your ability to make decisions concerning your partner. When stressed, it's easy to take it out on the people who love us the most. They'd get defensive in response, setting off a downward spiral.
It's also possible that your partner is under significant emotional strain, too. The cycle then turns around. Your partner is stressed and is being unfairly critical of you, putting you on the defensive. The marriage of two anxious people is doomed to fail. Recognizing this can be a turning point and a fantastic opportunity to save your marriage through stress-relieving hobbies. Or, you can always seek help from experienced counselors and mental health professionals.
#2 Truly evaluate your marriage
In the same way, you should evaluate yourself. You should also thoroughly assess your marriage. Go back in your mind to the happy times you had. What would you say if you could describe the situation and how it has evolved? You can recreate some of the conditions of the past.
Do you still laugh and enjoy each other's company, or do you just argue or ignore one other all the time? Something may be wrong if you feel like there are no more pleasant times, and you cannot picture yourself enjoying any in the future.
Spending quality time together is one of the keys to a successful marriage. Therefore, it's crucial if you want to save a marriage that is on the verge of failure. It's great for fostering a sense of belonging and safety. When people come together to have a good time, their serotonin levels rise, forming closer bonds.
#3 Think about reaching out to a counselor
It's always a good idea to talk to an impartial expert who can provide insight into the situation that those involved in the conflict cannot. A counselor's ability to identify communication gaps and provide solutions is always crucial.
Many men resist this concept out of fear of being attacked. However, this is rarely the case. The addiction recovery experts at littlecreekrecovery.org suggest that the same happens regarding substance or alcohol abuse issues. However, they advise that good counselors will also be impartial and ensure that none of their patients ever feels attacked.
The same can translate to marital counseling. Counselors help both sides hear how they come across to the other when barriers are up. They have the power to let you see the world outside your thoughts. Marital counseling can potentially be a powerful tool for rescuing troubled unions.
Now that you know what actions to take on the brink of divorce, try them. If you and your spouse are willing to fully invest yourselves in the process, we're sure you can quickly get to the bottom of your issues and figure out the best solution.
However, there's nothing to be ashamed of if you feel it's not something you can handle on your own. If that's the case, don't be afraid to seek help, as an experienced couple's counselor can help you find the best ways to prevent divorce and reignite your love for each other.
A tale as old as time; adolescent "door slam" phase. Painful? Very much so. Irreparable? Not quite. The core issue of our children's adulting stage (as well as our own) is - forgetting. We forget. They forget - just how strong and unbreakable the bond between us is. Instead, we become insecure, closed-off, anxious, and untrusting. The adolescent phase becomes a game of squash, but instead of the ball, we use doubt and self-doubt as our defense and offense weapons. The game is ruthless, and there are no winners. As parents, we are responsible for creating the necessary conditions for much-needed communication. We may look at them and think: "I don't know them anymore. They're nothing like the child I raised." - and vice versa. But, the truth is: no. They are. It's just fear talking. That is how to approach a teen that isn't communicating.
Talking is difficult
Oh, the long-gone days, the simple days when there was nothing but easy laughter, tiny hands, and their insatiable and vast curiousness. Why? Why? Tell me. Why do the stars flicker? Why do we have five fingers? Where do watermelons come from? - good times. But, they don't last - and it's okay. Welcoming our children to adulthood is beautiful, but we should take it as a cue to step up our parenting game. They don't stay the same. Why should we be given the privilege? Following their growth is only fair. But talking is hard. Covering complex and vulnerable topics is an exceptionally unpleasant assignment - to say the least. We never get used to "I hate you" and "Leave me alone"; the words pierce our hearts like a cargo ship anchor. So, are we ready to approach a teen that isn’t communicating? It's the only way out.
Silence for two
Parents aren't the only ones hurting; their teenagers suffer in silence, too. Most children start "pulling away" from their parents around puberty, just as other social circles start to bloom. Puberty is a sensitive period in one's life, where all insecurities and questions about "the self" surface simultaneously. The blitzkrieg sensation for the one experiencing it should not be underestimated or questioned - turmoil is inevitable. Still, it's not all on them. If things aren't going well at home, they might perceive us as unavailable or even negligent in addressing their struggles, thus gravitating toward other sources of support and comfort. (peers, coaches, and professors) Shake up the status quo. Starting a conversation during a car ride can be a good icebreaker, as driving demands our "eyes on the road" instead of tête-à-tête uneasiness.
