August is officially recognized as National Wellness Month, and it’s critically important to maintain optimal wellness in addiction recovery. Focusing on wellness helps us to look beyond the basic-need survival measures we take to ensure we’re breathing and functioning with minimal issue to the importance and possibility of proper self-care. It’s unfortunate (and rather bizarre) to consider, but in today’s healthcare landscape, there is “health” and there is “wellness”; and for far too many, wellness has been something to focus on when they have time, money or energy; this includes their diet, their fitness, their sleep, their energy levels, their emotional health, etc. If you’re in recovery, however, you simply can’t afford to let your wellness fall by the wayside.
What you eat, how you move, how you cope with stress, how you sleep, and myriad other wellness-related issues can have a direct impact on your long-term recovery and your vulnerability to relapse. Small daily actions that benefit everyday wellness ultimately become a lifestyle, and these habits can insulate you from the emotional and physical pitfalls of recovery that so often lead to a slip-up or setback. There are many ways to get involved in the Wellness Month initiative, but before you dive in, headfirst, here are a few ways to integrate wellness in addiction recovery.
Make the Time for Yourself
If you’re always telling yourself you don’t have time to do something, you’re never going to do it. Make the time to cook yourself healthy meals, exercise and get proper sleep. You’ll be surprised at how much better and more fully you’ll be able to function if you’re not constantly affected by lingering fatigue, stomach issues from takeout and general malaise from not moving enough.
It’s also important that you take time to nurture your mental health, meaning taking breaks from work or school when you’re feeling overwhelmed, unwinding and giving yourself rest at the end of the day, and doing whatever you need to do to process your thoughts and emotions without interruption. This can include activities like yoga or meditation or just basic things like reading a book, going for a walk, writing in your journal or relaxing on the couch.
Put Progress on Your Plate
Your diet plays a significant role in helping you maintain wellness in your addiction recovery. Eat recovery-friendly foods that boost energy like whole fruits and vegetables, dark leafy greens and foods that contain tryptophan, a neurotransmitter that at optimal levels promotes a positive, happy mood. It is found in a number of foods, including cheese, turkey, lamb, pork, tuna fish, oat bran and beans and lentils. Remember to eat a well-balanced diet with everything in moderation and talk to your doctor about foods you should avoid, based on your co-occurring health issues.
Make A Move Toward Wellness in Addiction Recovery
A structured and regimented exercise routine has enormous benefits for wellness in addiction recovery. In addition to the immediate benefits of even moderate daily activities, such as weight loss lower blood pressure, etc., working out releases endorphins that block feelings of pain and trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. Regular exercise also gives you a sense of routine, which strengthens self-discipline and causes you to make positive and constructive use of your time, boosting your confidence and feelings of accomplishment.
Give Your Brain A Break
Mental health is an indispensable component of wellness, and often requires you to actively make efforts to keep yourself from forgetting to take self-care. This could be something as simple as saying “no” to people if they ask you for a favor when you feel overwhelmed, or something more involved like committing to ongoing therapy to address the underlying mood disorders you uncovered in your treatment program. At the end of the day, you need to be able to effectively process your thoughts, feelings and emotions without feeling guilty, judged or rushed. There are multiple other ways to boost your mental health and wellness in your addiction recovery.
And of Course…Music
Further integrating music into your daily routine is an immediate and ready-made way to boost overall wellness in addiction recovery. Musical engagement has physiological benefits like increased blood flow and relief of muscle and joint pain. It also relieves stress and releases endorphins., depending on how you engage with it. It has the ability to change your mood for the better, and helps you process your emotions in ways talking can’t.
Recovery Unplugged uses these properties to help our clients more readily embrace the treatment process, and we encourage them to take their newfound connection with music with them into their long-term addiction recovery. It’s not hard to take your wellness seriously, but it is very important. Make sure that you or your loved one are taking care of your physical and wellness in addiction recovery.