Overcoming your addiction isn’t just about walking away from substances. It’s about gaining the tools to maintain your sobriety while improving your physical health and your mental health. It includes holistic approaches that blend healthy living and drug recovery.
The first step is to face your drug and alcohol addiction head on through comprehensive substance abuse treatment. When you follow that by building a strong foundation for a healthier lifestyle, you are more likely to experience long term recovery. Let’s look at 3 essential tips to help you prioritize your health and your addiction recovery.
Tip #1: Build a foundation with nutrition
Giving your body the fuel and nourishment it needs is a crucial part of protecting your overall health. In fact, “the majority of premature death and disability is preventable with a healthy enough diet.” But when you’re facing drug or alcohol addiction, proper nutrition plays an even more vital role to your health and to your long term recovery.
Fueling your body with proper nourishment helps to lower your risk to use drugs or alcohol again. Eating right not only improves your physical health; it improves your mental health as well. When you feel better, you want to do better. That simple switch in mood and perspective may be the first stepping stone in recovering from addiction.
Nutrition therapy or intervention may be a necessary part of your treatment plan. By giving your body the foods and hydration it needs, you can unlock your substance abuse healing process, restore your health and improve your chance at recovery. Your treatment specialists and healthcare team can go over this approach with you more thoroughly. They can also design nutrition plans for you to help you tackle any nutrient deficiencies that can lead to:
- low energy
- other triggers that may cause you to start using drugs or alcohol again
When you’re ready to improve your eating habits, stick to these guidelines:
- Follow a regular meal schedule every day.
- Aim for at least 3 small meals a day.
- Eat foods that are low in fat and high in complex carbohydrates and fiber.
- Incorporate more plant-based options into your diet every day.
- Avoid processed food with artificial ingredients that can make you feel tired.
- Swap out snacks like chips for whole food options such as fruits and veggies.
- Plan meals and snacks in advance to help you stay on track.
- Limit or avoid your caffeine intake.
- Take vitamin and mineral supplements to aid in your during recovery, including B-complex, zinc, and vitamins A and C. Please discuss which supplements to take with your addiction specialist and healthcare team first.
Tip #2: Develop a consistent routine for physical activity
Treating your body to a consistent workout routine is becoming an increasingly popular component of treating addiction. We all know that physical activity can help us lose weight, gain muscle and improve our overall health. But according to medical research it can also “partially activate the reward circuitry, possibly decreasing cravings” of drugs and alcohol.
Fighting your addiction is hard. Stress will undoubtedly overwhelm you at times and leave you at risk of relapse. Exercise can be a powerful stress reliever. It has the power to renew your connection between mind and body, helping you take the edge off while battling for your sobriety.
You’re likely to have quite a bit on your plate in your addiction recovery. Making time to include exercise in your treatment plan doesn’t mean you have to be in the gym every single day. The CDC recommends the “equivalent of 150 to 300 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes to 5 hours) of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity each week” for adults from 18-64.
Here are a few ideas you can use to incorporate it into your life:
- Go for a walk. Aim to go a bit further each day. Think of each step you take as another step away from your addiction.
- Take a class at a local fitness center or at your treatment facility. From rowing to HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts to kickboxing, many fitness centers have a variety of classes for beginners.
- Use objects like books or water jugs for a strength training workout at home.
- Try yoga to relieve stress and to gain strength and flexibility. You can try this at home with an online routine for beginners.
Developing a consistent fitness routine won’t resolve your addiction, but more and more addiction treatment programs are incorporating exercise as a powerful stepping stone to help you in your fight. It may be just what you need to give you the confidence you need to keep up the fight and take back your life.
Tip #3: Seek out effective ways to manage your stress
The term “stress” is tossed around quite a bit. Each of us deal with stress to some extent, so it can be easy to discount the impact it has on us. It can be particularly damaging if you are fighting addiction. If you don’t have a healthy outlet to manage it, it can increase your chances of a relapse.
Develop a stress management plan with the following in mind:
- The physical signs of your stress
- The mental and emotional signs of your stress
- Things that are likely to occur to cause you to stress
- Relaxing activities you can partake in without drugs and alcohol
- Activities you enjoy to distract you from stress
Then make a list of your go-to activities that can help you blow off some steam. This list may include:
- Practicing mindfulness
- Trying a new hobby
- Listening to music
- Writing and/or reading
- Reaching out to loved ones
- Talking to a support group
- Volunteering your time to a cause you’re passionate about
- Exploring a new city, hiking trail or local park
Fill your list with activities that resonate with you and that will leave your mind and body more connected and at peace. Learning to manage your stress while fighting your addiction can be challenging. But once you have a stress management plan that works for you, you’ll be one more step ahead in your recovery.
We can help you
At The Blackberry Center, you will have the opportunity to examine healthy living and drug recovery in our state-of-the-art facilities.
If you or one of your loved ones is struggling with substance abuse problems, we can help. We use a personalized approach to addiction treatment. Our focus is on treating the disease, not the symptoms. We put our patients first every step of the way.
Our substance abuse-only treatment programs include detox, residential and partial hospitalization program. Our on-site rehab programs focus on a comprehensive recovery approach. They address your physical, mental and spiritual needs for optimal wellness. Your needs are unique. We treat you as such.
Reach out for help today
You may be struggling with long-term drug addiction. Or you may be fighting strong temptations to abuse drugs or alcohol. We can meet you where you are in your fight for sobriety.
We welcome you to our treatment center. From support groups to individual therapy treatment options, we are here to fight the battle with you.
Reach out to us online today. You can also call us at 888-512-9802.
Susan Gail Taylor is a content creator focusing on the addiction, health, fitness and mental health arenas. She earned a Master of Arts degree as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Professional and Technical Writing and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. She is passionate about animals, whole food plant-based nutrition, fitness and creating valuable content with featuring actionable steps. In her free time, Susan enjoys life and adventures with her husband Nathan and their two dogs Tallon and Kane. She also dedicates time to running, yoga, hiking and biking.