Why Your Physical Health is Essential for Recovery
The article below is a guest post by Brad Krause, founder of Self Caring and author of an upcoming book on Self-Care. I’ll post details about his book as those become available!
Recovery—whether it be from mental illness, alcohol and drug addiction, or physical illness—is a long road, and it’s different for everyone. Some individuals need counseling, while others prefer to make lifestyle changes that benefit their physical health. Whatever you choose to do to get healthy, it’s important to remember that your physical and mental health are linked and that there are multiple benefits to taking care of both of them.
Because any illness can do a lot of damage to your body, finding ways to repair your physical self is important. Keep in mind that you’ll need to start out slowly, both to avoid injury and to ensure that you’ll stay motivated to keep it going. Think about your favorite hobbies and activities and try to incorporate them into your workouts; get a friend involved so you don’t have to do it alone. Whatever helps you feel happiest during your exercise routine will help you succeed in getting in shape both mentally and physically.
Here are a few tips on how to get started.
Find the right workout
Depending on your age and physical health, you may need to start with a low-impact workout plan or one that your schedule will accommodate. Start simple, such as going for walks in the morning or after dinner and work your way up to cardio routines or using free weights. These are all great ways to stay in shape and won’t require an expensive gym membership. For tips on how to find the right workout for you, click here.
Focus on your mental state
Many individuals who go through a period of substance abuse also battle depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem even after making the decision to live a sober life. It’s important to make sure your mental health is on track, so consider taking up an exercise such as yoga that focuses the mind and helps you learn to be centered, without worrying about the past or future. Or, you might seek therapy services or a group session where you can vent to people who understand what you’re going through.
Fortunately, physical exercise and mental health are linked, so the more you get active, the better you’ll feel in every way. Working out releases feel-good chemicals in your brain, helps deliver oxygen to your blood cells and boosts your self-esteem and confidence, leaving you feeling stronger.
It’s hard to keep up an exercise routine if you’re not motivated, so look for fun ways to workout, such as swimming, playing a sport and involving a good friend or family member. Having a buddy makes the time go by faster and will keep you accountable even when you’re feeling tired. It will also help you stay social, which is hugely beneficial when you’re in recovery.
Living through recovery is never easy. For many, it’s a lifelong process that still presents challenges months or years down the road. However, taking care of your body and mind will inspire you to make other positive changes in your life, such as finally going back to school or getting rid of toxic people who only make things harder. Making big lifestyle changes forces you to take stock of what’s really important.
No matter how you choose to get fit, keep in mind that your body and mind have been through a lot, and they need time to heal. Take it slowly and don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t get to where you want to be right away. It takes time to repair, both physically and mentally.
Have some recovery tips you’ve found to be particularly helpful? Please share them in the comments below. Your tips may help other readers!
Brad is also the author of the following post: