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Building Healthy Habits in Recovery

Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD By September 29, 2017
Building Healthy Habits in Recovery

Quitting drugs and/or alcohol is tough work. Whether you were an active addict for six months or six years, your body and mind become incredibly used to functioning with drugs or alcohol in it, and as a result, it can be shocking for it when these substances are no longer present. While the drugs leave your system is a process called detox and it is important to do this is a medically supervised environment. Post detox, it is important to start building healthy habits in recovery. With time and practice, you can dedicate the time you used to spend on getting high or drunk instead on doing things that are good for your body.

How to Build Healthy Habits in Recovery

Always remember that healthy habits don’t develop overnight. You can’t go from a malnourished heroin addict to a marathon runner in a week. Sure, that example is drastic, but as an addict you most likely have a “go big or go home” approach to life, and you also look for immediate gratification. Healthy habits will test your patience, but the good news is that they are worth it.

Once you have gotten through the detox period of your recovery, it is time to start working on healthy habits that can help you in your recovery and speed up the healing process of your body. In treatment, you will most likely be put on a multi-vitamin regimen to help put essential nutrients back into your body, and you will also be expected to eat three full, healthy, and well-rounded meals per day. Eating right is one of the first good habits you can start with almost right away. Proper nutrition will help you feel better, stronger, sleep better, and even elevate your mood.

Exercise is another great idea for healthy habits in recovery that can keep you on the right path. However, it is important to get medically cleared to take part in any kind of physical activity. After years of addiction, your body will have suffered and you may have underlying conditions that aren’t identified. In rehab, you will have a thorough physical exam to rule out any medical conditions and treat the ones you do have.

Once you are medically cleared, it is important to introduce exercise to your life slowly. Some good ideas include starting out with a daily walk or trying a gentle yoga class. You can also look at inexpensive gym memberships, and find a workout buddy to keep each other motivated. You don’t want to hurt yourself, so take things slow and make sure to go at your own pace, but at the same time keep challenging yourself!

Healthy Habits in Recovery Need to Be Something You Enjoy Doing

The key to sticking with an exercise routine is finding an activity you enjoy. There are so many ways to get fit out there, it is just a matter of finding the right one for you. Yoga, running, swimming, pilates, rowing, kickboxing, cycling – you name it and it is out there! Just give it a try and see which activity resonates with you. Having a physical activity as a hobby is great for many reasons. It will keep you healthy and in shape, and it is also something to do when you are bored. Boredom is a huge trigger in recovery, so having a plan for when boredom strikes is essential.

Eating well and exercise are two great healthy habits in recovery to focus on. You’ll find that other things start to fall into place, like caring for your body more, and even having a regular sleeping pattern so that you are well rested and focused for the day ahead. A healthy lifestyle can even help keep mood disorders in check, and correctly managing mood disorders gives you a huge advantage towards staying sober.

Keep at it and find the healthy habits in recovery that are right for you!

Article Reviewed by Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MD

Dr. Jeffrey Berman, MDDr. Jeffrey Berman is a psychiatrist in Teaneck, New Jersey and is affiliated with Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital. He received his medical degree from State University of New York Upstate Medical University and has been in practice for more than 20 years. He also speaks multiple languages, including French and Hebrew.

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