Rebuilding Your Physical Health After Addiction

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Addiction affects all aspects of your life. That’s why when you return home from a residential treatment center, you may be wondering what to do next. You have relationships to mend. You need to start looking for a new job. You will soon have the responsibilities of paying your bills, a mortgage or rent and childcare expenses. The last time you felt overwhelmed, you had your drug of choice. But now, you must deal with things using the skills and tools learned in recovery.

When recovering from an addiction, you need to take things one day at a time. You can’t worry about what’s going to happen tomorrow or next week or next month. You must take each day as it comes and focus your efforts on getting through those hours as happy, fulfilled and productive as possible. As you follow the “one day at a time” rule, you will alleviate stress and live in the moment.

Below are helpful tips for rebuilding your physical health and looking forward to brighter, healthier days.

Plan a Menu with Wholesome Foods

We can’t stress enough how important food is to your overall health and well being. When you eat healthy, your body will be nourished. This leads to an improvement in your physical and emotional health, and it allows you to make better choices throughout the day. Eating healthy also prevents fatigue, dehydration and mineral deficiencies that can fog your cognitive thinking and make you feel tired and sluggish.

Eating healthy is something that requires some planning, so take your time browsing for new recipes and planning your meals. Make it a goal to try a new fruit or vegetable each week. Try to incorporate a rainbow of colors into your meals. Cook for family and friends. There are fun ways to go about this.

High protein foods like lean meats, eggs, seafood and low-fat dairy products are the best way to jumpstart your day and keep you feeling full and energized. Fresh fruits and vegetables are also ideal, so fill your plates with these. Stay away from fast food, processed meals and high fat and sodium foods. Don’t let yourself get hungry, either. This can make you grouchy and irritable. Plan for healthy snacks like nuts, dried fruit, yogurt parfaits, cheese and crackers or veggies and dip.

Stay Hydrated

When your body gets dehydrated, it will feel fatigued and sluggish. Avoid this from happening by keeping hydrated throughout the day. There are some variations to the rule, but in general, experts recommend drinking eight 8-ounce glasses of liquids each day. In addition to water, fresh fruit juices, flavored waters and teas are good options. Limit caffeinated beverages like soda and coffee. You don’t need any type of drugs in your body, and caffeine can be addictive. You will feel much better if you eliminate caffeine from your diet.

Create Time for Physical Activity

We understand that it’s hard to jump onto an elliptical and pedal your way into happiness in the first few months of recovery. Yet as you rebuild your life, it’s important to remember how good it feels to be healthy. Make time each day for some type of physical activity. Taking a nature walk is a great place to start because it gets you outdoors, enjoying the sights and sounds around you. As you get more used to this, you’ll want it.

Over time, the goal is to find fun and happiness in rewarding activities. As you start to interact with friends and family again, take them up on their offers to play sand volleyball, go golfing or take a jog through the local forest preserve. Exercise releases feel-good chemicals in the brain, which is why people who exercise frequently depend on their routines for mental and physical wellness.

Make Sleep a Priority

It will take time to adopt a healthy sleep regimen, but it is the key to optimal health. When you’re well rested, you feel better, are able to make better choices and feel less irritable. If you’re having trouble sleeping, don’t reach for anything over the counter. Start winding down about an hour or two before bed, clear your mind and turn off gadgets like your TV, tablet and smartphone. Spend this time reading, writing in your journal or practicing yoga or meditation. The more you stick to the routine, the more your body will calm down at a certain time each night, making it easier to sleep.