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Exploring Ways to Boost Recovery and Wellness After Rehab
Life in recovery is as good as you want to make it. With a clean slate and a fresh beginning, the sky’s the limit. Now that you are on the road to a healthy lifestyle, why not improve all aspects of wellness?
In the early days of recovery, it is critical to restore wellness by embracing a healthy lifestyle. While this will mean improving your diet, there is more to wellness than what we eat. A sound mind is also a sign of true wellness in recovery. Because of the close connection between the mind and body, a holistic approach to life in recovery is best.
Holistic health in recovery focuses on nutrition, physical fitness, and emotional wellness. Only when all three of these areas are functioning properly do you experience truly good overall health. Restore your health in early recovery with a new lifestyle that fuses sobriety with the healing power of nutrition, exercise, and mental wellness.
How Substance Addiction Affects the Mind and Body
While in active addiction, most do not bother to take care of their health. Living a healthy lifestyle is not even on the radar usually. Bad eating habits develop, like eating more fast food or processed foods. This can lead to deficiencies in the body’s dietary needs, which can harm the immune system and general health.
Also, people in their addiction often do not get enough sleep and spend less time working out. All of these poor habits can add up and really impact health in the wrong way.
Mental health is also affected by addiction. The daily stress of the substance habit can lead to increased symptoms of anxiety. Also, the fallout from the addiction, like a DUI or loss of a job, and relationship troubles can cause depression to develop.
The mental health struggles only make the addiction worse, and vice versa. The two, addiction and mental health issues, make each other worse.
8 Wellness Dimensions for a Healthy Recovery
When beginning the recovery journey of course it is wise to make sobriety the number one priority. As it should be! Unless you remain firm in sobriety nothing else will work.
However, there are some extra steps you can take to improve your recovery success, just by minding your overall health. Consider these 8 paths to wellness:
Tending to physical health in recovery will benefit every other dimension of wellness. This is because exercise has so many benefits. Getting regular exercise strengthens and tones the muscles and improves stamina.
Exercise causes the brain to release the hormones called endorphins that improve your mood. Working out also produces brain chemicals that help to improve sleep and reduce stress. Start your recovery off with a new fitness plan. Set some fresh goals and strive to reach them daily.
Relationships are central to our happiness. Relating with those close to us in a positive manner creates a sense of belonging and safety. To keep these key relationships healthy, nurture them with time and attention.
Staying connected through text or social media is good, but seeing them in person is better. In recovery, make the effort to visit with special loved ones and friends and enjoy the sense of true connection.
People are happiest when they continue to learn new things. Learning about new topics or taking up a new hobby can nourish the mind and make us feel engaged.
When you master something new or improve an existing skill you gain a sense of self-confidence. Creative activities are also good for the intellect. In recovery, make a list of 3 new things you would like to learn more about.
By improving the way we handle stress we can truly improve our emotional wellness. Emotional wellness is rooted in healthy coping skills. We are all going to face challenges and stressors, but how we manage them is what matters.
Learn how to practice mindfulness in daily life. Mindfulness is a way of shifting away from distracting negative thoughts and turning attention to the present moment. Over time you learn how to manage your reaction to triggers.
It is a reality that we all have to pay our bills in life. Since we need to earn money to pay the bills, the question is, are you happy with your career? It is so very important that we enjoy the work that we do, as that adds to our sense of self-worth and general mood.
Our work should provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment. Think about your job and if it does not satisfy you, make a plan to make a change in the future.
And now, the practical aspect of our lives—our personal finances need to be considered. Financial stress can have a negative impact on our quality of life.
Learning how to better manage household finances will make you feel more secure and stable. This will mean making a monthly budget to help guide financial decisions, and to put money away for the future. Start by slowly reducing debt and at the same time increasing savings.
It is too easy to push our spiritual lives aside. Daily life is so all consuming that it leaves little time to explore our spiritual beliefs. But having a healthy awareness of something greater than ourselves gives us perspective.
Spiritual beliefs are highly individual. In recovery, spend some time in meditation and do some spiritual reading, or keep a gratitude journal. These small efforts can yield new insights on life.
Having a connection to nature is extremely satisfying. We find our senses come alive when we are outdoors. The soft breeze, the smell of the pine trees, and the sound of a stream can all bring much joy.
Nature is a free gift, something for everyone to enjoy at will. Make a plan to explore nature in recovery. Find some new hiking trails or take a road trip to a National Park.
Making a mindful choice to improve your quality of life in recovery will lead to an enhanced state of being.
Learn How to Reduce Stress Naturally
Success in recovery depends a lot on your ability to manage stress. Stress is a common trigger for relapse, so learning how to lower stress levels is key. There are many ways this can be done naturally. Try these methods:
- Herbal supplements. Try melatonin, valerian root, kava kava, or L-thiamine to induce calm.
- Meditation. Use free guided imagery tracks available on smartphone apps. The soothing voice of the practitioner will guide you to a quiet, peaceful place.
- Yoga. Yoga combines both physical exertion and mindfulness to bring about a sense of serenity.
- Deep breathing. By practicing controlled breathing exercises you are able to quickly lower heart rate and respiratory rate to feel relaxed.
- Massage. A relaxation massage, called Swedish massage, can help release muscle tension and toxins. This brings about a deep sense of relaxation.
Sound Sleep Strategies
Without quality sleep it is hard to achieve the renewed wellbeing desired in recovery. Good sleep is so important to our daily functioning. Without enough sleep we struggle with low energy, have trouble concentrating, and walk around in a bad mood.
Make it a daily goal to get 7-8 hours of sound sleep. Set your circadian rhythm with a daily schedule where you go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. Other sleep strategies include:
- Avoid caffeine after mid-afternoon
- Turn off electronic devices an hour before bedtime
- Avoid heavy meals after 7pm
- Sip chamomile tea
- Take a warm bath with lavender oil
- Get a white noise machine
- Use a sleep mask or blackout curtains
- Read a book for a half hour before bedtime
You Are What You Eat
Improving physical wellness in recovery means replenishing lost nutrients and boosting the immune system. This doesn’t mean you can never enjoy a hamburger or cookie now and then, it just means putting health first. Commit to a diet that is rich in these foods for better overall health:
- Lean proteins. These include turkey, lean cuts of grass-fed beef, and chicken, eggs, Greek yogurt, and edamame.
- Omega-3 fatty acids. Foods include fatty fish like salmon, mackerel, sardines, anchovies, shrimp, trout, and tuna, as well as chia seeds, walnuts, olive oil, flaxseeds, soybeans, eggs, hemp seeds, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts.
- Whole grains. Whole grain foods include oats, brown rice, buckwheat, quinoa, corn, whole wheat breads and pastas, and whole-wheat couscous.
- Fruits and vegetables. Leafy greens, such as kale and spinach, carrots, cucumber, and fresh fruits, such as oranges, apples, grapefruit, kiwi, and berries.
- Nuts and legumes. These include raw nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, and peanuts, and red beans, peas, and lentils
- Supplements. Nutritional supplements can help correct imbalances that resulted from substance use. These might include thiamine, folic acid, zinc, selenium, iron, vitamin A, B-complex vitamins, and vitamin C supplements.
Mental Wellness by Ken Seeley is a Wellness Center in Palm Springs
Mental Wellness by Ken Seeley helps individuals in need of addiction treatment and coexisting mental health conditions launch their recovery. Mental health conditions treated at Mental Wellness KS include depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, and personality disorders.
The dual diagnosis program offers comprehensive addiction treatment and sober living housing. Call Mental Wellness KS today for more details about our program at (888) 312-4262.