G.R.A.P.E.S - A Daily Exercise

One of the best tools my therapist gave me as we worked on my trauma recovery, and road to health and healing, was a worksheet titled “GRAPES.” It was an acronym for five things to do each day to make sure you’re remaining balanced and in harmony with work, play, stress, and rest.

G~ Be gentle with yourself & your expectations. Find something that brings you peace and reassurance. Something that lets you know you’re going to be ok, you’re doing great. This can be a self-help book, being in nature on a walk or hike, or connecting in your faith and higher power.

R~ Find a moment of relaxation in your day. This can be a short five minute meditation, a bubble bath, a cup of tea, or a good book… something that calms your mind and brings down anything that may have overwhelmed you. This is your time to rest your body, mind, and soul.

A~ Accomplish one thing per day. This could look like making a healthy meal, folding a basket of laundry, completing a work assignment, or grocery shopping. What I found was I was accomplishing about 10 different things per day- mopping floors, vacuuming, dusting, cooking, work, driving kids to school, etc, and I was on overload. My brain and body were moving a mile a minute. Just start with one accomplishment, build from there, but don’t overload your day with overachieving. Most of my days were in this category, and I had zero in the “Gentle With Self” or “Pleasure” category. 

P~ Do one thing that brings you pleasure and makes you happy. For me, it was at the end of the day watching a funny sitcom like “Mom” or “Mike & Molly.” That was my time to put my feet up, and do something for myself that required no brain power or physical exertion. When I had more energy, paddleboarding would creep in, or having a BBQ. This one was the hardest for me to put back into my routines. Holding yourself accountable for your happiness is your job- no one else’s.

E~ Try to exercise for 30-60 min per day. When you’re in the thick of your loved one’s addiction, this piece may be overwhelming due to time and lack of energy. Something as simple as taking the stairs instead of the elevator will suffice. However, for all the “fitness fanatics” like I was at the time, I made exercise my “pleasure.” This is fine sometimes, but when you make exercise all you do, and forget other things that bring you pleasure, you may be missing out on the harmony of life.

S~ Do one thing social everyday; this can be a text, coffee with a friend, a phone call. Make sure you’ve surrounded yourself with positive people. We become most like the five people we hang around the most. Not everyday can we make time to be social, but even a simple text to a friend will keep the social relationships we need as humans to remain connected. Especially after over a year of Covid, we all now know, more than ever, the importance of social connectivity.

As the Partner of the Addict or Alcoholic, You May Be In the Habit of Doing It All

G.R.A.P.E.S. If you need more balance or harmony in your life, try it. Just start each day for a week and make a chart, that’s what I did. Eventually, it became commonplace and a habit. It made me realize all the areas of my life I was overloading, and other areas I was neglecting. Especially as the partner or family member of the addict or alcoholic, you may find you too were in the habit of doing it all- accomplishing so much, and doing nothing for yourself. You’ve earned not only the chance to prioritize yourself and your health, but the opportunity to find joy and peace.

VoicesInCourage.com is filled with resources like this to help you get back on track with your daily life and routines. Join our community, and become a part of the movement toward healing at VoicesInCourage.com. Launching Fall 2021.