The Importance of Physical Wellness in Addiction Recovery
Learn why physical wellness is important and how to improve yours.
Table of Contents
Why Physical Wellness Is Important in Addiction Recovery
Life during and after addiction recovery is about much more than maintaining sobriety. It’s also about making amends with different aspects of life that were ignored during substance use, including physical health and wellness.
Physical wellness can manifest positive results in a variety of aspects of one’s life. As a body is the vessel for an individual’s everyday life activities, taking care of one’s physical wellness can improve mental, spiritual, and emotional elements as well. It is important that one takes the time and makes the effort, even in small, mundane ways, to take care of one’s physical wellness.
Even the seemingly most arbitrary of efforts of physical self-care can turn habitual and have a major impact on a person’s overall well being. Every person’s version of physical wellness is different from another’s, and it is vital that everyone takes the time to recognize their own unique physical wellness path.
What Is Physical Wellness?
While physical wellness is an integral aspect of overall health and wellbeing, there are more aspects to wellness than purely physical. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recognizes eight core dimensions of wellness:1
All dimensions are interconnected, with one directly affecting the others. It cannot be overstated how the physical dimension of wellness is vital in long-lasting addiction recovery. Without physical wellbeing, one’s overall health suffers. As such, physical recovery after illness or injury is also significant.
When taking the time to establish a physical wellness routine, a person can think of it as a necessary and well deserved aspect of self-care, one which ultimately benefits the greater whole of the collective individual. It is all too common that people don’t prioritize their own self-care, seeing it as overly indulgent. However, it is pivotal in ensuring overall wellness, as aforementioned, each dimension of wellness interlaps with the others, ultimately establishing a well rounded and flourishing individual.
The Definition of Physical Wellness
The SAMHSA defines physical wellness as the need for physical activity, a healthy diet, quality sleep, and balanced nutrition. Physical wellness activities include all habits that contribute to physical wellbeing. This could be anything from abstaining from substance use to seeking wellness physical therapy after an illness or injury.2
Physical wellness examples also include other physical wellbeing activities, such as routinely taking oral vitamin supplements, getting regular medical check-ups, and practicing medication safety.
Benefits of Physical Wellness
Physical health and wellness improve a person’s quality of life in a cascade of positive effects. Appropriate health care, nutrition, and exercise can have far-reaching impacts on mood, sleep, social connection, and more physical wellbeing factors.
How to Improve Physical Wellness
To improve physical wellness and recovery (when recovery is needed), begin by focusing on five critical aspects of physical health: sleep, nutrition, hygiene, physical activity, and relaxation. The following provides information about how to accomplish these elements.
Try to reserve enough time — about seven to eight hours — each night for sleep. Avoid exercising within a few hours of your bedtime and avoid “screen time” before bed. You may feel better if you avoid large, heavy meals before bed.
Improve your diet by setting goals to make small, healthy changes each week. You can check out local food co-ops for good, affordable food, and you can also explore support groups like Overeaters Anonymous.3
Visit the USDA’s Food Pyramid website and the Choose My Plate website for detailed information on nutrition guidelines and tips for healthy eating.4
Good personal hygiene is one of the best ways to protect yourself from getting sick from infectious diseases. Improve your hygiene by washing your hands with soap and water regularly, avoiding touching your eyes, nose, and mouth, and cleaning your body daily.
Join local YMCAs, gyms, or fitness clubs, or look to the internet for ideas on physical exercises you can do at home. If you live with physical limitations, check with a physical therapy and wellness center for help learning physical wellness activities that you can perform safely.
Practice meditation or breathing exercises to restore your body’s oxygen and refocus your energy each day. Relaxation techniques help reduce stress levels. Stress can result in high blood pressure, excess cortisol (a stress hormone that makes maintaining a healthy weight more difficult), and many other physical problems.
The Importance of Physical Wellness in Addiction Recovery
Drug and alcohol use can damage physical well-being, especially if the use was prolonged or occurred in large quantities. Even after treatment, deficiencies in physical health can linger.
What Is Wellness in Recovery?
Wellness and addiction recovery go together. In recovery, the body re-learns how to properly function without the influence of substances. Organs can work better without the added stress that substance use puts on them.
Why Is Physical Wellness Important in Addiction Recovery?
The body may have been damaged and/or put under severe stress depending on the substance used. The affected organs include the lungs, heart, blood vessels, skin, and brain. Working on physical wellness during recovery can help improve and even reverse the damage done by substance use.
Some Tips on Getting Started
There are many excellent resources out there that are full of valuable information about how to start improving your physical wellness.
Questions to Ask Yourself
To get started, ask yourself some questions about your dimensions of wellness:
- Can you make minor changes in physical activity each day, such as taking the stairs and parking further away from doors?
- Are you staying away from screens before bed?
- Are you taking medications properly?
- Do you visit your dentist and doctor for check-ups regularly?
- Do you have access to fresh, healthy food?
- Do you wash your hands as often as you should?
- Can you eat at home more to keep track of what you eat?
- Can you join a gym or health club?
SAMHSA has additional questions to ask yourself and resources available to help you improve your physical wellness before, during, and after recovery.
Reap the Benefits of Physical Wellness at Alta Centers
At Alta Centers, we believe that a holistic approach to physical wellness and recovery is the key to your success. Since the dimensions of wellness impact each other, full recovery is only possible with a whole-person approach to treatment. This must include treating the mind, body, and spirit.
Detoxification is the process of ridding the body of a particular substance. It often includes various withdrawal symptoms, which can be uncomfortable. For this reason, a detox program at Alta Centers should be considered.
There is no greater weapon against relapse than education. The knowledge you need and deserve for substance use to stop will help you recover from addiction, improve dimensions of wellness, and avoid relapse.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is essential in addiction recovery and improving a person’s dimensions of wellness. With CBT, you’ll learn to recognize and change unhelpful thoughts and behavioral patterns. CBT offers ways to learn healthy coping mechanisms and skills you can use throughout your life.
Get Help Today
Alta Centers is ready to help you improve your physical dimension of wellness during addiction recovery. With the right knowledge, skills, and support, you can create the life you want, free of the harm that substance use can cause. Contact Alta Centers today.