It’s summertime, the season of skin, sun, and bbq’s. It is also the time of year when some people scramble to get that summer body that they have been putting off since riiiiiight around Thanksgiving and Christmas. However, for those of us in addiction recovery, maintaining a somewhat healthy lifestyle and wellness of the mind can be a monumental asset in maintaining a flourishing recovery.
The foods that you eat, coupled with frequent physical activity and stimulating mental exercise all play a huge role in your mood and overall well-being from day to day. This trifecta of health pretty much puts good in and gets bad out. Health and wellness affect recovery in a variety of ways.
Stress & Addiction Recovery
Research has shown that people who eat right, exercise, and partake in a hobby that they enjoy are overall happier and have lower levels of stress and wellness in recovery. On the other hand, people who report having diets high in sugars and processed foods, don’t get enough sleep and are “couch potatoes” end up having higher levels of anxiety, stress, and depression.
- It has been proven that people who get an adequate amount of sleep, especially in the REM stage of sleep, wake up feeling more refreshed and energized for the rest of their day. Good quality sleep will have a huge impact on your life. If you’re not getting enough sleep or if you are constantly waking up throughout the night your mood will get hit hard.
- You will be much less agitated, your mental capacity will increase, moderate tasks won’t seem so draining, and keeping thoughts organized and positive will become easier. Make sure you get yourself on a solid sleep schedule, try to go to bed at a similar time each night if possible get at least 6 hours of sleep.
- Now I understand that for many people in early recovery, sleep can be hard if you are still experiencing Post Acute Withdrawals, however, the addition of a healthy diet and regular exercise have been shown to help people fall asleep and stay asleep longer. So if you are prescribed sleeping meds and want to get off, make sure you follow the directions of a doctor but ease the transition with daily exercise to ensure that you are burning up all of that excess energy during the day.
I’m sure we can all admit that hamburgers, pizza, chinese food, and ice cream are pretty much God’s gift to the human race, however, so are vegetables, fruits, and healthy proteins. I’m not telling you to never eat delicious foods because I think that every diet would fail if people were miserable with their food all the time. But I am saying, that it is all about balance. Here are some easy and cheap ways to balance out your diet throughout the week.
- Plan out your meals! For example, on Sunday evening, cook yourself up some delicious chicken breast and veggies, or make a bomb salad with all the fixings, eggs, nuts, cheese, carrots, tomatoes, etc. Eat that sucker for lunch for at least the next three days. On Wednesday night, do it again. Then on Friday and Saturday, live a little.
- Shop smart! When you buy groceries, try to focus on buying ingredients that you can’t just pop in the microwave for 4 minutes and eat, these pre-cooked meals are often stacked with unhealthy fats, carbs, sugars, and pasteurization poisons.
- Shy away from red meats, try instead to focus on chicken, turkey, and fish. Adding in healthy fats such as nuts, vegetables like avocados and sweet potatoes will also really help boost your energy levels and it also just makes you feel better about yourself… it’s weird but it works.
Exercise and Addiction Recovery: For Your Health
Whether you are a gym rat, or you have a deep rooted love for walking along the beach, it doesn’t matter. The goal here is that you are doing SOMETHING. Get that heart pumping and that blood flowing. It is good for your brain, your energy levels, and your mood. Exercise is ABSOLUTELY a form of meditation, and meditation is key in addiction recovery. When we are putting all of our focus on one goal, that is a form of meditation.
So try that sport you have always been interested in, or go out and kick a soccer ball with some friends, do whatever you want, just do it!
Healthy Hobbies in Addiction Recovery:
So many of us used to have a certain hobby that we loved to do before we got into drugs and alcohol, whether it was playing a sport, an instrument, drawing, and painting, singing, dancing, cooking, whatever. Take this time in your life to rekindle that old flame for what made your heart shine, or find something new that does!
Sobriety can be a gift because it makes us whole and human again, and in order to maintain that health and wellness, our recovery needs to flourish just like our minds. So get those brain juices and creativity flowing. You will find that these hobbies can actually be a form of meditation as well.
You don’t need to become a fitness/health nut to be at a comfortable place in your sobriety, but making mindful decisions that will benefit your health and wellness will only help your recovery thrive. The early days of addiction recovery, the first 180 days, are the most important. It helps set a foundation for the rest of your life, making the right decisions on health and wellness during early recovery will create a solid building block for you to expand on for the rest of your life!
If you ever feel stuck, or don’t know how to eat right or how to exercise, do not fear, there are plenty of people in the rooms, especially in South Florida, that are more than willing to help you figure out the right way to get healthy, both bodily, mentally, and spiritually!
Freedom From Addiction
If you have found yourself or a loved one suffering from alcoholism or addiction, you are not alone! If you are ready to change your life and live free of addiction, then Find Addiction Rehabs can help.
Our team of recovery representatives gives you the jump start to recovery you need by aligning you with the right provider to meet your needs among our nationwide, accredited partner facilities. Give yourself a break and reach out now to start your sobriety journey today!
Anna M. joined Find Addiction Rehabs with extensive experience in the field of addiction treatment. As a former Nurse Practitioner in Miami, she found her passion for addiction treatment when a family member was lost to his disease. With each article and resource, she hopes to save other families from experiencing the anguish of a loved one’s passing due to drinking or drugs.