For young people who are in recovery from drug addiction, getting sober isn’t easy. Incorporating healthy lifestyle habits into your daily life can not only promote your physical health, but it can also provide healthy outlets for relieving stress and anxiety that you might be suffering from. Here are four healthy habits that are proven to increase your chances of maintaining long-term sobriety.
1. Physical Fitness
When in active addiction, people tend to neglect their physical health. A person with substance use issues typically focuses more on obtaining and using drugs rather than participating in physical fitness. In early sobriety it is completely normal to experience feelings of restlessness, lethargy, and a general lack of motivation, but exercise can help to alleviate these symptoms.
Any kind of physical activity causes endorphins to be released in the brain, resulting in a euphoric feeling which helps get rid of drug cravings that are so common in early sobriety. Regular exercise is proven to increase the chances of people who suffer from addiction in maintaining long-term sobriety as it is commonly used as a relapse prevention tool.
Fitness doesn’t necessarily mean going to the gym every day and doing high-intensity workouts. It can simply mean going for a short walk around your neighborhood, swimming, or biking. These activities can provide stress relief as well as an effective way to boost your energy levels by increasing blood flow and oxygen to the brain. In addition, exercise can provide relief to feelings of restlessness, which can be daunting while in early recovery.
People with substance use disorders tend to suffer from vitamin deficiencies and malnutrition due to the effects of substance abuse on the body. It is common for people in early recovery to crave sweets. Sweets release similar chemicals in the body that drugs do, so junk food can easily become an addiction as well. Fruits such as mango, strawberries, or kiwi serve as a substitute to help stop sugar cravings and they are good for your metabolism too! Another thing that will help curb these cravings is eating frequent, small meals consisting of carbohydrates, vitamins, and protein throughout the day, because it allows blood sugar levels to remain high.
A nutritious diet is essential in substance abuse recovery because nutrients and vitamins help the body thrive and prevent feelings of depression and worthlessness that are regularly felt by people in recovery. Healthy eating habits lead to enhanced mood and increased energy levels, which reduces the chances of a relapse. Combining physical fitness with a nutritional diet, can help provide a more motivated, energetic outlook on life. People in recovery don’t just want sobriety, they also deserve to be happy and healthy.
3. Experiential Therapies
Since individuals in sobriety can no longer use drugs to cope with life situations, it is important to find new coping mechanisms. Experiential therapies consist of activities that are therapeutic in nature but don’t involve speaking to a therapist about trauma or feelings. Instead, it allows a way for people to express themselves through activities such as yoga, art, or music.
Yoga is a great way to allow the mind to relax and relieve the body of stress. It can be hard to focus on feelings of anxiety or stress when one is being challenged to hold new positions and focus on deep breathing. If somebody is struggling with putting their emotions into words, art and music are great ways to express emotions without the fear of judgement from others. Other forms of experiential therapy include horseback riding, creative writing, or taking a nature walk. All of these activities can be beneficial to one’s mind and body in recovery from substance abuse.
4. Support Groups
Recovering addicts may experience loneliness and feel as though they don’t fit in with others because they are “different”. Finding a support group, whether it be a 12 step fellowship, a group of individuals who lift each other up and love one another, or an online group of recovering addicts, can show people that they are not alone in their struggles.
Support groups also provide a safe place to talk with others who also have substance use disorders. There, people have the opportunity to hold one another accountable, share experiences with each other, and provide advice to those who need it. Aside from being an informational resource, they also promote building relationships with others which provides a sense of belonging.
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