Making healthy lifestyle changes is an important part of a successful recovery from a substance use disorder. The big changes, like adopting a regular exercise habit, creating a strong sober network, and eating a healthy diet take persistent effort to accomplish. However, they largely consist of many small changes, some of which are easy to make and which you can start right away.
Make easy food swaps.
We all have some unhealthy foods and beverages in our diets that we know we’d be healthier without, but we can’t seem to get rid of them. Often, we fall into the all-or-nothing trap when it comes to getting rid of these unhealthy foods, but it’s important to remember that even small improvements are still improvements. For example, if you drink a lot of soda, switching to one with less sugar isn’t the healthiest thing you could possibly do, but it certainly is better. Transitioning to a healthy diet is really about making a series of small changes that stick over a long period of time, so don’t feel like an improvement is meaningless if it’s not perfect.
Build in more activity.
Find ways to force yourself to be more active throughout your day. This might mean parking a little farther away from the store, walking or biking to nearby places, or just using the bathroom that’s a little farther away. We spend far too much time sitting, so every extra step is helpful. A recent study even found that building in these bits of activity scattered throughout the day can be even better than just sitting all day, then doing an hour of exercise all at once. Carrying the groceries or taking the stairs won’t make you a world-class athlete, but it will make you a little healthier.
Sleep an extra hour.
What’s easier than sleeping? When people don’t get enough sleep, it’s typically because they are too busy or they waste time watching TV or looking at social media. Devote some of that TV or Facebook time to sleeping instead. If you can’t quite carve out an extra hour, try for 30 minutes, or even 10 minutes. Studies repeatedly show that Americans get too little sleep, which can lead to increased anxiety, more illnesses, depression, and even more thoughts of suicide. Any extra sleep you do get will help you feel better.
Include one vegetable in each meal.
You may have heard the advice that you should swap your fries for a salad. That sounds easy, but sometimes it’s really hard. One solution is to get fries and salad and eat the salad first. It’s healthier than eating just the fries and it doesn’t add many calories to your meal. You may even find yourself feeling full and not finishing all those fries.
Origins Behavioral Healthcare is a well-known care provider offering a range of treatment programs targeting the recovery from substance abuse, mental health issues, and beyond. Our primary mission is to provide a clear path to a life of healing and restoration. We offer renowned clinical care for addiction and have the compassion and professional expertise to guide you toward lasting sobriety.
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