Recovery from alcohol and substance use is a long process, and the isolation of the winter months can be challenging. Now that Spring is here, and with the longer, sunny days, comes the outdoor activities, and a way to keep active as part of recovery. Here are some ways exploring the outdoors can benefit recovery.
Many experts have looked to wilderness therapy as a way to help people recovering from alcohol and substance use while boosting overall health through exercise and mindfulness. Unlike the typical treatment settings, wilderness therapies help you break away from your normal environment to interact with nature. Without distractions such as cell phones or television, you can better connect with the outdoors. During these expeditions, individuals develop useful skills in maintaining recovery such as; communication skills, fostering a self-sufficiency and a sense of independence, self-esteem, assertiveness, as well as learning teamwork and cooperation.
Exercise can also help in sustaining recovery. During a workout, you experience a euphoric sense of dopamine, a natural high. Feelings of stress are replaced in a healthy way, resulting in higher self-esteem. Not only will exercise improve health, but it also will take precedence in your routine.
With the weather warming up, the opportunities are endless to get out and be active. Hiking, biking, running, swimming, are just a few exercise ideas to stay active and use time productively. As outdoor activities become a part of your life, it is easier to maintain healthy patterns that support recovery. Consider joining a gym during the winter months to remain on the right track.
Research on mindfulness meditation indicates that qualities we once thought immutable that form temperament and character are adaptable. By retraining your mind through mindfulness practice, you create new neural networks. If you’re feeling aggressive, you can find ways to temper that aspect of yourself, becoming assertive and clear about your boundaries without entering into a competitive and possibly even hostile mindset that will sabotage you.
For those in recovery, a mental illness was once covered up by substance use. The process of recovery has been difficult, but meditation plays a significant role in reducing stress. Like exercise, setting time aside in your routine for healthy activities is beneficial to continuing a positive journey.