Formerly Incarcerated: How to Maintain Healthy Habits

Formerly Incarcerated: How to Maintain Healthy Habits

After recently being released from jail or prison, it's not always easy to adjust back to normal life. This is especially true for those who've spent several years of their lives incarcerated. After so many years in either jail or prison, an incarcerated person learns how to adapt and build a life behind bars. 

When the formerly incarcerated are then brought back into society, it can take some adjusting before they're able to find success outside of prison or jail. If you've recently been released from prison or jail, then it's important to know a few healthy habits to incorporate into your new life. Use these healthy habits to build a successful life for yourself. 

Continue reading the guide below for a list of ways you can maintain healthy habits! 

Know Your Resources

The first thing you want to do after being released from prison or jail is know your resources. Where can you go for help with various topics? As you transition into your new life of freedom, there are a few things you might need to look into. 

Of course, this will all depend on your unique situation. However, there are a few common areas of life that the formerly incarcerated need a helping hand with. For example, you might need assistance finding a new job, finding housing, purchasing new clothes, and more.

Always know where you can go for a variety of resources and re-entry toolkits. If you have a probation officer, then be sure to speak with them about available resources. 

Get Involved in Your Community

You then want to get involved in your community in a positive light. When you volunteer for an organization, join a sports team, become a member of the church, or join a professional club, it gives you a sense of belonging. This is also a great way to build a social life and a support team without even realizing you're doing it. 

The relationships you build in the community can also lead to new job opportunities while keeping you busy and giving you something to hold yourself accountable for. 

Build a Strong Support System

Adjusting to life outside of prison isn't as simple as one might suspect it to be. There will be many things you need to adjust to and having a strong support system will help you manage it. The support system you build can start with friends and family members with good intentions, but don't start there.

It's also beneficial to join a local support group as well. Find a support group that specifically helps those who are adjusting to life outside of prison. Here, you'll find other individuals who are going through the exact same struggles as you. 

You can also share experiences, relate to one another, and be introduced to other helpful resources when attending these support groups. 

Start Forming a Plan

If you don't already have a plan, then now is a great time to start forming one. What are some of the biggest hurdles you expect to be faced with? How will you overcome these hurdles? 

Sit down and take some time to write out a plan that addresses all possible problems and solutions. Once you have a plan written out, you can then determine what steps need to be made to ensure you follow your plan accordingly. For example, how will you get to your probation officer's appointments each week?

Is public transportation an option? How much will it cost you to get there and back each day and how will you earn the money to do so? What are some employers that hire the formerly incarcerated? 

Make a list of these employment opportunities and start making some phone calls. A Plan can help you stay organized and motivated.

Prepare For Culture Shock

Do prepare for culture shock. The longer you were in prison, the greater the culture shock might be. Many things can change over the course of several years. 

You'll see major changes in technology and communication. It's not uncommon to need some time to adjust to the new normal. Prepare for these differences and don't hesitate to ask for help or advice when needed.

Learn to Resist Negative Influences

Think about the circle of people you were around when you were first sent to jail or prison. Although you're the only person responsible for the decisions you made, it's beneficial to steer clear of these negative influences. This is a difficult task for many individuals, especially if you're living in your old neighborhood again.

Prevent yourself from falling back into the same cycle that got you locked up to begin with. You can still remain on good terms with people without needing to place yourself around them.

Tackle Your Depression

If you're suffering from depression after being released from prison, then know you're not alone. This isn't uncommon and there are people who are willing to help you. Don't become a victim of your own depression. 

Instead, learn how to tackle it. Find a local therapist and begin therapy sessions. Speaking to a professional can help you relieve some of the weight on your shoulders and offer you a safe place to speak freely about your past and current situation.

It's also beneficial to seek addiction treatment if suffering from drug addiction. Get the help now rather than waiting until after a relapse. These professionals can not only help you stay healthy, but they can also offer you a variety of other resources as well.

The Formerly Incarcerated Can Ease Back Into Society

Although the transition into life outside of prison is difficult at times, the formerly incarcerated can ease back into society with all the right healthy habits. Use the information given in the guide above to help you create a new, healthy routine for yourself. Don't forget to always know what resources are available to you as well.

Looking for more helpful tips on how to manage life after prison? Click here for tips for a smooth re-entry process.