Whether you’re early in your addiction recovery or have been working on recovery for some time, you’re likely looking for ways to ensure you thrive in the new year. Attending meetings, communicating with sponsors, avoiding temptation, and seeing a counselor are vital to keeping your life on track. While you’re working to maintain your recovery, consider a few other ways you can live a healthy, productive life and truly thrive in 2018.
1. Focus on a Hobby
Staying busy and filling your days with activities you enjoy will help you get and keep your life on track in the new year. You will avoid temptation, boredom, and negative thoughts when you focus on a hobby that you love. If you’re artistic, take an art class at a community college or local community center to develop your talent. You’ll meet others who share your love of art and develop new friendships while tapping into your creative side. You also may be able to supplement your income by selling some of your artwork.
If you have a green thumb, or if you want to commit to a healthier lifestyle, consider gardening as your hobby. Gardeners claim that tending to plants reduces stress, and researchers are finding that gardening improves both your mental and physical health.
People who garden are more apt to eat their daily servings of fruits and vegetables and enjoy eating them more. You’ll lose weight by eating healthier, and you’ll get a workout without needing to purchase a gym membership. In fact, ScienceDaily shares other research that shows working with plants boosts your mental health and combats stress while providing positive sensory stimulation.
If you prefer music to art and gardening, you should learn to play a musical instrument. According to Inc.com, being a musician benefits your brain and improves long-term memory, and musicians are more mentally alert. Music is a powerful mental stimulant and provides emotional connections for musicians. In short, playing an instrument is an ideal hobby for people in recovery because of the mental health benefits.
Some of the easiest instruments for beginning musicians include the clarinet, trumpet, and saxophone. In fact, many people begin with the clarinet because it’s such a versatile instrument. If you opt for a clarinet or other woodwind instrument, consult a buying guide when you decide to pursue your musical hobby.
2. Commit to Regular Exercise
Working out is another key to long-term recovery. Research shows that your brain gets a chemical reward when you exercise, and addicts have an easier time staying sober when they get this reward. Running especially helps addicts because it delivers such a strong chemical reward; for example, one study found that running curbs cravings and can repair some of the brain damage addicts suffer.
Exercise also reduces stress and boosts your mental health. Thus, remaining sober becomes easier for those who exercise regularly. It also helps you create a daily routine, and structure is a critical component of keeping your life on track. The key is to use exercise as one tool in your arsenal; don’t become obsessed with running or weight lifting and fail to pursue other hobbies or activities.
3. Make Healthy Eating Choices
Healthy eating is another core component of recovery. Even if gardening isn’t a hobby that appeals to you, you can focus on healthy eating to stay on track in the new year. Healthy foods deliver the nutrition you need to repair the damage substances did to your body. Specifically, proper nutrition returns nutrients to your body, helps build and repair organ tissue, strengthens your immune system, and restores damaged tissue. Healthy foods also boost your mood and help you feel better overall.
To get your eating habits on track for 2018, restrict sugar so you don’t become addicted to it in your recovery. You also should eat lean protein and fish and incorporate whole grains into your diet. Do your best to eliminate processed foods and opt for whole foods. You may have more success if you eat smaller meals every two to four hours and keep healthy snacks like almonds or blueberries within reach.
To get or keep your recovery on track in 2018, focus on a new hobby like art, gardening, or playing a musical instrument. You also should commit to regular exercise and healthy eating. Prioritizing your mental and physical well-being is the best way to ensure you thrive in recovery in 2018.
Adam Cook’s mission is to provide people struggling with substance abuse with resources to help them recover. His mission is also aligned with AddictionHub.org’s to help people find support for issues relating to addiction.