5 Activities You Can Do Every Day to Benefit Mental Health and Aid Addiction Recovery
Practicing healthy habits on a daily basis can help prevent relapse and benefit your mental health. In sobriety, it is equally important to treat addiction and your mental health in order to promote overall well-being. These 5 habits can be made into a part of your daily routine, be effective coping skills, and help improve your life.
- Take nature walks. In this day in age, it is easy to spend hours indoors scrolling through social media feeds. However, this can lead to isolation and problems with fostering genuine relationships. Instead of spending time on your phone, turn your phone off, go outside, and enjoy the fresh air and sunshine. Studies have proven that spending time in nature can help with depression, alleviate stress, and improve mental health.
Regardless if you take a 20-minute walk or go on a rigorous hike, you will experience an enhanced mood and have more satisfaction in life. Nature walks can help improve your mental health, which, in turn, helps your sobriety. You can even take a friend with you to engage in some meaningful conversation! This will help you build and maintain strong relationships with individuals in your support group.
- Keep a journal. Journaling can be intimidating for some, but keep in mind that there is no right or wrong way to journal. Journaling can be as simple as writing about your day or as deep as explaining the emotions you feel throughout the day. Two easy ways to begin journaling include writing a gratitude list and an achievement list.
Making a gratitude list each night before you fall asleep can help you focus on the positives in life rather than the negatives. Life revolved around negative self-talk or resentments is likely not a fulfilling one. Focusing on gratitude, however, can help change your perceptions about life and turn negative situations into an opportunity to count your blessings. Gratitude is a great way to mitigate negative emotions. Achievement lists can involve listing the goals you met that day. This can help improve your sense of self-worth and promote self-reflection. Recovery often involves looking at how you can better yourself, and an achievement list can help you discover ways to improve and be proud of your accomplishments.
- Eat nutritious foods. If you’re newly sober and constantly craving sugary foods – you are not alone. It’s actually really common for people in recovery to crave sugar. However, this can lead to mood swings and weight gain. Replacing drugs or alcohol with sugar can easily become another type of addiction. Rather than eating sugary foods, try looking at food as fuel for your body. This means eating fresh fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and whole grain carbohydrates.
Eating a nutritious diet can help improve your mood. For example, protein, folate, and B-12 can increase the release of dopamine which can help fight against depression. In addition, getting enough fiber can help decrease mood swings. When you realize how strongly the foods you eat can affect your mood, you can plan your meals to help improve your mental health.
- Meditate. Addiction can manifest in the mind, body, and spirit of an individual, making it important to treat all three of these aspects. Meditation is a way to connect the mind, body, and spirit while promoting relaxation and stress reduction. If you are new to meditation, guided meditations can be found for free on youtube or on smartphone apps.
Mindful meditation is especially useful in addiction recovery and mental health because it can rebuild your sense of self-worth, enhance self-awareness, protect against making poor decisions, and help you focus on your goals. Learning to examine your thoughts in a nonjudgmental way can help you refocus, calm down, and make better decisions.
- Create some art or DIY. Sometimes, vocalizing emotions can be difficult. If this is something you struggle with, getting artistic can help you express yourself without the use of words. Even if you don’t consider yourself an artist – there are tons of DIY projects out there that can be fun and useful in your home. Art or DIY projects can be a great outlet to help you cope with any anxieties or worries that you may encounter.
Art therapy is popular in mental health treatment because it can improve mental health conditions such as depression, bipolar, or anxiety disorders. In addition, it is a great way to combat boredom in sobriety by giving you a fun hobby to enjoy in your free time. Finding ways to have fun and express yourself are both important in addiction recovery and in treating mental health.
Hailey is in recovery from addiction and is diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She loves writing for websites to spread awareness around mental health and addiction to help break the stigma that often surrounds them. Twitter: https://twitter.com/HaileyParks01