In addition to the traditional therapies recommended for people in recovery (e.g., personal therapy, support groups, etc.) and the alternative therapies that will provide unique and interesting avenues of personal exploration, a number of holistic therapies can benefit people seeking comprehensive treatment for addiction.
Depending upon your interests and personal preferences as well as your goals for your experience in recovery, any one (or more) of the following five popular holistic treatment options may be a perfect addition to your new year. Which one will work best for you?
Yoga and Meditation
The deep breathing and focus on clearing the mind can promote relaxation in the moment and long after the session is over. Also, yoga offers slow, long stretches that help to release tension throughout the body. When practiced regularly, meditation and yoga, alone or together, can help to improve the ability to manage stress in the short-term as well as the long-term. With lowered overall stress levels and the ability to use regulated breathing practice to manage stress in the moment, it can be easier to avoid relapse in the face of triggering events or situations.
Additionally, both yoga and meditation ask the practitioner to pay attention to the body, identifying both the comfortable and the uncomfortable. Noticing areas that require attention in the body can mean that issues of pain and discomfort can be addressed rather than go unnoticed. If these issues aren’t addressed, they can ultimately end up contributing to heightened stress levels that make it more difficult to avoid relapse.
Taking the time to check in with yourself physically and emotionally through yoga and meditation, and simultaneously pulling back from the outside world, is recommended no matter where you are in your recovery journey.
Bodywork and Massage
There are a number of different types of therapy that fall under the category of bodywork and massage therapy, and any one of them may be appropriate for you during your recovery. There is evidence to suggest that engaging in bodywork can improve mental and physical health, which in turn can improve the ability to avoid relapse. The benefits of mindfulness and awareness of the body through yoga and meditation can be amplified by bodywork and massage to address any issues as they arise.
Gentle Exercise and Personal Training
Depending on your fitness level, a number of different exercise options can play a positive role in your short-term and long-term recovery goals. In general, clients in recovery favor a range of different exercise options. Which type is right for you?
- Adventure therapies: Adventure therapies are a kind of experiential therapy that invite clients to move beyond talk therapy and explore their fears and preconceptions actively. By taking on adventurous activities and sports, often venturing into the outdoors and pushing themselves beyond their comfort levels, clients can increase self-confidence, connect with others including the therapist, and continue to tackle underlying issues in a safe forum.
- Sports therapies: Team sports that are conducted in the context of a therapeutic group can help individuals practice positive social interaction, increase confidence, and provide a unique way of exploring different mental health issues.
- Weight management: Weight management isn’t just about looking good; it’s also about feeling good, improving chronic health issues, and improving sleep quality. Making changes that promote a healthy weight can improve other areas of life, including one’s stance in recovery.
- Personal goal achievement: Remaining clean and sober is, of course, the primary goal, but what else would you like to accomplish with your health? Creating a personalized goal (e.g., positive blood sugar management, improved sleep hygiene, etc.) can bolster your recovery as well.
- General health and wellness: Spiritual, mental, and physical wellness can be gained with gentle exercise and the support of a range of professionals who understand the impact of substance abuse on the body. These professionals are ready to guide you in determining the best possible therapies, treatments, and lifestyle changes that can help you achieve and maintain positive change.
Eating well is always recommended, but for people in recovery, the benefits include:
- Improved sleep hygiene
- Improved mood
- Increased energy
- Improved progress in physical holistic and alternative therapies (e.g., yoga, sports therapy, personal training, etc.)
- Improved weight management, which in turn can lead to decreased issues with chronic health problems
- Improved nutrient intake, which can improve immune function and decrease struggles with acute illnesses
Just like everything in recovery, however, there is no one-size-fits-all diet that will improve everyone’s experience across the board. Rather, different people have different dietary needs based on their health issues and goals. A nutritional therapist can help you to create a meal plan that takes into account your food preferences, interest in cooking, financial resources, and time availability. Additionally, a nutritional therapist can help you to address any issues and associations you have with food and how your perceptions and past experiences can impact your ability to eat healthfully today.
Not sure what your first step – or next step – should be in recovery? Do you feel like you’ve hit a wall or like you aren’t sure what to do first in order to get to where you want to be in life? A recovery coach, also known as a life coach or sober coach, can help you to simply things, identifying the goals that make the most sense for you right now and then mapping out a path to achieve those goals. When you are unsure of your next step, a recovery coach can talk you through where you are today and help you create an actionable plan that will lead you to where you want to be tomorrow.