I'm all ears
Active listening is key to repairing communication with our children. And, yes, we get carried away easily. Auto-traps set us up for failure. Out of a sheer desire to help, teach, and guide them, we unintentionally, unconsciously turn into monologue beasts, chasing the overwhelmed cub away. The plan backfires. Rather than focusing on what to say, we should learn to focus on listening. Bite your tongue, if need be, but deliver solely the promised noninvasive space for their articulation. If we want to approach a teen that isn't communicating, we should ask open-ended questions with childlike curiosity. Many experience familial turbulence before moving house, as novelties invite new insecurities. But, there are ways: pros can make it stress-free. By hiring professional movers, we can focus on the thing that matter the most - our children.
Don't skimp on affirmation
Positive feedback is of paramount importance. By engaging in open communication channels, we gain insight into our child's thoughts and emotions and a deeper understanding of their inner processes. Step 1. Active listening. Step 2. Empathy. Step 3. Provide affirmation. By offering immediate praise and support, we help our children build self-esteem and healthy confidence levels and inspire and encourage the continuum of "open flow" communication. For example, if our child opens up about feeling anxious or sad (no matter how insignificant the cause), we should say, "You are so brave for telling me this. Sharing something so personal is hard. Thank you for trusting me."
Don't "Back in my day"
Mastering this one is tricky, as it requires deep reflection. Time capsule hour; let's go back to our childhood days. Simpler times, no? Indeed. We had it easy. No TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, Netflix, FaceTime - nothing. Just the good old landline. Cyberbullying? Science fiction. It's fair to admit: we don't quite grasp the magnitude of their struggles. - And it's okay. Things are very different today, but the universal truth reminds us: the adult world is as new to them as it was to us - back in the day. Relocation specialists from Zapt Movers share: "A large percentage of our long-distance clients are families with teenagers." - Let's add that to the equation of today's uncertainty. They don't have it easy. The world is not as benevolent as we remember it to be. Our children yearn for stability and certainty - and providing that safe space should be our priority.
Leave judgment at the door
Playing it cool goes against parental instincts, especially when we disapprove of it. What do we do if we get our children to open up, and it's more than we bargained for? "My friends smoke weed." "I skipped school on Thursday." "I had unprotected sex." The automatic response would be MUTINY. OFF WITH THEIR HEADS! But we know better than that. That's not good parenting. By remaining empathetic, genuine, and open-minded, we achieve more. We're not letting anything slide. Instead, we're choosing to approach the topic with open-mindedness and assertiveness. (not hot-headedness!) Setting a clear set of rules, boundaries, and expectations is what parents do, but always remember: the way we deliver it is what makes it or breaks it at the end of the day—kindness and acceptance, above all things.
If you don't know how to approach a teen that isn't communicating, remember who they are to you. Love them. Unconditionally. Tell them you miss them. Show it. Be vulnerable. And they will reciprocate.
Addiction therapy is a crucial first step toward establishing a drug- and alcohol-free lifestyle. You will learn coping skills, relapse prevention techniques, and other vital tools to help you avoid relapsing into addictive habits. Treatment centers provide the best setting for you to stay clean and sober, with peer and professional support. However, treatment does not cease after the rehabilitation program ends. Aftercare is critical for avoiding a relapse and enjoying a healthy life in the long run. Committing to a life free of substances needs motivation and constant support. Therefore, people in treatment must have a strategy for what happens when they finish the program. Excellent assistance and many solutions are available for those who want to keep living a healthy and addiction-free life after therapy. So here are some options to consider for aftercare in recovery.
What is aftercare in recovery, and how can it help?
Substance detox is the first step for people seeking addiction therapy. Following that, people start a treatment program in which their daily lives get meticulously planned and focused on creating a solid foundation for rehabilitation. Aftercare is the phase of therapy that comes after a person has completed their program in a rehabilitation center. It is a group strategy to aid an individual through their early recovery and prevent relapse while focusing on their new life. Just imagine what would happen if, after treatment, facilities would just send people back into the world with no further support. As you probably expect, most of them would relapse and return to the program.
Fortunately, after the treatment program, there is aftercare. Aftercare in recovery will offer continuous assistance for those who left the treatment facility. Therefore, abstinent addicts won’t have to be alone in their journey to a new and healthy life. So if you or a loved one finished the treatment program for addictions, follow the advice of addiction recovery experts at Archstone Behavioral Health and continue your path to an addiction-free life with aftercare.
