Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Patricia Sullivan MD, MPH

mind and body wellness after substance abuse treatment

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How to Create a Personal Plan for Mind & Body Wellness

Maintaining sobriety after overcoming a drug addiction can be difficult to do. There are many people who don’t realize they need to focus on their mental and physical well-being in order to stay on a sober path in the future. Some former addicts worry that it would be selfish of them to focus on themselves from time to time but taking the time to unwind and relax can help you to stay focused on your sobriety and ensure that you are the best you that you can be. The following guide provides you with a step-by-step guide you can follow to create a day of self-care that helps you to strengthen your mind, body, and spirit.

What is Mind & Body Wellness?

In order to be able to stick to your sobriety, you need to be mentally and physically well. Having constant body pain, headaches or feeling anxiety and stress is not good for you. It can cause you to suffer from sleeplessness, affect your appetite and make it difficult for you to develop solid relationships with people. Mind and body wellness consists of taking steps to make your mind as clear and calm as you can and your body as healthy and strong as possible.

Why is Self-Care Important After Your Substance Abuse Treatment?

Self-care is essential when it comes to recovery because you need to rebuild your confidence and self-worth. Many addicts lose themselves when they become addicted to drugs. They become a shell of who they once were and after they’ve stopped using the drugs, they have to find themselves again. It’s important to know that self-care helps you respect and value yourself so that you require others to respect and value you, as well. Someone who doesn’t properly take care of themselves could end up allowing people to walk all over them and cause them to be unable to live as fulfilling a life as they could if they did more to care for themselves.

Creating Your Wellness Plan

In order to be able to provide you with the best care possible, you need to come up with a wellness plan. A wellness plan is a plan of action that you use that contains key things to remember after treatment so you can keep yourself on track as you maintain your sobriety.

Eat a Healthy Diet

healthy diet in recoveryIn your active addiction, I am sure there was times that you avoided eating to influence the effects of your drug of choice. in your sobriety you need to do the opposite. In order to be able to stay sober, you need to provide your body with the right nutrients. Being deficient in vitamins and minerals can cause you to be lethargic, sleepless and more stressed than you have to be. It’s best to eat food in the purest form possible so that you can absorb as many of the nutrients as possible. Eating foods that are garden fresh or from local produce suppliers is ideal so that you know they’re as fresh as they can be. Make an effort to eat three square meals a day and drink plenty of liquids. You no longer can depend on your drug of choice to release the happy chemicals enhance your mood. Eating things you enjoy will naturally give those happy chemicals you need after treatment. Eating with people that you love can also be a great form of self-care. You need to be able to connect with people you love to rebuild yourself and recognize your value.

Get Plenty of Sleep

health benefits of sleepingMany addictive substances influence a sleep cycle. Ecstasy and meth have a reputation to keep you wide awake and in a good mood. Other substances like Ambien and Ketamine tend to do the opposite.  A lack of sleep can cause you to be moody, make poor decisions, and not be as alert throughout the day. It’s best to get at least eight hours of restful sleep each night. A great way to ensure that you’re able to sleep well throughout the night is to stop watching television or playing on your phone at least one hour before you go to bed. Your mind will have time to relax and falling asleep will be easier. You could also meditate before bed if you want to be able to focus your mind on relaxation and peace. There is no wrong or right way to meditate; simply sit in a quiet space and allow your brain to relax and not focus on any one thing in particular. Mediation can steady a mind that is stressed out, struggle to complete the 12 steps, or coping with a co-occurring disorder. Remember, part of living a life in recovery means finding healthy coping mechanisms that drugs and alcohol once took care of. 

Exercise Every Day

Benefits of exercising in recoveryExercise is essential when you’re trying to stick to a life free from drugs and alcohol. Many people recovering from substance abuse disorders lean on going to the gym or yoga. Regular exercise encourages proper happy chemical release in the brain. It also provides a healthy outlet to triggers or cravings. Those who struggle with intense cravings can find solace is going for a jog, practicing yoga, and lifting weights. For those who have indulged in opiates know all too well how body weight and muscle mass are influenced by the history of abuse. Exercising can help you build muscle and lose weight, which can improve your confidence and self-worth. It’s important to start off easy when you’re first working out so that you don’t accidentally injure yourself. If you’ve never worked out before, you may want to hire a personal trainer to create a custom workout for you. Going to the gym with a sponsor or sponsee could be your go to coping mechanism when cravings are relentless.

Interact with the Ones You Love Regularly

Active addiction encourages an isolation that feeds into the horrible habit until dependency takes over. Guilt, shame, and drug seeking behaviors push our loved ones, both friends and family, away. It’s important to build positive relationships in life when you’re trying to live a sober lifestyle. Isolation and loneliness tend to feed into cravings and can be the origin of many triggers to use your drug of choice again. You need to hang out with people who lift you up and support you. Surround yourself with those who truly care about your life in sobriety.  Avoid going to places where you could be tempted to do drugs or drink. You want to surround yourself with individuals who accept and support your current situation. Being able to talk about the things that are going on in your life can help to reduce your stress and help you live a better quality of life. Getting involved in family life or friendly interests can be the difference between relapse and being resourceful. 

Take Time for Yourself

explore hobbies in your recoveryIt’s important to take time for yourself on a regular basis. Journal how you’re feeling so that you can look back at the entries later on and see how far you’ve come. You may also want to take the time to learn how to do something new. Learning how to do yoga or paint can help you to have confidence and something that you can do to express yourself or your feelings. Don’t be afraid to try something that you’ve always wanted to try but been afraid to do. Overcoming an addiction to drugs is harder than just about anything else you could want to do in life. Mind and body wellness can be hard to achieve when you’re a recovering drug addict. Guilt and anguish from the past can make it difficult to focus on yourself but taking the time to be the best person you can be will be beneficial for you and everyone else around you.
Susana Spiegel

Susana Spiegel

Susana has experience writing about addiction, treatment, mental health, and recovery. She holds a Bachelors in Arts of Theology from GCU, and has a deep empathy for those who are struggling with addiction, as she is in recovery herself.

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