Article by Alexandra Teeter
While the road to recovery is different for everyone, engaging in proper self-care can make things far easier. By prioritizing your own well-being in healing, natural ways, you can strengthen your commitment to your own health. Today, Nfm shares some advice on creating a productive self-care routine that will help you build confidence and avoid a relapse.
Sweat it Out
You can better manage symptoms of withdrawal, such as depression through regular exercise. According to CNN, working out increases levels of dopamine in the brain, which gives you a sense of pleasure. This is especially the case when you pair exercising with the great outdoors, which is part of making smarter choices as you live a healthier lifestyle.
Whether it’s a long walk or a hike, you can replace that familiar high with a healthier habit and utilize it as a coping mechanism to prevent cravings and potential relapses. If you work from home, exercise is an added bonus, as it can help you stay healthy and prevent you from experiencing the side effects that a sedentary lifestyle can cause.
Yoga and Meditation
Another form of exercise is yoga, a safe way to get more active and introspective. With mindfulness in your yoga sessions, you’re able to balance your body’s movement and concentrated mental clarity, all into one practice. When combined with meditation, you become more attuned to your body’s movements and sensations. This includes controlled breathing, which you can incorporate into other parts of your day.
Getting plenty of rest is key when caring for yourself. If you’re having trouble quieting your mind before bed, try meditation or yoga, as mentioned above, to gain a sense of inner peace and relaxation. It’s easy to create a space in your home devoted to one or both practices. Start by working to rid your home of negativity. Then simply find a room (even a corner of a room will do) that offers plenty of natural light, has a plant or a piece of soothing artwork, and allows you enough room to comfortably lie flat.
You can also do yourself a big favor by establishing steady sleeping patterns and bedtime routines. Getting plenty of rest will allow you to prepare for the challenges ahead and give you the tools to think clearly when making decisions.
Watch Your Diet
Eating right can go a long way when staying clean. If making good choices during the workweek or weekend is hard, meal prep so you have nutritious options readily available. Opt for meals full of lean meats, veggies, fruits, and healing, flavorful herbs like sage, rosemary, and mint. I Try to stay away from carbs, sugars or caffeine, as they act as stimulants and can imitate the unhealthy high you may be used to.
Talk to Someone
Recovery is often a long and never-ending process. Therefore, to stay the path, you need to tend to your mental health and prioritize it within your self-care plan. After you have sought professional treatment, find a counselor to whom you feel comfortable talking to one on one. Doing so will help you further understand and identify your triggers. A therapist can offer resources judgment-free and a plan tailored specifically to you. It’s a safe place to talk openly and help strengthen your ability to resolve conflict during recovery.
Support groups are also helpful in that they prevent feelings of alienation and failure. Wake Forest University points out that you will be “surrounded by individuals with similar backgrounds, and can further share their stories, wisdom, and struggles in a non-judgmental environment.” You may feel encouraged just by listening to others’ experiences and learning about new ways to approach your problems.
Love on an Animal
Spending time with a pet has also been known to help avoid a relapse. According to Therapy Pet, “Research has found that owning a pet can reduce stress, lower blood pressure, and boost levels of feel-good chemicals in your brain.” Pets love you unconditionally and give you a sense of responsibility. A dog, for example, can force you to get outside and explore when taking them for a walk, thereby reducing your depression and anxiety.
Evaluate Your Relationships
As an addict, you’ll need to be cautious about who you surround yourself with. People tend to influence the way we think and how we act within our own lives. Therefore, you should choose ones that exhibit a positive outlook and will hold you accountable by noticing signs of a possible relapse. Avoid those who enable you or are living a lifestyle you have left behind, as they could have a negative impact on your recovery.
Spending a little money on yourself is never a bad idea, as long as you don’t do it too frequently and stay within your budget. For example, many people find comfort in purchasing jewelry, which can go a long way toward helping their self-esteem.
As you work to find the appropriate balance in your life, don’t be afraid to try new things! Recovery is always a challenge, but you can do yourself a huge favor by proactively anticipating particular situations and environments that may tempt you. A little determination mixed with an openness to new possibilities and perspectives will help you greatly on this journey to recovery.