Learning to Live a Healthier Life During Addiction Recovery
While addiction recovery is often the key to getting our lives back on track, it is no secret that it can be exhausting and take a physical and emotional toll. If you find yourself struggling to thrive during this time, don’t give up. There are plenty of ways to contribute to your recovery:
Re-Enter the Workforce
Don’t rush heading back to work if you’re not ready, but if you are, getting your career back on track can be a huge boost to your self-worth and bolster your sobriety journey. If returning to your former job isn’t an option, the first step you’ll need to take is updating your resume. Thanks to the internet, this is easier than ever. You can use a resume builder (like this one) that will take you through the entire process step by step. When you’re ready to start applying for jobs, use your resources — friends, family members and former colleagues may know of something that would be a great fit for you. When you land an interview, be confident, and stay focused on your accomplishments, not your hardships. After all, you’ve gained unique perspective from your experiences in the workforce and with substance abuse, and while you don’t have to open up about your past regrets, you can use them to inspire you to put your best foot forward in the next chapter of your career.
Recovery can be stressful. Stress itself can increase the risk of relapse. One effective way to lower stress is to get outdoors. If time is spent regularly outside, our cortisol levels drop. Being surrounded by nature can actually lower our heart rates as well. It boosts your amount of vitamin D by exposure to sunlight. It’s not only good for our bodies, but can help our minds find peace. Being in nature may lower stress. It can help us to refocus on what’s actually important, like our loved ones, our well-being and so much more. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, don’t turn to something destructive, and don’t try to simply shrug off your feelings. Go outside and get to the nearest park. Spend time relaxing, walking, going for a jog — whatever it is you enjoy doing in nature. If you keep the practice up, you may find yourself less stressed overall.
Another fantastic way to feel better mentally, physically and emotionally is to get regular exercise. You’ll often see an immediate effect on anxiety and stress by stepping back from a situation and doing a workout, but it can also have long-term benefits. The boost in feel-good chemicals in the brain can give us sustained positive moods, and help combat depression or clinical anxiety. If you have noticed that your self-confidence has taken a dive, working out can assist you in improving your self-image.
One of the reasons many people experience addiction is due to brain chemistry. Dopamine, known as the pleasure chemical, is an important part of recovery. When we have a deficit, we may seek ways to stimulate it via external sources, such as overeating, consuming sugar or using drugs or alcohol. However, working out can create steady levels of this chemical, helping to stop cravings. Additionally, if you find yourself in the throes of a craving, exercising may help you refocus and stop feeling that urge.
Many in recovery may find themselves experiencing depression or low moods. As a supplement to treatment, a healthy diet can help to stabilize emotions. While diet cannot act as a cure for depression and other mental health issues, it can help. There is no one specific diet that is recommended — simply make healthy food choices. This means loading up on whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and healthy proteins, such as fish and nuts. Focus less on calorie control and more on the quality of what you consume. Eating at regular intervals and ensuring that you’re noshing on healthy snacks between meals can help keep your moods stable and your body energized. This can be invaluable during addiction recovery.
Benefits of Hobbies
One thing we may lose during addiction is structure. Starting a hobby is one way to help you re-learn how to structure your life and your time. If you have unscheduled free time, you may be at a loss for what to do. Boredom can wreak havoc on our lives and encourage unhealthy habits. By practicing a hobby, you will have less unstructured time, which can encourage healthy activities. If you take the time to plan out your day, scheduling in meal prep, exercise, your new hobby, and time spent outdoors, you may no longer find yourself tempted with unhealthy practices simply because you will no longer have the time. A hobby may also lower your stress when you feel agitated.
There are many ways to improve your condition. With a job you love, the right amount of exercise, some time outdoors and more focus on finding happiness, you may be able to get your life back on track. This is your time to thrive and live your best life.