Addiction recovery can feel incredibly challenging if you are not sure where to begin. There are plenty of old or unhealthy ways of thinking that have impacted your habits and new, healthy ones will need to be introduced for you to get better.
Psychological treatment is the best first step towards a healthy recovery, and you can make the most of your treatment by creating a strong wellness routine along the way. Taking your time and experimenting with habits at your own pace can improve your recovery, whether it is by increasing your energy levels or your confidence that you can create real change.
How To Stay Healthy During Addiction Recovery?
If you are new to your addiction recovery, explore these ideas to make the most of your journey to wellness.
Cook Your Own Meals
Cooking your own meals is a powerful way to replenish the nutrition in your body after recovering from alcoholism. Alcohol impacts the body in damaging ways and can even lead to major complications such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Because of the malnutrition alcoholism can contribute to, eating healthy is one of the fastest ways to help your body physically recover. You will want to eat as many whole foods as possible to improve your blood pressure and restore the vitamins and minerals in your brain to optimal levels. You can also consult with your doctor to take vitamins as needed if there is a major deficiency.
Healthy ingredients to cook in your homemade meals include:
- Dark leafy greens such as lettuce, kale, or spinach
- Whole grains such as brown rice
- Plant proteins such as quinoa, flax seeds, and fortified plant milk
- Healthy fats such as olive oil, peanut butter, and chia seeds
- Herbs such as turmeric, basil, cumin, and ginger
Meditation is an effective method for keeping track of your emotions and mental health patterns throughout your addiction recovery. Not only does meditating impact major organs such as your heart and brain, but it is also a convenient habit to introduce to your recovery if you have not already. There are so many new emotions and difficult thought patterns to rethink during treatment that you may simply need the time to take a step back, breathe, and process them while meditating. The practice can also lessen some anxiety or depression that often are a risk for newly recovering alcoholics. Meditation is also a great alternative coping mechanism if you have relied on alcohol to “numb” emotions in the past.
Easy ways to incorporate meditation into your routine include:
- Downloading guided meditation apps
- Attending mindfulness classes or workshops
- Deep breathing during stressful moments
- Setting aside time to meditate before bed
Getting involved with your community through fitness and other activities is a healthy way to “crowd” out previous unhealthy behaviors. Recovering alcoholics often lament that their previous social life contributed to their addiction, with bars and social gatherings being their main point of contact with others. By reintroducing healthy socializing into your lifestyle, you can stay busy and grow your support system at the same time. A busy schedule also helps reduce boredom and “slipping back” into the old lifestyle that supported your addiction. Your friends deeply impact your choices, so surround yourself with positive people that support your healthiest recovery. You may even meet someone else who is in recovery who you can help similarly.
A 2018 study published in the Frontiers in Sociology stated that people can control their choices and conduct by making a commitment to others, by making behavioral changes by recognizing that certain actins have costly consequences, and by re-writing the story of who they are.
Get involved with your community by:
- Supporting events by mental health organizations
- Taking a new group fitness class
- Volunteering for charities
- Attending support groups for others in recovery
Consider Organic Detoxing
You can clear the clutter in your own lifestyle if it helps you recover in a healthier way. Taking a holistic approach to your treatment may mean visiting a clinical detox center with trained professionals to support you in withdrawal, or it could simply mean upgrading your intake of food. The level of detox your lifestyle requires completely depends on the support you need during treatment. By limiting the chemicals and processed ingredients going into your body early on, you can improve your overall health and energy levels during recovery. Your mental health will also improve, as processed foods often lead to brain fog and loss of focus.
Creative and healthy ways to detox include:
- Shopping for organic foods and limiting processed ingredients
- Sticking to water and tea as your main beverages
- Attending a sauna or another supervised wellness service
- Clearing your home of temptations or unhealthy possessions
Incorporating fitness into your recovery allows you to boost your mood and overall mental health on a regular basis. Low energy and malnutrition are common symptoms of long term alcoholism as it affects your calorie processing and need for energy. Bringing movement back into your lifestyle creates a new baseline for your energy intake and can even regulate your hunger levels back to a normal level. Additionally, releasing endorphins will create immediate activity in the brain which can make you happier and more focused in the moment. Your movement routine can be built in a way that works with your recovery, so consult with your treatment provider about finding the right place.
Easy ways to move more include:
- Walking or running
- Stretching before bed or after workouts
- Attending a new fitness class
- Swimming or yoga
- Weight training and lifting
Rest and Recharge
Sleep deprivation due to alcoholism can impact your short and long term mental health by interrupting your sleep routine and damaging your energy during the day. Since sleep and mental health are so dependent on each other, do your best to prioritize getting rest throughout your recovery. According to a 2017 study published in the Lancet, a single-blind, randomized controlled trial conducted at 26 UK universities showed that insomnia was responsible for paranoia and other mental health conditions.
If your sleep quality is good, you’ll find yourself feeling more positive during the day, more energized to keep up with your fitness routine, more focused to work through your emotions in treatment, and more motivated to eat healthy meals. Thinking about rest in terms of your mental health may inspire you to place it higher in your wellness priorities than you did before. Building a healthy sleep routine certainly takes time as it is a habit just like the rest of your lifestyle, but it is worth experimenting with until you find the best rhythm for you. Do your best to get 7-8 hours each night, especially since recovery can be so mentally draining if you are just beginning.
Try these methods of building a great evening routine:
- Disconnect from devices at least an hour before bed
- Refrain from eating after 7 p.m. if possible
- Use essential oils to enhance your relaxation
- Meditate or journal if you are overly stressed
- Buy blackout curtains or an eye mask to support easy rest
Recovery from alcoholism is far more successful when you can build your new lifestyle on the foundation of habits you love. When you take the time to understand what makes you feel good, you are more likely to stick with your new routine rather than return to your old behaviors. The habits you form early on in recovery can be at your own pace, so do your best to experiment and try new ideas. Your body and mind will thank you for working hard to feel your absolute best during one of the most critical journeys of your life.