Boost Recovery Success With These Wellness Hacks
We all understand that taking good care of yourself makes sense, but it’s a game changer for people managing their recovery. Just as someone with diabetes benefits from following dedicated wellness protocols, if you need to be substance- and alcohol-free, you’ll be healthier overall maintaining certain aspects of wellness. Let’s take a closer look.
Supporting Research for Wellness for Recovery
When someone develops substance use disorder (SUD) or alcohol use disorder (AUD), they also contract additional health complications. Toxins from the substances affect the mind and body, and the lifestyle changes that often accompany addiction can lead to malnutrition, dehydration, irregular eating habits, and sleep problems. People with SUD or AUD might suffer from other health complications as well.
The positive impact of exercise, eating a whole-foods diet, and other components of stress-less living has been studied extensively, and some inpatient rehabilitation programs like Seabrook include comprehensive wellness initiatives to support their clients’ efforts. But only recently have scientists chosen to look specifically at just how wellness helps people in recovery.
- A 2014 study indicates that “numerous theoretical and practical reasons support exercise-based treatments for SUDs, including psychological, behavioral, neurobiological, nearly universal safety profile, and overall positive health effects.” Another study’s results published in 2023 state there is “promising evidence indicating that physical activity can be beneficial for patients with SUD and AUD.”
- A 2022 study supports the theory that a whole-foods/predominantly plant-based diet “leads to a greater depth in establishing a positive and meaningful relationship to food within the context of recovery…and may offer clients the opportunity to experience greater self-esteem and resilience, and develop a relationship with food that feels empowering and supportive to their recovery goals.”
- Utah State University notes that “addiction and appetite impact the brain in similar ways to motivate behavior, and malnutrition can increase drug-seeking behavior.” Additionally, nutrients such as antioxidants, B vitamins, fatty acids, and zinc “can increase neurotransmitter signaling in the brainepressed neurotransmitter signaling is associated with depression and suicidal thoughts that sometimes occur with SUD, so increasing the consumption of these healthy nutrients can reverse these negative symptoms.” USU also points out that someone supporting their recovery with proper nutrition “may experience fewer cravings and prolonged abstinence.”
Improve Recovery With These Wellness Hacks
Without a doubt, we can stack our daily habits with numerous “rules” for healthy living and be 100 percent focused on them. But in addition to managing all the other aspects of your recovery, plus work, family, and other responsibilities, this all or nothing approach can be overwhelming.
You’ve heard of the term “lifehack,” right? It usually refers to some type of technique or strategy used to make life easier and more effective. Some people find that a few purposeful wellness hacks fit into their daily routine in a more natural way, yet still provide ample support for maintaining recovery. So if you’re looking for new ideas, try some of the following.
Multiple studies indicate that about 75 percent of Amercians are dehydrated, which affects cognitive abilities, mood, and organ function. So choose water as your primary beverage. Not only will this help you operate more efficiently, but also give you a tool to “urge surf”: when cravings or triggers creep up, pause and drink a big glass of water. This helps the urge pass. The University of Missouri provides some guidelines as to just how much water you need and suggestions to spruce it up a little, like adding fruit or making non-caffeinated herbal tea.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevent report that approximately one in three adults in the U.S. are sleep deprived. On average, most of us need at least seven hours of sleep to be our best. So shift your daily focus to improving your sleep habits. There are many tools for better sleep hygiene, but the easiest wellness hack is to simply stick with a consistent sleep schedule, going to bed and getting up at the same times, every day, even on weekends. This routine sets your biological clock, which helps control your circadian rhythm, which in turn affects every other aspect of wellness, including stress management.
Move Every Day
Our bodies are built to move. Some people take advantage of their new sobriety and dedicate themselves to marathon running or powerlifting. And those activities are totally fine if you’re into them. It’s also helpful to think of ways to incorporate regular movement into each day. Harvard Medical School notes that sitting for too long increases blood sugar levels, creates a higher risk for heart disease, and other negative factors. Standing for long periods of time isn’t good either. Fortunately, the University of Michigan states that “moving for approximately three minutes every hour helps us feel our best.” Three minutes! U of M offers plenty of suggestions for how to make the most of that time.
Seabrook: Addiction Treatment and Recovery for Life
Reinforcing sobriety and promoting a healthier way of life are just a few ways the board-certified staff at Seabrook helps you plan for continual wellness in recovery. Here are some additional holistic options you’ll find at our four New Jersey addiction treatment locations.