Now that you’ve done the first part and arguably the bravest of it all, which is accepting that you need to beat addiction, by now, you already know how difficult the struggle can be. Hence, you might be aiming at total abstinence. Without bursting your bubble, it’s important that you know that relapse happens often.
Addiction is a chronic condition, meaning that it’s more persuasive, and sometimes in those persuasive moments, a recovering addict might either slip or have a full relapse. However, does this mean they have failed in their recovery journey? Not at all.
If anything, sometimes relapsing helps reinforce your resolve to recover.
As mentioned earlier, relapses are common for recovering addicts, and you shouldn’t feel like you’re alone. Being part of a community like Jacksonhouserehab.com helps to make overcoming addiction and recovering easier.
Even better, there are some ways you can enhance your recovery journey to reduce the likelihood of relapse. One of these ways is adopting a healthy lifestyle that’s mindful of your wellness.
Healthy living has proven to have immense benefits for your physical and mental health, which are vital in your journey to overcoming the temptation to indulge in substance abuse.
Does this already spike your interest? Great, because here are five health and wellness habits you can use to better your addiction recovery journey.
1- Eat Healthy Nutritious Foods
First, when you’re addicted to a drug, you experience side effects that affect your eating habits, including losing appetite when abusing cocaine and other opiates, vomiting, diarrhea, and malnutrition in critical situations. Helping your body through your diet is arguably the most fundamental step to starting your recovery journey.
On the other hand, the process of flushing out the drugs from your system is often very harsh on your body. It’s therefore common for people to become dehydrated during a detox due to the loss of fluids and insufficient electrolytes in their system.
All this damage to your body has to be reversed before your body can even start adjusting to a life without drugs. The way to heal your body is through a healthy diet. Here’s why:
- As mentioned before, your body needs first to heal so that it can generate the energy needed to carry you through recovery. This is both physical and emotional energy. You’ll later see that you’ll need the energy to stay physically healthy.
- According to a study, poor nutrition leads to poor physical and psychological health, which may impair your ability to resist relapsing.
- You are what you eat. What you consume directly dictates how you feel. If you take in sugary foods, you’ll have a short burst of energy due to induced dopamine levels in your brain.
- The digestive system has neurotransmitters known as serotonin that send chemical signals to your brain, dictating your mood based on your food. For recovering addicts and addicts in general, their emotions and moods are a big determinant of whether they’ll indulge in drugs.
When you’re feeling depressed and in low moods, you may decide to indulge in drugs with a euphoric effect, such as amphetamine, to help lift your moods. You, therefore, have to ensure that the type of food you eat promotes your psychological health.
Now that you understand the importance of a nutritious diet to a recovering addict, here are some of the healthy diet tips you can implement:
Avoid Sugary Foods
When you consume alcohol, your body breaks the alcohol down into sugar, which raises your blood sugar levels. Therefore, when you’re recovering from addiction, the sugar levels in your blood go down, increasing your cravings for sugary foods.
While most people tend to justify this addiction by saying that you can replace one addiction with another since the sugar addiction isn’t harmful, it’s not always true.
Addiction to sugary foods can delay your recovery and sometimes lead you to a relapse.
As aforementioned, when your sugar levels fluctuate, it affects your moods by increasing your anxiety. When you’re anxious, you’ll look for something to calm you down. And when deep breaths and other safer means don’t work, you may be triggered to resort to abusing drugs.
Drugs affect the limbic system, a part of your brain responsible for processing emotions. So, when you take the drug, it will ease the anxiety and replace it with a high, and you’ll have a relapse. You most definitely want to avoid sugar in your diet.
You should add caffeine to the list of foods to avoid during recovery. Caffeine has the same effect on your brain as sugar does. It boosts your sugar levels, therefore, affecting your moods.
It’s also one of the foods that’s used as a replacement for drug abuse. However, if you’re seeking a less rocky recovery journey, you’ve got to steer clear of coffee and other caffeinated drinks.
Eat More Proteins
Proteins contain amino acids that help boost hormone production, which controls your moods. Besides, as discussed before, your body is beaten down and your immune system is compromised by the time you’re recovering.
Most cells in the immune system are made of proteins. Therefore, you need to take more proteins to strengthen your immune system.
Add More Fruits And Vegetables To Your Diet
During malnutrition due to drug abuse, your body loses some important vitamins, such as vitamin D. Vitamin D regulates the absorption of thiamine, an important nutrient for the health of your brain. One of the ways to restore these vitamins is by adding more vegetables and fruits to your diet.
Another lost nutrient is vitamin B, which helps your body produce energy from food that’s used to help you recover. Consider adding leafy vegetables such as kale and others like broccoli and potatoes. Bananas and berries are some of the best fruits you should consider adding to your meal.
In severe situations, you’ll have to take vitamin supplements to top up what you’re getting from your diet. However, you can only do this based on a prescription from a nutritionist. Other healthy eating habits include:
- Drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated.
- Have a regular schedule for your meals and snacks.
- Schedule your meals at least five hours apart.
- Avoid food that has a lot of calories, such as junk food. This particular tip will come in handy when you’re trying to lose all the weight gained from a high appetite due to abusing marijuana.
