17 Mar The Importance of Living a Healthy Lifestyle During Recovery
Recovery from addiction is not easy and staying sober is a daily battle. However, living a healthy lifestyle during the process increases a person’s chances of remaining sober.
It’s important for recovering addicts to practice a variety of relapse prevention techniques. Adopting a healthy lifestyle is an extremely effective relapse prevention method for any addict. Eating a well-rounded diet, exercising regularly, and maintaining self-care will aid in the prevention of relapse and promote lifelong healthy habits. The following tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle will help addicts during the recovery phase as well as for the rest of their life.
Focus on Nutrition
A well-rounded diet will help rejuvenate the body and replenish essential vitamins and minerals. It is also important for recovering addicts to stay hydrated by drinking enough water throughout the day. When in recovery, nutritious food is one of the most powerful healing tools.
With each meal comes an opportunity to nurture and strengthen the body. Many people who begin a recovery program are malnourished at the time they enter detox. Drugs and alcohol can cause appetite loss, nausea, vomiting, and digestive problems. All of these issues can affect absorption of nutrients in the body.
It is also common for people to start recovery in a state of dehydration. Replacing lost fluids and nutrients is one of the top priorities of a medically managed rehab program.
Food affects mood, and a deficiency of nutrients like folic acid and the other B-complex vitamins can have a serious and negative impact on a person’s state of mind. Sugar and caffeine consumption can contribute to mood swings, so both should be limited during the early stages of recovery.
Another important element to staying healthy is exercising regularly. Not only is exercise good for a person’s body, but it can help to distract the mind from addiction while focusing instead on creating a daily regimen to regain strength and agility.
Newly recovering addicts should consider taking daily jogs around their neighborhood, trying a flexibility or strength training class, or participating in a group sport. Even something as simple as taking daily walks can yield great physical benefits.
Exercise provides many short-term as well as long-term benefits. Increased physical activity elevates the heart rate and stimulates deep breathing, increasing blood flow throughout the body.
Physical activity will also cause the body to release endorphins, which helps in the management of withdrawal symptoms, as it contributes to feelings of wellbeing and happiness.
Get Some Sleep
There are several things that could derail someone’s recovery, and not getting enough sleep is perhaps the most common obstacle recovering addicts face. Researchers have concluded that disruptive sleep patterns have definite links to relapse.
Experts recommend that people should aim to get at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. Creating a sleep pattern and nightly ritual is ideal for a recovering addict. Some people choose to read a book or magazine until they fall asleep. For others, they may find that keeping their bedroom cool and running a fan will help them fall asleep. When people wake up refreshed from a good night’s rest, they are better prepared to tackle the day ahead.
A Daily Purpose
Humans are creatures of habit and thrive on routine. Those newly in recovery are prone to slipping back into addiction when they aren’t keeping busy with new activities. Developing interests that are healthy and recovery-based takes the focus off of daily stress.
It may be difficult at first for those in recovery to find new hobbies. A good place to start is by doing something positive that gets them out of the house or by finding an activity that can potentially benefit them in the long run. This can be simple as journaling or finding a new outdoor hobby.
Besides getting out of the house, developing new interests and hobbies can help take a person’s focus off of their addiction and center it around a healthy lifestyle.
Stress is one of the biggest triggers for relapse during early recovery. Many people in rehab have spent years coping with stress by drinking heavily, taking drugs, or engaging in compulsive behaviors. During treatment, they must learn how to replace these destructive actions with positive, fulfilling activities.
The Bottom Line
Learning to manage stress and stay healthy takes time, patience, and, at times, professional guidance. From the time someone enters detox to the time they complete their rehab program and begin the aftercare phase, it is crucial to make health a top priority by eating nutritious foods, getting regular exercise, and practicing stress management techniques.
There is no doubt that sobriety is a daily struggle and it’s important to keep in mind that living a healthy lifestyle will increase an addict’s chances of staying clean. The more we take care of our bodies, the more they will take care of us.