Hobbies That Help With Recovery
Entering the world of recovery means starting an entirely new lifestyle. In order to break the addiction, those in recovery must find something to replace the drugs in their sober life. This new sober life has a lot of downtime, previously filled with drugs, that needs to be replaced with healthier activities. Below are activities and hobbies that are a great way to fill time and help with staying sober too.
Making exercise part of your daily routine is a smart way to succeed in recovery. There are a wide variety of physical activities to get involved in. Find an exercise that you enjoy and motivates you to make your life better. Regular exercise is not only good for your physical health but also for your mental health. At certain intensity levels exercise has the ability to create the feelings of pleasure that usually makes you crave drugs.
Aerobic exercise is proven to be the most effective at helping those in recovery stay sober. This type of exercise includes running, jogging, cycling, swimming or rowing. These activities elevate the heart rate and makes the body use oxygen at a higher rate which releases endorphins that produce euphoric feelings. Exercising with a group of people is also beneficial because it helps the individual feel like they’re a part of something. An exercise group is a good support system to help motivate you to keep doing your best to stay healthy and sober.
Yoga and Meditation
While yoga falls under a type of exercise, it warrants its own place on the list. Yoga goes beyond exercise by not only treating the body but the mind and soul. This is why yoga and meditation go hand in hand. Yoga classes frequently integrate meditation into the beginning or end of a session to help heal the mind and soul. Physicians and researchers found that drug and alcohol use are linked to the stimulation of dopamine in the brain. For someone in recovery, using yoga and meditation helps diminish the dopamine stimulation. This, in turn, helps reduce dopamine impulses and cravings for drugs and alcohol.
The deep and controlled breathing used in both yoga and meditation stimulates a relaxation response that helps reduce stress and anxiety. This is important for those in recovery because stress and anxiety are the biggest factors in developing a drug or alcohol dependency. Yoga is easily integrated into the regular 12 step program because it treats the mind, body, and soul. Taking care of all aspects of yourself is the only way to get better and stay sober. At Meridian Treatment we have the option to provide yoga as part of your recovery. Click here to learn more about it.
As time goes by and people get older, they find less time to read. For those in recovery, there is a countless amount of time to fill. Picking up a good book is a great way to immerse yourself into something that helps take your mind off of drugs and any negative thoughts that sprout in your mind. There are self-help, motivational and recovery-related books that are a great aid to helping someone in recovery. However, works of fiction that interest you are still a good source of entertainment that are a helpful distraction from the urge to use drugs.
Another great idea for someone in recovery is to join a book club. As stated earlier, being part of a group helps the person in recovery feel like they belong which leads to a higher satisfaction in life. Book clubs are a great place to get involved with others and discuss the same book with one another. Of course, you want to make sure the book clubs you attend don’t have alcohol or any temptations that could mess up your sobriety. Even better would be to start a book club with other people that are in recovery.
If reading is just not your thing then try writing your own stories. Writing is a great hobby to get into because it allows you to write out your thoughts and feelings. Whether it’s writing into a journal or forming an actual story, this hobby is therapeutic for those in recovery.
There are quite a lot of benefits when taking up gardening as a hobby. A study at the Wageningen University and Research Center in Netherlands found that gardening is better at decreasing stress than other leisure activities like reading. Since gardening requires effortless attention it helps relax the mind. This is great for the mental health of someone in recovery. Gardening outside in the fresh air and around the sounds of nature releases endorphins that ease depression. This serves as a healthy alternative to drug use. In addition, gardening can be equally effective indoors with special planters if gardening outside is not an option.
If you had trouble finding an exercise that worked for you but you love gardening, then there is good news for you. Gardening has proven to be a great low-impact exercise. Digging, planting, weeding, and other repetitive tasks are a big part of gardening. Theses tasks require strength and stretching that are a great form of low-impact exercise. This is especially beneficial for older people in recovery that are unable to do higher impact exercise. Gardening is also an exercise that gives back by blooming beautiful flowers or growing helpful herbs for the kitchen.
Cooking is a wonderful hobby to get into during recovery. It’s a complementary hobby to gardening. The garden provides the herbs, vegetables, or fruits that can be used for cooking. So, if you’re thinking of trying one of the two hobbies it’s a good idea to try both. There is something magical about cooking the food you grew with your own two hands. Together, gardening and cooking are a great way to spend time while getting used to sobriety.
When someone uses drugs for a extended period of time their taste buds are altered. Food either becomes completely bland, tasting like nothing, or overwhelming with overly bitter or sweet tastes. Once in recovery the brain and body start to go back to a healthy equilibrium allowing food to taste normal again. Cooking, as a hobby, allows you to rediscover the wonderful tastes of food at your own hands. This hobby also gives you a sense of control, as you get to choose the types of food you put into your body. Additionally, cooking is a way to give back to family and friends that are supporting you through recovery.