Aftercare in recovery - options to consider
If you want long-term recovery support, some options can help you stay on track. Here are some examples:
1. Support groups
As part of aftercare in recovery, many treatment programs encourage joining support groups. Support groups are people who understand the difficulty of addiction and share their experiences in a confidential atmosphere to help others stay abstinent and sober.
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) are two of the most known support organizations based on the 12-steps and have a spiritual component. These groups are led by people that are also in recovery.
2. Aftercare therapy
Including a therapist in your aftercare plan may be beneficial, mainly if you worked with a therapist during the treatment program. Therapy will help you manage your emotions, resolve disputes, and avoid possible triggers for relapse. Here are some types of aftercare therapy that could help you in your journey:
Sober living is a method of informal substance abuse therapy. These programs are set up in homes occupied by persons in recovery from alcohol and other substance abuse. A sober living facility provides a secure and stable atmosphere where substance abuse is not tolerated. However, this type of living can be a beneficial transition that helps abstinent people adjust to a more independent life and eliminate toxic thoughts. At the same time, it has the potential to prevent people from homelessness, which can be a real danger and a cause for relapse.
4. Case management
It might be challenging to adjust to life following rehab. Therefore, people will need the help of therapists or physicians to continue their recovery. Also, once a person is clean and sober, they will want to meet others who share their dedication to healing. At this point, case management becomes an essential part of aftercare and recovery.
A case manager, which can be a therapist, social worker, or counselor, will take over the responsibility of reintegrating the abstinent person into society. They will guide them in finding employment, social services, or legal services that they can benefit from.
5. Aftercare programs in rehab facilities
Your treatment program or rehab center may have its own aftercare program. Ongoing treatment, sober living programs, and case management are some of the services that might be provided. Facility-based aftercare programs help you continue your recovery journey with the same specialists you worked with before. Sometimes, that can make a massive difference in transitioning to your new life as a sober individual. You will have familiar faces around you that know all your struggles, flaws, and strengths and help you work with them to achieve your goals.
6. Medication management
Medication is sometimes essential to continuing addiction and mental health therapy and recovery. Depending on the substance used, medicine can help with craving management. At the same time, medication can help relieve painful or deadly withdrawal symptoms during the detox phase of treatment.
If you are already taking drugs as part of your treatment plan, follow up with your prescription provider to evaluate your symptoms. Sometimes medication schemes need modifications as they can stop working or have side effects.
The primary purpose of an aftercare plan is to keep people from relapsing. However, that isn't the sole goal. Life following treatment should be based on all the improvements you made in your recovery. Therefore, aftercare in recovery is essential as it prevents potential relapse and teaches you how to live a healthy and happy life.
Meta: Aftercare is an essential component of rehabilitation that many people don’t know about. Here are some options to consider for your aftercare in recovery.
How do we define self-esteem, and why is it paramount to addiction recovery? Self-esteem can be defined as our overall sense of worth. The image of self stems from our childhood familial dynamic, the love, and support we were given (or deprived of), empirical circumstances, our mental wiring, personality, background – myriad factors. Studies have shown a strong correlation between substance abuse and self-esteem. The ones who struggle with low self-worth live by the question: "Why try at all?" The well-embedded belief of "born or destined to fail" gives room for a distinctive abyss to cultivate self-destruction. For that reason, any individual in addiction recovery should give their self-esteem their undivided attention. The truth is that our fundamental pillars of existence mustn't be put on hold. The very success of one's sobriety rides solely on their ability to love oneself. Let's talk about why self-esteem matters in addiction recovery.
Low self-esteem is the gateway to relapse
Relapse and low self-esteem go hand in hand; a symbiosis made in hell. The ones who are riddled with insecurities and poor self-image seek refuge in psychoactive substances to alleviate the mind and soul's perpetual, excruciating uneasiness. People turn to drugs and alcohol for various reasons: to lower their inhibitions, survive a breakup, build pseudo-confidence, or escape negative thinking patterns. Whatever the culprit, individuals in recovery face an even greater danger: relapse. When one stops using, the crutch is no longer available; only the sober truth of self-loathing. Learning how to boost your self-esteem in recovery is crucial for avoiding relapse.
