Updated on 4/13/2023
You have medical checkups with your doctor, you have a dentist look at your teeth regularly, and you take your car in for maintenance to keep it running well. Have you ever considered that your mind could use a regular checkup, too? When you are in alcohol addiction recovery, and particularly if you have a co-occurring disorder such as depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder, it is a good idea to have a daily mental health self check-in. This blog gives insight into developing habits to do so and the value of this practice.
Daily Habits Help Maintain Your Recovery
During your treatment process, you learn the value of doing things every day to help you to not only maintain sobriety but also stay mentally well and continue growing in your recovery process. Establishing your own healthy daily habits is essential to prevent addiction relapse and can also help you to become more productive and achieve your recovery goals. Some of these daily habits include:
- Healthy sleeping habits
- Eating well
- Regular exercise
- Mindfulness meditation, breathing or relaxation exercises
- Attending meetings or receiving other support
- Self-care—doing something that brings you joy
- Using your support network of friends, family and community members
How Can You Know if Your Mental Health Is Deteriorating?
When your body is not functioning properly, there are physical symptoms that allow you to know that there is something wrong, and you can seek medical attention as necessary. When your brain is not functioning properly, the symptoms are less recognizable until you have severe impairment such as addiction relapse or psychiatric symptoms that affect your ability to function.
If you think of your brain like a computer, you do not necessarily know that something is malfunctioning until your files are damaged or your software will not work. Just like a computer, your mind does not simply tell you “You are depressed” or “You are about to relapse.” Instead, you must watch vigilantly for small signs that indicate when your mental health is deteriorating.
Daily Questions to Ask Yourself
One of the best ways to know the status of your mental health is to do a daily mental health check-in. This check-in should be a series of questions that you ask yourself once or twice a day, such as in the morning and at night before you go to bed. Some of the questions that you should ask yourself are:
- Did I get enough sleep? Or too much sleep?
- Did I eat three good meals and also eat snacks?
- Have I taken any medications or supplements as prescribed?
- Did I exercise?
- Did I do my mindfulness meditation or relaxation exercises?
- Have I checked in with my sponsor or other support people?
- Did I attend my group meeting?
- Did I make time for myself to do something that brings me joy?
- How was my mood? Was I too happy or too sad or apathetic?
- How did I interact with the people around me?
- Did I make healthy decisions regarding work, family, money and other commitments?
- How did I manage any triggers or cravings?
- Did I think about or dwell upon substances or past experiences with them?
You can personalize your own list of questions, but the answers to these questions will give you important information as to how your mind is functioning. But if you notice a pattern of poor sleep for two weeks, then that should alert you to take action.
When Do You Need to Seek Help?
If you are checking in with yourself every day, then you will notice when one or more of your answers are potentially dangerous for your mental wellness. These red-flag warnings—like missing meetings, medications, sleep or having unusual mood fluctuations—can alert you to take action to prevent risking further issues with your mental health.
If you missed one or more of your meetings, for example, you should reach out for support. Missing elements of your daily recovery routine are known as a mental relapse, which precedes an actual physical addiction relapse. When you catch a mental relapse early on, you can take measures to prevent any further mental issues or a physical addiction relapse.
For those who have experienced depression, for example, sleep disturbances are a common symptom. When you are sleeping too much, not enough, or at the wrong times of the day, you can reach out to your doctor to see if you need to change your current treatment before your depression becomes debilitating. Seeking help early for your mental health can prevent relapse, hospitalization or other serious consequences.
Your mind does not tell you when you are about to become seriously depressed. To understand where you are in your mental health journey, you can ask yourself questions as a daily mental health check-in. Catching symptoms early can help you take action before there are more significant consequences. At DiscoveryMD, we understand the value of a daily mental check-in for your recovery and mental wellness. Our staff members are in recovery themselves and are able to guide your treatment process with wisdom, experience and compassion. We offer all of the services you need to begin your treatment under one roof to simplify the process for you. Contact us today to find out more about our outpatient services for mental health disorders.