Health and wellness are common tools in recovery that are used to stay sober and clean. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), “wellness” refers to being in good mental and physical health.
Of course, this can encapsulate many different areas of your life, and not every treatment program promotes the same types of wellness. Keep reading to gain a deeper understanding of wellness and the role it plays in your recovery journey.
Types of Wellness
There are eight main classifications of wellness:
- Emotional wellness: Dealing with life appropriately and maintaining healthy relationships
- Environmental wellness: Placing yourself in a supportive environment that promotes health and well-being
- Financial wellness: Being content with your current and future financial situation
- Intellectual wellness: Constantly expanding your knowledge, skills, and creativity
- Occupational wellness: Being happy with your professional life
- Physical wellness: Exercising, eating a well-balanced diet, and getting enough sleep
- Social wellness: Promoting positive interpersonal relationships and cultivating a healthy support network
- Spiritual wellness: Having a sense of purpose and meaning in your life (not necessarily religious)
Many treatment facilities work to promote these different areas of wellness. This is why so many programs focus on exercise, clearing your mind, improving self-awareness, finding purpose, and more. Taking care of your health and wellness — mental, physical, and otherwise — can give you the sense of a fresh start. This ultimately gives a person new meaning in their life as well as a more positive outlook.
Physical Health & Wellness
Addicts who have just entered recovery first must go through detox. This can result in poor nutrition due to diarrhea, vomiting, insomnia, muscle cramps, and flu-like symptoms. Alcohol abuse specifically can lead to mineral deficiencies as well as damages to the pancreas, liver, brain, and heart.
It’s important to initially replenish a detoxing individual’s vitamins and minerals. You must also be sure to keep them hydrated to get their body properly functioning again.
Once someone has gone through detox, it is essential to keep up regular exercise and a healthy diet throughout rehabilitation and the following treatment(s). A diet full of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and low-fat dairy is crucial. Exercise also helps to release endorphins and stimulate serotonin production in the brain.
Taking care of your body physically can help progress your journey to sobriety when combined with taking care of your other areas of wellness. Health and wellness should be treated in a holistic approach in order to maximize each dimension of wellness. This helps to process memories, emotions, and challenges from a more secure mindset.
Emotional wellness has an enormous impact on sobriety. You will be taught skills to help you become aware and more adequately analyze your thoughts, moods, feelings, and behaviors. You must learn to recognize if they are positive or negative, as well as why you feel the way you do. What are the core causes of your emotions? And what will you do with those feelings?
As you learn to cope with negative emotions, you will learn that they can help you understand how you feel about certain situations and why. Being unhappy is a normal emotion, and it’s important to remember that feelings of sadness and despair do pass. You don’t have to use drugs or alcohol to get through them.
By improving your emotional wellness, you will begin to make mature decisions that take into account the feelings, beliefs, thoughts, and behaviors of yourself and those around you. You will be more willing to take risks, understanding that they can be healthy and beneficial to your life. You will also begin to take more responsibility for your actions, making your life more personally rewarding.
Overall, emotional wellness truly allows you to put memories — even the traumatic ones — into perspective. Managing your reactions to them is powerful when it comes to healing. This will lay the foundation for a more healthy future in which you are able to deal with triggers properly when you feel the urge to relapse.
Mindfulness & Shame
Those with addictive personalities as well as mental illnesses typically have feelings of shame and guilt that never go away. These feelings can reactivate negative thoughts, causing a worsening of the addiction or mental disorder. Self-loathing then becomes intense as personal relationships start to disintegrate.
To overcome these emotions, there are certain steps and actions you must learn:
- Process your thoughts in a constructive, healthy manner
- Forgive yourself for past actions
- Acknowledge and recognize your emotions and their causes
- Take responsibility for what is causing you to feel shame
- Make amends to those who may have been hurt by your past actions
- Let go of any guilt or shame
By learning how to properly execute these skills, you will be able to decrease your depression or anxiety, as well as any urges to relapse. You will also begin to stop coming up with excuses and justifications for your past actions. The guilt and shame will gradually begin to disappear, giving you a new perspective on life.
Going to mindfulness therapy teaches you how to regulate your emotions. Here, you will learn that emotions are perfectly normal and human. You can learn from your emotions to understand how things affect you and what they mean.
Instead of living in your thoughts about the past and future, you will also learn how to live in the moment and appreciate life for what it is. As you build confidence and self-esteem, you will learn to live without harsh judgment towards yourself and others.
Breathing exercises, meditation, and other techniques help fulfill the needs of mindfulness therapy for healing. The goal of wellness is to be comfortable, confident, and content with yourself. Physical and mental wellness as well as mindfulness therapy can help impact the other areas of wellness in your life.
Sober living homes are a great option to learn how to manage wellness. Camelback Recovery offers programs such as recovery coaching, 12-Step programs, therapy, and more to aid your sobriety. You cannot get better if you do not take care of yourself, both inside and out. Camelback Recovery is ready to help you. Call us today at (602) 466-9880.