By Rachel K English, MA, LPC, CACIII
A holistic approach to recovery includes essential practices that ensure a healthy body and mind. These practices also feed into intentional self-care. In addition to your recovery program, take care of yourself by eating a healthy diet, getting enough rest, practicing mindfulness and staying active or exercising daily. The following practices will enhance your overall health and wellness and sustain your recovery:
Staying active and taking care of your physical health should always be a priority. Make time for a daily exercise routine that works for you. Whether high or low impact, keep moving and avoid lethargy. For example, if lifting weights or running 10Ks aren’t your thing, try taking a brisk walk or go for a swim. You can also make your health a group project – many 12 step groups have various sports leagues or you can make standing plans to join friends for a walk in the park. Ongoing physical activity will naturally strengthen your recovery.
Feed Your Mind
You may have noticed people in recovery who load up on sugary treats in response to a new “sweet tooth.” As in so many areas of life, moderation is important. Instead of an all or nothing approach, you can begin to make changes toward healthier eating by adding some healthy food choices each day. As you step further down the road to good health, eating a balanced, healthy diet will help you look and feel better. If you feel better, you will be more committed to recovery. Eat regular meals and drink plenty of water each day.
Engage in Mindfulness
Build a consistent meditation practice and you will see profound improvements to your mental health. There are various meditation exercises and even apps that can help you shape a practice that has the most impact. Start your day in gratitude by reserving five minutes each morning to offer appreciation and end the day by recording your grateful thoughts. Gratitude journals are a popular resource for cultivating mindfulness. At the end of the day, simply write down a list of what you are grateful for in that moment.
Few things are as fulfilling as giving back to the community. Helping others new to recovery or getting involved in service with your 12 Step group will empower your health and wellness in recovery. Service is the essence of the Twelfth Step – carry the message. Engaging in intentional service to others by volunteering, charitable giving and supporting others in recovery can build your self-worth and overall mental wellness.
You are here. You have worked hard to get here. Celebrate your hard work, love yourself and master the art of self-care. Regardless of past actions or behaviors, your work to live in recovery should include accepting and loving who you are, where you are. It can ease the burden of regret, freeing you from shame and guilt that prevent you from loving yourself fully. Enhance your wellness with the gifts of self-love and compassion.
Establishing a holistic focus on your health and wellness will naturally strengthen your sobriety, inspire your family and friends and allow you to embrace the true joy of recovery.
For more information on addiction, treatment and recovery, please visit valleyhope.org or for help 24/7 call (800) 544-5101.