Going through recovery is an incredibly difficult time. People begin to attempt to restructure their lives and entire modes of thinking as their bodies undergo their own biological changes that can have drastic effects on their moods. In a time when everything is changing, it is important to do whatever possible to mitigate the feelings of isolation that come with beginning the recovery process.
While it is tempting to stay indoors where someone may feel safer at the time, getting outside and experiencing the outdoors and fresh air can be extraordinarily important in the recovery process as a whole. The outdoors is always available just outside one’s own house, and using the resources that the outdoors provides can drastically alter one’s own attitude towards recovery.
Getting the Body Moving
Keeping the body active is a major aspect of maintaining a healthy mental state. Getting outside often pairs itself with physical activity. Whether it be taking walks or hikes, playing basketball, or going to a dog park, the physical aspect of getting the body moving is very important. Healthier lifestyles often lead to more effective mental treatments.
Physical activity also provides stress release. Exercising outdoors provides an outlet where people can focus their pent up energies that may otherwise be turned inward, which gives negative emotions and complacency the chance to set in. Keeping moving also provides an opportunity to try new things and develop new hobbies and routines.
Fresh Air and Fresh Minds
There is real power to be found in simply getting outside and breathing some fresh air. Fresh air is another key element in keeping a healthy body, and thus a healthy mind. Remaining inside can lead to constant stagnant air. While it may not seem like a big deal, the kind of air that someone breathes can make a big difference in their overall health and how they are feeling.
This comes naturally with getting the body moving outside with activities such as going on a hike, but even when such a thing isn’t possible, taking a few steps outside someone’s door can have a similar refreshing effect. Staying refreshed and having a sense of clarity allows someone to address their stresses and triggers with a clearer, more comprehensive mindset.
Detaching from Screens
Getting outside has the added boon of being less compatible with many of the screens that people plant themselves in front of each day. Beyond the physical effects of constantly looking at screens, always being connected to the internet and social media has a number of drawbacks on a person’s mind as well. Constant exposure to social media can lead someone to make unfair comparisons between themselves and their colleagues, which can have a detrimental effect on self-esteem and thus recovery at large.
Modern media trends also tend to latch onto many injustices in the world. While these are important issues that need to be addressed, being constantly exposed all day to negative stimuli will have a detrimental effect on the mind as well. It is important to stay hopeful and break away from screens, social media, and the constant onslaught of horrific news aids in creating a positive outlook for recovery and life.
Breaking Beyond Boundaries
Constant stress can cause feelings of isolation or a desire to wall one’s self off from stressors. However, this can only deepen the defensive attitudes that one has towards the outside world. These barriers often then take a physical form, as someone finds more comfort in staying inside where they feel “safe.” However, getting outside can be a healthy way to begin to break down these notions. Physically stepping out of comfort zones into a world without walls can be a freeing experience on its own.
Weather Affects Mood
While the changing seasons can often have an effect on someone’s mood, daily weather can also affect it. People may seem more down on a rainy day or more lively on a cloudless, sunny afternoon. Getting outside allows someone to use the weather to their advantage. Getting outside and experiencing the sun, even down to the biological need for light, is a good way to stay healthy and keep the mind clear.
Getting outside as a whole encompasses a number of different aspects, each presenting their own advantages. Simply taking a walk when stressed out or feeling an urge to use drugs or alcohol again can make a large difference. Using this practice can then become its own coping mechanism and establish healthy new habits, both in body and mind.
Regardless of the kind of recovery someone is going through, stress will be constant. Getting outdoors and understanding the advantages of being in the outside world without walls can make a big difference in maintaining a positive, forward-thinking outlook about one’s goals in their own lives.
If you or a loved one are dealing with addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders, Life Tutors has a program to help you get outside and begin the recovery process. With programs available for any stage of the recovery process, Life Tutors utilizes a boots-on-the-ground, practical application approach to recovery, acknowledging your unique triggers and difficulties, while helping accentuate your strengths. For more information on the various programs and services offered by Life Tutors, or just to learn about the different options available to you or your loved one, contact one of their caring staff today at (818) 417-7122.