Addiction recovery is a process that isn’t over when you stop using drugs or alcohol. It doesn’t end when treatment ends, either. If you go home thinking you’re cured and not being mindful of how you live your life, you risk relapse.
Fortunately, developing and following healthy habits increases the chance of recovery success. Here are five healthy habits for lasting recovery.
1. Take Care Of Yourself
Most people who struggle with addiction neglect their physical and mental health. A successful recovery requires a complete change in the way you live, and taking care of yourself is the place to start.
Substance abuse often stems from an inability to deal with stress. Practicing stress management techniques and reducing the stress in your everyday life can prevent relapse.
Since physical health and mental health are closely connected, nurturing your body goes a long way to decrease stress.
A few ways to take care of yourself every day include:
- A healthy diet: Drink enough water and eat enough food. Avoid processed foods whenever possible and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables. Eating poorly or being hungry makes it harder to think straight and stand firm in recovery.
- Exercise: Exercise releases endorphins (brain chemicals that make you feel happy). It also reduces blood pressure and stress hormones. Choose a form of exercise that fits you—walking, yoga, kayaking—anything that gets you moving and makes you feel better.
- Enough sleep: Most adults need seven or eight hours of sleep per night. More or less than that can leave you tired, which makes it harder to handle stress and may trigger substance use. Going to bed and waking up at the same time every day helps your body regulate sleep.
2. Connect With Others
If you attended an addiction treatment program, you probably participated in group therapy and support groups. Connecting with others is a vital part of getting out of the cycle of addiction.
When you’re isolated from others, you spend too much time with your thoughts. This can lead to many mental issues, such as depression, anxiety, and addiction. Being with others can give you a different perspective and lend you support when you feel helpless.
Join a support group or reconnect with friends and family (other than those who abuse drugs or alcohol). Don’t be afraid to let in new people who support your recovery. Individuals who’ve also experienced addiction can be a comfort as they know what you’re going through.
Be sure to surround yourself with people who are positive and uplifting—not negative people who bring you down.
3. Be Creative
Writing, art, and music are creative ways to express yourself and your emotions. Creativity can be an outlet for frustration or an act of self-discovery. It’s a great way to relieve stress.
Being creative isn’t just about producing a work of art. It’s about changing the way you live. Develop new hobbies that can teach you things, fill your time, and boost your self-confidence. Do things that fulfill you and give meaning to your life.
Depending on drugs or alcohol to have fun or feel happy can make it hard to enjoy life without them. The way some substances affect the brain’s reward center makes this especially true. But if you start doing new fun things in recovery, your brain will adapt and reward you for your healthier choices.
4. Be Mindful
Many addiction treatment programs teach mindfulness, which is the act of being aware of your thoughts and the world around you.
Mindfulness encourages people to enjoy the present rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. This means savoring good experiences instead of missing them because your mind is somewhere else.
It also means paying attention to the things you do and not acting impulsively, which gives you more control over preventing relapse.
In recovery, you can practice mindfulness by staying away from people, places, and things that trigger substance abuse. Having a structured daily schedule can help. When you have a plan, you’re less likely to be bored or anxious, and it’s easier to avoid old habits.
Being mindful of your thoughts is also important in recovery.
Part of healing is self-improvement and making up for bad things you’ve done in the past. But if you only focus on the negative, it might raise your chance of relapse. You need to recognize your strengths, too.
Building on your strengths can give you confidence, separate you from your addiction, and make you a stronger person overall.
5. Be Grateful
If there’s ever a time to be grateful, it’s when you’re in recovery. You’ve broken free from addiction and are on your way to something better. Be grateful for your life, your health, and the people who support you.
When you start feeling negative or hopeless, list all the good things in your life. You’ll probably find that there is more to be thankful for than you realize. Focusing on the good can uplift your mood and give you the strength to carry on in recovery.
Some people feel that they don’t deserve good things after the damage they’ve caused by their addiction. Now is the time to forgive yourself and be grateful for this second chance.
If you’re struggling with addiction and want to make a change, speak with a treatment specialist at ARK Behavioral Health today. Our rehab programs teach healthy habits to give you the best chance of lasting recovery.