For many people new to recovery, self-care can be a foreign concept. For a long time, you may have skipped the basics of human lifestyles and instead focused on survival. So what does it mean to be self-caring? It means to take time to concentrate on self-loving and self-nurture. For many people, this may mean taking up a new hobby, getting involved in the arts, or just drawing a warm bath at the end of the day.
Exercise is an Overlooked Method of Self-Care
Exercise can help boost your mood, give you more energy and more satisfaction in life, especially when you’re dealing with a lot of stress. So if you’re in recovery, and you’re willing to start a new lifestyle, exercise is highly recommended. After all, it takes a long time for your body to adjust without the use of alcohol or drugs. Many people experience something called “post-acute withdrawal,” a longer-term type of withdrawal that can cause stress, anxiety and mood changes.
Exercise and eating healthy can be essential aspects of a new, healthier lifestyle. You might be surprised at how much regular exercise can improve your mood and reduce stress.
Exercise Isn’t Just for “Fitness Freaks”
A lot of women have had a bad experience with the ideas of exercise and fitness, usually in their teen years. Let’s face it, many of us used exercise for the wrong reasons when we were young. The magazines and television told us to eat like birds and do aerobics for our waistlines, but that we would never do enough to be “perfect” and meet their beauty ideals.
The media has a hard grip on peoples’ self-esteem, especially young women. If our waistline was fine, then our shoulders were too thick and our calves too flabby.
There was always something we needed to perfect, and because of that, exercise and healthy eating were never quite seen as normal activities.
Many people leave fitness in the past because of how much they viewed it as something that they did when they were self-conscious and young.
There’s nothing wrong with exercise in moderation, and eating healthy means more greens and enough protein, not crash dieting.
Doing these things slowly will help you live a healthier life as a clean and sober adult.
Fitness is a Tool
When stress affects the brain, the rest of the body responds as well. Think about how your body feels when you’re stressed out. Exercise and other physical activity produce endorphins — chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers — that reduce stress and anxiety. Research also shows that you don’t even have to exercise for a long time to get a benefit. Even as little as 10 minutes a day can help.
Using exercise as a tool for stress relief can help you change your relationship with your body and create a healthier lifestyle. (Please note, if you have problems with eating or have been diagnosed with an eating disorder, you should talk with a mental health professional before you start ANY exercise or food plan. )
Creating an Exercise Self-Care Plan
First of all, if you’re trying to start a new exercise plan, you should first have a checkup with your doctor and talk about your plans. Most doctors will tell you that walking is a great exercise to try when you’re first starting out. Vigorous activity for about an hour and a half total every week is recommended. Brisk walking is considered to be an aerobic exercise. You could also take an aerobics class, or start riding a bicycle.
Strength building is another part of a wellness plan if you want to stay fit. Lifting small dumbbells or trying other gym equipment can help with this plan. Yoga and other stretches are helpful, too.
Research shows that regarding health, exercise is pretty important. You don’t have to go to fitness classes six days a week to improve your health. If you try to walk 20-30 minutes a week every day, you’ll certainly feel the benefits and improve both your mental health as well as your physical health.
If 30 minutes a day sounds impossible, start slow. Walking is always an accessible way for you to get fit. Go for a walk during a lunch break or after work before your drive home. When you’re stressed, a 10 minute walk can do wonders.
Getting Help for Substance Abuse
Do you or somebody you love struggle with alcohol or drug use? You’re not alone. Help is available. Many people who are addicted to alcohol, opioid, and other highly addictive drugs need to detox before anything else. Give us a call to find out what options are available to you. Recovery is possible! Call us at 1-800-970-9774 to learn more.