Going through recovery from addiction can take a toll on your body and your mind, and sometimes it can be difficult to find the energy to take care of your mental health.
Falling into a “funk” is common while going through the recovery process. It’s not a bad sign in and of itself, but if left unaddressed, it can lead to the exacerbation of mental health conditions or disorders, and sometimes lead to relapse.
Taking care of your mental health matters.
That’s why today we’re going to share with you the top seven ways to take care of your mental health so you can foster and maintain a positive outlook in recovery.
How does addiction affect mental health?
Chronically using drugs and alcohol leads to chemical and receptor changes in the brain that can result in a variety of mental issues across the spectrum.
Substance abuse can lead to the development of different mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and more.
Other mental issues can be triggered by persistent substance abuse (substance use disorder) such as paranoia, aggression, hallucinations and other problems.
Addiction wreaks havoc on the body, but it takes just as much of a toll on your mind.
How does mental health affect recovery?
Everybody experiences positive moments and negative moments in their lives. This ebb and flow of emotion is a natural, healthy part of the human experience, and people going through addiction recovery experience it too.
Because of all the physical, psychological and chemical changes they’re undergoing in this transformative time in their lives. Sometimes they can find it difficult to maintain a positive outlook on their experience or life overall.
The state of your mental health is one of the key factors that influences your ability to both complete short-term recovery as well as maintain long-term sobriety.
How to maintain a positive outlook
We’re going to breakdown the top seven ways to take care of your mental health and maintain a positive outlook when you’re going through addiction recovery.
1. Prioritize nutrition
Poor nutrition has been linked to countless illnesses, disorders and diseases, including—obesity, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, depression and more. Prioritize healthy grains (whole oats) over refined carbs (pancakes), a lot more fruits and vegetables clean protein (grass-fed beef) over processed meat (deli meat) and healthy fats.
2. Move your body daily
Daily exercise has been known to reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression and insomnia. Practicing at least 30 minutes of exercise a day has been known to promote a positive mindset, greater sense of confidence and an overall better mood.
Here are some ideas for daily movement:
- Martial arts
- Gym workouts
- Group classes (such as Zumba, pilates, or cycling)
- Walking in nature
Exercise should be enjoyed — you just have to discover which styles you enjoy most.
3. Prioritize your sleep
Just like poor nutrition, poor sleep can contribute to a variety of mental and physical diseases. Making sure to get enough of high-quality sleep is one of the best things you can do for your health.
Be sure to avoid injuring your natural sleep cycle by overstimulating your brain at night with blue light, staying up too later or consuming a lot of alcohol or sugar in the few hours before you go to sleep.
4. Celebrate the wins
Consistently acknowledging and uplifting yourself for all of your hard work is an excellent way to foster positivity, gratitude, self-esteem, confidence and motivation to continue forwards.
Every night you go to bed, think of one thing you accomplished that day that you’re proud of, no matter how extraordinary or ordinary it is. Remember, one percent better today is still better than zero percent yesterday.
5. Spend time outside
Nature is healing. Between the fresh air, recharging rays of the sun and natural electrical currents in the earth, spending time in nature has been proven to encourage a myriad of benefits.
Some of these benefits include—boosting the immune system, reducing symptoms of chronic illnesses and mental health conditions, increasing natural production of serotonin and dopamine (the “happy hormones”), enhancing creativity and promoting calmness and inner peace.
6. Surround yourself with positive people
Chances are you’ve already figured out you won’t be able to stay friends with a lot people from your past, or who you connected with through different substance use “circles.” Give yourself permission to mourn those relationships, while also being sure to foster a new, healthy, positive support network of peers.
7. Find new sources of joy
When you were actively struggling with addiction, chances are you didn’t keep up with the activities and hobbies that bring you joy. Things that make you feel happy, fulfilled, meaningful and good about yourself.
Replace scrolling on your phone with reading; replace influencers with mentors; replace lazy hours with surfing, fishing, rock climbing; replace idle time with purposeful action.
Contact us when you need help
Rehab After Work provides drug and alcohol treatment that is designed to match your individual needs and adapt to your lifestyle so that recovery isn’t anymore challenging that it has to be.
Whether our intensive outpatient treatment or our partial hospitalization program, we’ve designed our programs to help you achieve sobriety in the present, and maintain sobriety in the long-run.
Send a confidential message today to learn more about how we can help you in recovery.