Lifestyle Changes and Self-Care
Making healthy lifestyle changes that include self-care can make a positive difference in mental illness and addiction treatment and recovery. The better a person feels emotionally, physically, and spiritually, the better their quality of life and overall sense of wellbeing can be.
For example, something as simple as getting enough sleep can help to clear the mind, make it easy to think clearly, aid in being more apt to regulate moods, and make a person feel better overall. Setting sleep schedules and sticking to them can be a great lifestyle change that promotes self-care. In the same vein, nutrition can also play a big role in emotional and physical wellness. Eating a balanced diet full of protein, vitamins, and minerals and low in refined sugars, fats, and processed foods can aid in clarity and help to replenish some of the nutrients that are often depleted through drug and alcohol abuse.
The journal Today’s Dietician reports that a proper diet can actually help to minimize drug and alcohol cravings, reduce stress levels, and improve a person’s physical and mental state. It’s also important to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water.
Physical fitness and exercise can also aid in stress reduction and help to balance brain chemistry that may be negatively impacted by mental illness and addiction. Not only can physical activity improve body health and wellness by increasing strength and cardiovascular functions, but it can also serve to lower anxiety and act as a healthy coping mechanism for stress, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) publishes. Physical fitness can also improve self-esteem and self-confidence.
There are many holistic and healthy lifestyle changes in addition to diet, exercise, and healthy amounts of sleep that can enhance self-care and promote addiction and mental health treatment and recovery.
Holistic Recovery from Addictions
Making some personal lifestyle changes, such as heightened attention to diet and exercise or taking time for yourself by adding in hobbies that stimulate the mind, can be effective stress relievers and methods of self-care. Replacing idle time with a creative outlet that keeps the mind busy, such as painting, drawing, writing, playing a musical instrument, or dancing, can help manage stress and cravings, and it can also provide a healthy outlet for emotions.
Making a choice to take care of yourself can improve all aspects of life. For someone struggling with addiction lifestyle, improvements may also mean relationship changes. It is important for someone in recovery to spend time with others who have similar goals or a shared commitment to sobriety, for example. Support groups and sober activities and peers can help with this. Groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) can provide vital peer support for addiction recovery.
Holistic methods attend to the entire person – their mind, body, and soul – and work to enhance overall wellness and health. Adding in holistic measures with traditional treatment methods as adjunctive and complementary options can be beneficial lifestyle choices. These measures can help people to become more self-aware and more in tune with how their moods relate to their behaviors.
Some examples of holistic measures that can be beneficial during drug addiction and mental illness treatment and recovery include:
- Mindfulness meditation
- Chiropractic care
- Art therapy
- Massage therapy
- Nutritional supplements