- Always eat a balanced diet. Eating sufficient carbohydrates helps to avoid hunger, mainly associated with people recovering from drug abuse. A balanced diet is also good for your health.
That said, the best way to incorporate a nutritious diet and healthy eating habits is by seeking the guidance of a dietician or nutritionist. They’ll study your eating habits and develop a plan that will be easier for you to adopt and benefit you.
Just like eating a nutritious diet, exercising improves your physical and mental health. Therefore, it’s a good habit to pick up to supplement the benefits of eating a nutritious meal. Additionally, research has found a positive impact between exercising and reducing depression and anxiety.
Due to the effect of substance abuse on the lymphatic system, you may have mood swings during recovery. However, if there’s a chance that you can alienate depression and anxiety, which are big triggers for relapsing, then you should take it. Exercising can help you reduce depression and anxiety.
Here’re some tips to help you take up exercising.
Exercise Outside: This gives you a chance to reconnect with nature, which helps calm your mind and improves your mental health.
Join A Group: Working out isn’t easy, even when you’re not a recovering addict. Therefore, you need all the support and motivation you can get. One of the best ways to do this is by joining a community of people that are working out.
Start Slowly: As mentioned before, working out isn’t easy. Experts recommend that you start small and set milestones. This motivates you to keep going and avoid discouragement from trying difficult workouts too early.
Vary Your Activities: Creating a workout routine can help build a sense of accountability to show up every day as required by the schedule. However, even as you create a program, it’s essential that you take up different activities to avoid boredom.
3- Create Proper Sleeping Habits
Sleep disturbance is already part of a recovery journey. Therefore, it’s your responsibility to cultivate good sleeping habits that will help you beat some of these disturbances.
Lack of enough sleep causes you to be irritable, cranky, mentally unclear, and unmotivated. Unfortunately, all these moods and emotions affect your mental health negatively, which may lead to relapsing.
Prolonged abuse of drugs affects your nervous system, causing neurobiological dysfunction. One of the impacts of this dysfunction is sleep disturbance. That means you either can’t get into a deep slumber, hence your sleep quality is low, or you can only sleep for a short time.
Also, it’s common for recovering addicts to experience insomnia during the withdrawal stage of recovery. Consider implementing some of these tips to help you build a healthy sleeping habit.
Avoid napping during the day and save the sleep for bed time.
Set a consistent time to sleep and get up. A sleep schedule preconditions your mind to seek sleep when it’s time to rest.
Avoid caffeinated drinks before bedtime. Caffeine is known to stimulate the mind to be alert, so it can cause insomnia if consumed before bedtime.
4- Learn Healthy Ways To Manage Stress
Stress can manifest in different ways, including anxiety over a problem, depression, or anger, to mention but a few. However, for recovering addicts, these stresses may seem more pronounced, especially since they don’t have their usual solution—drugs. As a recovering addict, if you don’t find ways to manage your stress in a healthy way, you may easily return to abusing drugs as a stress reliever.
Most people start taking drugs as a way to cope with their stress. It’s common to hear people say that they’re drowning their worries in alcohol.
However, there isn’t any scientific evidence that abusing drugs solves problems or manages stress. The only thing it does is postpone the stress. You’ll still have to deal with the situation when you sober up. In this cycle of poorly managing your stress, people end up getting addicted to drugs.
Learning how to manage stress in a healthy way doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time and is best done under an expert’s guidance, such as that of a therapist. However, there are some small steps that you can take to make the process easier. These steps include:
- Music Therapy
- Use journaling to express your feelings
- Drawing and painting
All these activities listed above have something in common: they help you process your psychological behavior better. By doing any of these activities, you shift the focus from your stress to your workout.
Shifting the focus from stress relieves some pressure and anxiety about getting a solution. You also get to buy time to get a new perspective on whatever is stressing you.
Besides, activities like yoga have scientifically been found to decrease your body’s production of stress hormones. It also helps raise the release of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a brain chemical responsible for helping you feel happy, content, and relaxed.
You’ll notice during recovery that you have a lot of free time. This is because you’re sober and you no longer indulge in activities that helped you kill time.
Therefore, you can also indulge in some of the activities listed above during this free time. You don’t necessarily have to wait until you’re stressed.
5- Find A Community to Belong To
It’s hard to quit alcohol when you’re hanging out with friends who drink. As a result, you’ll have to change the people you hang out with and the community where you live. This change sometimes makes the journey to addiction recovery lonely.
However, experts recommend that you find a community of recovering people just like you. When you’re with people with whom you share experiences and who have overcome addiction, it’s easy for you to be motivated to keep pursuing the goal of staying sober. Every day you try, it gets easier to stay sober.
Joining such communities is also a good way to cover your free time and avoid temptations. Go out there and begin to rebuild your social life. Life doesn’t end with addiction.
A habit is formed from a consistent, repetitive pattern of doing a particular activity. Therefore, all the five habits discussed in this article will require that you repeat them consistently until your mind goes on autopilot and the habits become part of you. The process can be hard, but it’s worth it.
You’ve come this far in your addiction recovery. Now you just have to adopt a healthy lifestyle to increase your chances of achieving full sobriety. These five health and wellness habits are an excellent place to start. All the best!