Benefits of Staying Busy
After going through addiction treatment, you are probably going to be presented with a lot more free time than you had before getting sober. However, finding healthy ways to fill this time can be difficult, especially as an adult. When you are young, there are lots of opportunities to join clubs and extracurricular activities that fill your time and introduce you to new interests. Finding inspiration as an adult is a challenge, but certainly not impossible, and there are many benefits to having interests and activities.
When you are in recovery, these benefits are heightened because you are trying to fill time as well as find healthy outlets for your sober mind. When you have healthy activities, you are less likely to miss substances, and research has even shown that participating in regular activities can reduce your cravings for drugs or alcohol.
Often, when we are in recovery, the stress of everyday life can become more apparent because we cannot turn to drugs or alcohol as a relief. Finding new outlets to relieve stress is important and regular activities can be a great way to do that and make you more calm overall. During recovery, you are still coming out of the fog that addiction puts your mind in, and having healthy activities can help refresh your perspective. Lastly, healthy activities will elevate your mood, which is very important during recovery.
Discover New Hobbies
Finding new hobbies to be interested in is very important, but it can be difficult when you are an adult, especially if you have spent a lot of your time using drugs or alcohol. The first step to finding a healthy outlet for your time without drugs or alcohol is to assess your strengths and weaknesses. Think about all of the things you are good at and all of the things you aren’t very good at. That being said, just because you aren’t good at something doesn’t mean you can’t do it, and taking on a challenge can be a good idea for some people. However, you know yourself best. If you think taking on something you aren’t very good at is just going to result in frustration and then quitting, try something that’s easier for you.
Here are some ideas for healthy hobbies you can start:
- Painting, coloring, drawing.
- Writing stories or articles
- Reading, joining a book club or reading group
- Cooking or baking
- Learning an instrument
- Knitting, sewing, or crocheting
Exercising is not for everyone, but there are very simple ways to get your body moving that can be very enjoyable and beneficial to your recovery. Experts agree that routine physical activity can actually be a healthy replacement for addiction to substances because exercise and drugs use very similar parts of the brain.
When you take drugs or drink alcohol, it activates your reward pathway, which then releases chemicals that make you feel good like serotonin and dopamine. When you exercise, a very similar process occurs, which is why exercising can be a very healthy replacement for substances.
During your initial recovery, exercise can be extremely beneficial for easing withdrawals and curbing your cravings. Exercising regularly can also decrease symptoms of withdrawal like anxiety, depression, and stress. When in recovery, these symptoms can very easily lead you to relapse, so finding healthy relief from it will keep you from picking up bad habits.
Exercise can come in many forms, from joining a sports team to taking daily walks. It also doesn’t have to be something that absolutely pushes you to your limits, and it is also important to take it easy so that you aren’t turned away from exercising. Start slow with something that you also think is fun, and ease your way into more. Your body and sober mind will thank you.
Jenn Walker is a freelance writer, blogger, dog-enthusiast, and avid beach goer operating out of Southern New Jersey.