Low self-esteem signs
Individuals struggling with addiction often exhibit the following behaviors:
The danger of not working on your self-esteem
Low self-esteem is a peculiar round of hell; it's a self-imposed prison of a loveless existence. The ones who succeed in freeing themselves from the iron fist of addiction are the ones who learn to feel compassion and practice self-love. Without working on your self-esteem, you risk remaining confined and unconditionally lost in anger, fear, anxiety, depression, and self-disgust, a bystander in your own life. Now, that would be a disgrace. Showing your teeth and fighting the inner demons isn't. It's an act of courage. An act of self-love. The path to healing emerges when you realize that the only person who can save you is you. High self-esteem invites motivation for recovery. And it's absolutely worth all the blood, sweat, and tears.
Building self-esteem in addiction recovery
Nothing happens overnight. There will be no miracles here, only hard work. The path to self-love is a continuous fight, and it needs you to give it your 100%, especially after completing the primary treatment program. Long-term treatment is mandatory if you want to stay on the sober train. Fortunately, you're not alone; some of the best mental healthcare providers offer online therapy – reach out to a professional and ask for guidance.
How to improve self-esteem
Addictive behavior or not, many people struggle with low self-esteem. The good news? You can mend it. We suggest practicing the following steps to improve and rebuild your sense of self-worth.
Build positive relationships
Once you're in recovery, it's essential to stay clear from anyone who has ever influenced or endorsed your substance use in the past. Learning to say "No" to toxic relationships is the cornerstone of your self-esteem. Going back to certain individuals or even places can trigger you into relapse temptation. Instead, focus on creating new, healthy relationships with toxic-trait-free people who can see your beauty and worth and will appreciate your presence and friendship. Self-esteem matters in addiction recovery. Find the people who will love you for you.
"I'm good at..."Ask yourself this: What am I good at? Every human being is good at something, no matter how idiosyncratic their talent. Are you good at telling jokes? Making lasagna? Painting? Singing blues? Find the thing (or things) you do well. The better we are at something, the better we feel about ourselves. It's a reasonably straightforward hypothesis. Being great (or simply good) at something boosts your mood and self-esteem.
Additionally, it prevents your mind from wandering off-limits. Something as "silly" as joining a choir can turn out to be a lifesaver. If you love cooking, try volunteering at a local soup kitchen. According to consumeropinion.org, recovering individuals who volunteer are less likely to experience relapse.
Healthy self-esteem requires exiting the comfort zone and probing for novelties. Feeling anxious about new experiences is entirely typical and expected. The difference between low and healthy self-esteem is that, although you fear the unknown, healthy self-esteem doesn't stop you in your tracks; you don't allow negative emotions to prevent you from experiencing new things. So, choose your challenge. Start small. (then gradually work towards something you really want.) Gym, pottery class, 10,000 steps per day, or simply going out for a cup of coffee. Start somewhere. Expand your comfort zone and transform your negative thoughts into a healthy dose of self-praise.
Learn to say "No"
Individuals with low self-esteem are known to be people pleasers. "NO" is non-existent in their vocabulary, and often so, to their detriment. (if you say no, they won't like you anymore) Here's some homework: stop saying "Yes" all the time. See what happens. Will they leave? Think of you less? Or appreciate you more? Practice setting boundaries. Do what is best for you, not others. Saying yes to the things you don't want, like, or need will only evoke resentment and send you down the low self-esteem spiral.
Healthy self-esteem matters in addiction recovery. So, be kind to yourself and others. Refrain from being your own worst critic. Say NO to your inner tyrant. Rest, tyrant, rest. Instead, offer compassion. Be gentle. You deserve it. And remember: nobody but you will save you from yourself.
Meta Description: - Low self-esteem matters in addiction recovery as it can trigger relapse in patients. Here are some tips to avoid that. Photo used: https://unsplash.com/photos/SR8ByN6xY3k
It's a universal dread - all parents experience cascades of anxiety regarding substance use talk. As unenjoyable as it may be, ignoring the impending danger will not make it vanish into thin air. As parents, we are responsible for overcoming our fear hurdles (and awkwardness) and providing that safe space for open dialogue. The truth is, we're never truly prepared, and it's never the right time. Avoiding the conversation will only prolong the smoldering agony; convincing ourselves that our children would never (!) indulge in such autodestructive behavior will not do us favors, either. So, why wait? Peer pressure is a relentless mechanism, assuming is a nemesis. The most effective (and unobtrusive) preventive measure we can implement is surprisingly undemanding - an ongoing open discussion. These are our tips for talking to your kids about substance use. Let's talk.
