Steps to Wellness
Step #1: Pause & Breathe
- Take time to pause and breath at a traffic light, between tasks, before you sip tea or coffee or as part of regular routine especially transitioning between tasks.
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: Meditation In Depth
- Use a free meditation app (like Calm, Insight Timer, Aura, or Simple Habit)
- You can find lots of guided meditations and relaxing music on YouTube
Step #2: Reach Out and Connect with Someone
- Talk to a friend or supporter—social support relieves stress and can even keep you healthy.
- Hug a pet! Spending time with animals can be calming and make you feel less alone. Taking care of a pet can give you a sense of purpose.
- Brooks et al. (2018): The power of support from companion animals…
Step #3: Focus on Sleep
- Create a sleep routine. Be consistent with the times you go to sleep and wake up.
- Sleep refreshes your mind and your mood, helps your body heal, and improves your memory.
- Sleep in a cool, dark space. Avoid large meals, caffeine, and alcohol before bedtime.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Tips for better sleep
- Find a guided meditation that focuses on getting to sleep: Try an app like Calm, Insight Timer, Aura, or Simple Habit, or search on YouTube
- Use a sleep-tracking app to learn more about how you sleep: Examples include Sleep Cycle, Sleep Score, Pillow Automatic Sleep Tracker, or Alarm Clock Xtreme
Step #4: Move More
- Try walking just 10 minutes 3 times/day for 3 days out of each week.
- Moving more may help you control weight, lower your risk of heart disease, and lengthen your life.
- Walking and moving more can help improve your mood and reduce symptoms of depression.
- SAMHSA.gov: Walking fact sheet (Program to Achieve Wellness)
- Scientific American: Regular walking can help ease depression
- Check out YouTube for exercise videos, including dance, yoga, tai chi, and Pilates
Step #5: Eliminate Harmful Substances
- Cut down or quit smoking, other types of tobacco and nicotine, alcohol, opioids, and other harmful drugs.
- Many harmful substances cause mental and physical health problems.
- Alcohol, and other substances can disrupt your sleep.
- Many harmful substances are associated with cancer, liver problems, heart disease, difficulty breathing and more.
- Find local 12-step meetings (search for AA, NA, GA, OA, and others).
- Try a sober meditation or recovery support app or a collection of daily readings: Examples include 12 Step Meditation Daily Reflections, Sober Grid – Social Network,
- Track your progress: Examples include I Am Sober, Nomo – Sobriety Clocks, Quit That! Habit Tracker, Sober Time, Sober Tool
Many free smartphone apps are funded through advertisements or require payment to access certain features, so check app reviews before downloading. Be cautious when using or signing up for web-based apps, especially if they require you to register. You can learn more about security when using apps from the U. S. Federal Trade Commission:
While we list online resources and smartphone apps, we recognize that websites often change and move and that smartphone apps come and go. We do not endorse any of the websites or apps listed—they are suggestions for beginning your search for what works for you.