Living with an addiction can take a toll emotionally, physically, and mentally, and it can be extremely difficult to find your way to a path of healthy recovery when you can’t focus. Stress, anxiety, and depression can all have an effect on your mental health, which in turn affects your body, so the best way to aid your recovery is to find a way to help the mental and the physical at the same time. This means working out a wellness routine that makes you feel comfortable and happy so you’ll stick with it.
Fortunately, there are many simple ways you can achieve this. The key is to find the right exercises for your needs while working on staying relaxed and reducing stress and other potential triggers. Try out a few different things, such as walking, lifting weights, and focusing on a cardio workout. You can find some great tips on ways to find your perfect workout here.
Keep reading for more on how you can merge physical fitness and addiction recovery.
Stay social - It can be difficult to keep social ties when you go through addiction treatment, either because relationships have suffered or because of all the emotions that come with recovery. It’s important to remain social, however, as it can help reduce stress and depression and keep you looking forward even when times get tough. Exercise can help you spend time with people you enjoy, especially if you invite them to join you in a workout. Start a running group, or ask a friend to go for a swim with you once a week. Keeping those connections can really help boost your mental health while you focus on your body.
Meditate - Working out can be a form of meditation, especially if you include an exercise routine such as yoga. This can help you put stress behind you and focus on the present, a form of mindfulness that is often useful for people who suffer from anxiety, depression, and various forms of trauma. Since coping with addiction can take a toll on an individual in so many ways, it’s imperative to learn how to focus your mind so you can handle negative emotions as they come.
Sleep better - Exercising daily can help you get on a better sleep schedule; when you’re tired at the end of the day, your body welcomes rest, a wonderful thing for individuals who have battled addiction and issues with sleeping soundly. Try to stay on a routine and workout at around the same time every day so your body can get used to the activity; make it a point to relax around an hour before bedtime and turn off all electronics so you can get ready for rest. Go to bed at the same time every night, if possible.
Manage your day - Learning how to manage your day will help you stay focused and will eliminate cravings and reduce triggers. When you keep your mind and body occupied, you find that the things that were once important to you aren’t so important anymore. Keeping up with a workout routine will allow you to structure your time so you can focus on what really matters, whether that’s your family, your job, school, or your personal relationships.
Physical fitness obviously has many benefits, from keeping you healthy and helping you lose weight to getting you in shape emotionally. The key is to find a routine that works for you, because what helps one person may not help another. Focus on yourself and banish the guilt that can come with making yourself a priority, as it’s imperative for individuals who are going through recovery.
Susan Treadway is a recovering addict whose daily exercise remains the foundation of sobriety. Founder of RehabHolistics.com