The power of language is irrefutably superior to all other forms of communication. We can't hug a profound conversation out and hope for the best subliminal message outcome. We're not mind whisperers. Talking about substance use should start early in their lives, but we need to tread the vocabulary path wisely. A child's brain is a thing of wonder; it's ever-evolving. In order to get the message across in a successful manner, we need to make sure they can relate to what we're saying. So, keep it age-appropriate. Divorce and financial strains are common triggers for developing anxiety in the early stages of development, which could later induce substance abuse problems.
2. Ask questions
Although we may be tempted to perceive our kids as innocent, information-free vessels of our personal joy and (perpetual) worry, they are, in fact, the Earth's leading sponges in absorbing and storing valuable (and random) information. They just know things. More importantly, they're much more educated than we could ever, ever fathom. We were all young once; a young brain is a vast brain. By the age of 16, they are equipped with everything from future-budget concepts to drug buffets. So, ask them questions. How familiar are they with substances? Have they read about it online? Are their school friends familiar with the topic? What are their thoughts? Engage in a meaningful, open conversation.
3. Adjust your approach
Accusation will get you nowhere. The last thing we want is for our children to experience fear and anxiety around opening up. Vulnerability is key to a successful conversation. The tone of your voice is crucial here. Instead of inviting fear, judgment, and hatred, we should try approaching the subject with curiosity and understanding. Introduce the "experimenting phase" term and see if they respond to it and in what manner. Experimenting is an everyday occurrence; it's an empirical given. If you cannot tell whether they have encountered drugs or alcohol before, don't be afraid to ask them. Have an open discussion, explain the "experimenting" rules, and draw the line.
4. Be assertive
One of the most important tips for talking to your kids about substance use: Where you stand as a parent on substance use should be crystal clear from the get-go. It's a NO. Refraining from having "the talk" is also sending a message that could be interpreted as: "I guess it's okay if I give it a try." Kids need guidance. They need to hear a decisive "NO." Now, as parents, our duty is to find that golden ratio in order to get the message across without generating negative emotion. Assertiveness is, by no means, a form of aggression. Coming off as militant, tyrannical and unforgiving will not lead to them accepting the concept of prohibition. Try setting clear but fair boundaries. Moving long-distance proved to be one of the most common triggers in teenagers, as their anxiety levels peak in uncertainty. Before that fresh start, be sure to discuss this with them. It will make everything go smoother.
5. The consequence talk
The concept of lasting substance use impact is elusive when explaining it to kids. They don't understand long term. Instead of trying to scare them with ungraspable consequences somewhere down the road ("If you become a drug addict, it will - XXX"), try laying out the immediate effects list. If you're discussing cigarettes, go straight for the Achilles heel - aesthetics. Bad breath, yellow teeth, poor skin, overall loss of attractiveness. Drunk driving = goodbye, driver's license! + possible death- insert casually. (if not paralysis or immediate death, the driver's license scenario will, 100%, make them think, HARD)
6. If it already happened
If your child has experimented with substance use, pinpointing the root cause is crucial. Peer pressure, school/social status, family trouble, and other stress-inducing factors can greatly impact teenagers, further leading to clouded judgment and bad decision-making. We never indulge in autodestructive behavior out of sheer boredom; there's always a culprit. Finding out what caused the initial use can prevent "the experiment" from developing into a serious addiction problem. Explain addiction and relapse as honestly and thoroughly as you possibly can. Make sure they understand how difficult it is to lose the habit and how detrimental it can be to their mental and physical health. If you're worried about your child's possible addiction, experts from helixmove.com advise moving to a new area.
7. Seek professional help
Financial strains often bring family disruption, but they may also serve as a trigger in adolescent substance use. Experimenting with drugs or alcohol can be a sign of a developing habit. Seeking professional help in the early stages is key. A regular psychologist should be able to provide you with all the vital information, as well as refer you to a substance abuse counseling center. Intervention in the early stages is of utmost importance, as it will provide healthy coping mechanisms and tools for preventing potential addiction. If your child is struggling, be sure to stay as supportive and loving as possible throughout the process.
The last of our tips for talking to your kids about substance use: lead by example. Our children absorb and mimic our behavior. If you're smoking, consuming alcohol, or taking prescription drugs, you're not helping. Mixed signals never get the message across. Be consistent. Be their rock.
As you probably know by now, dealing with addiction is rough. And while acknowledging that you have a problem and seeking help is hard, what comes after is even harder. Since you’re surrounded by temptation and triggers, staying clean is a life-long battle. But it’s worth it! Once you’re in recovery, you can start getting your life back on track. And it’s never too late to do that. However, despite all the benefits of recovery, you need a lot of determination to succeed. Even if your brain is telling you that this is good for you, there will be times when you’ll want to quit. So, here are 8 tips for staying motivated in recovery.
No. 1 One of the top 8 tips for staying motivated in recovery is setting achievable goals
After completing your addiction treatment, you might feel that the hard part is over. And this will make you think that you can achieve anything you want now. However, you will easily get discouraged if you set goals that are impossible to achieve. Take it slow, one day at a time, and manage your expectations. You can’t expect to regain everything you lost overnight. For example, if your goal is to get your career back, don’t expect to become a CEO in one month. Start small with a low-level position that you can manage while focusing on your recovery.
No. 2 Stay positive
Having a positive mindset is one of the top 8 tips for staying motivated in recovery. So, drop the toxic thoughts and think positively. Of course, this is easier said than done. While in recovery, you might struggle with negative thoughts brought on by regret, guilt, and loss. But instead, you should focus on improving your life and finding happiness once more.
No. 3 Stay healthy
Since any type of addiction will harm your health, it’s time to improve things in that department. Learn to take care of yourself. Star by making time to eat well and exercise. This will improve not only your health but also your mindset. And you should know that maintaining good mental health is just as important as maintaining good physical health. So, make sure you focus on both.
Now, when it comes to your mental health, it’s not as easy as choosing to eat vegetables instead of junk food. For example, stress represents a major concern for people in recovery. It might even be what led them to substance abuse in the first place. Of course, you can’t avoid stressful situations, but you can learn to deal with anxiety. For instance, if you have to move house, seek help from your friends and professional movers. That way, you can focus on managing the stress of moving house.
No. 4 Stay organized
Keeping busy is a great tip for staying motivated in recovery. The main reason for this is that when you have too much free time, your mind tends to wander off. You’ll start thinking about all your troubles and about using again. So, set up a schedule and stick to it. This will also help you stay on top of your daily tasks and responsibilities. And don’t forget to include your new healthy habits in there as well.
No. 5 Learn to manage your addiction triggers
A major concern when in recovery is dealing with addiction triggers. These triggers can be physical, like seeing the object of your addiction. But most often than not, they are emotional. Because, let’s face it, people usually turn to substance abuse when going through a rough patch. Therefore, you have to find ways to cope with these triggers. And a good tip is to find new activities that you enjoy. For example, the advisors from Mod Movers CA recommend exploring the city you live in to discover what it has to offer. For example, you might enjoy going to the theatre or the cinema or taking cooking lessons.
No. 6 Rely on your support system
Whenever times get tough, you should have a good support system to rely on. And close family members and friends are at the top of the list. After all, the people who stuck by you even after you hit rock bottom are the ones that truly love you. And you have to do everything in your power to nurture those relationships.
But even though your close friends and family will always be there for you, they might not understand what you’re going through. That’s why support groups should also be a part of your support system. Here, you’ll meet people who have faced similar situations and struggles as you. Therefore, they can provide you with valuable insight and advice on how to stay motivated in recovery.
No. 7 Seek professional help
As previously mentioned, recovery is a life-long battle. Therefore, there may be times when you’ll need a bit more help to stay on track. And when you find yourself in these situations, it’s best to seek professional help. For example, a therapist who specializes in addiction can help you see things from a different perspective and teach you some new coping strategies.
No. 8 Remind yourself why it’s worth it
Whenever you feel down, and you think about giving up, remind yourself why you started. Remember all those people that you hurt and all the things you’ve lost while using. Then, think about all the things you can achieve now that you’re clean. Of course, it will take time, and you have to be patient, but good times will come.
Unfortunately, many people struggle with addiction and recovery. So, don’t worry, you’re not alone in it. But choosing to get clean is the best decision you’ll ever make. Therefore, once you complete your addiction treatment, you should do whatever it takes not to fall off the wagon. Yes, there will be times when you’ll feel like giving up, but try to overcome those moments. Use these 8 tips for staying motivated in recovery and get your life back on track.
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