Embracing the Outdoors During Recovery

  • by Scott Sajowitz

Recovery from addiction is a period where you can reflect and focus on self-care. One way to do this is by enjoying the outdoors. How does engaging with nature help in recovery?
Nature seems to be an all-around therapy for people suffering from various physical and mental ailments. We don't have to look far to figure it out—just breathing fresh air from your own lawn or seeing the flowers in a nearby park can quickly elevate your mood.

What are some of the problems people encounter during
recovery? There are many other problems associated with or caused by substance abuse, both social and physical, beyond dependence on or addiction to drugs and alcohol, including:
● Isolation. During recovery, people may feel cut themselves off from others out of
fear of being judged. Such self-isolation may cause negative thoughts and make
them more prone to triggers of substance use.
● Lack of physical activity. There will be moments during recovery when
withdrawal symptoms will recur and patients don't feel motivated to do much of anything. They might find themselves lacking the motivation to exercise or engage in other healthy movements.
● Risk of relapse. Recovery can be a lifelong process. Relapse remains a possibility
even after decades of sobriety, but is made more likely when people are isolated,
unhealthy, or bottling up the negative emotions that may recur from time to time.
In recovery, nature's benefits couldn't be more pronounced. Colorado rehab centers suggest embracing outdoors as a part of your recovery regimen.
What are the benefits of the outdoors in recovery?
● Minimizes unwanted thoughts and feelings. There are many studies that point
to nature being a cure-all for mood swings, that seeing anything green or natural
or just smelling the fresh air of the outdoors can help improve one's well-being.
Such well-being is crucial during recovery to avoid triggers caused by unwanted
thoughts and feelings.
● Improves physical health. Going outdoors can also be an opportunity to
participate in many physical activities as a part of your fitness program: jog, walk or
hike along trails. Not only are there mood-elevating benefits to being outdoors, but
also improved cardiovascular health and muscle strength from the exercise.
Recovery goes smoother when one is physically healthy and stress-free.
● An opportunity to socialize. Staying at home and doing nothing all the time is not
good for someone in recovery. To overcome substance abuse and maintain sobriety, people may benefit from peer support groups and a chance to interact with others who are going through the same journey. Participating in outdoor activities can be a good way to socialize with other people, whether they are also in recovery or not. It can also broaden your perspectives and help you see the world in other people's eyes.
● Improves cognitive functioning. Chronic substance use may affect, even change a person's brain in many ways. Such abuse not only makes an individual dependent on the substance, but it may also cause problems in memory and cognitive functioning. Fortunately, there are studies that prove that going outdoors provide great benefits in improving a person's mental clarity and memory.
Embrace the outdoors, move one step closer to recovery
If you're thinking of new things to add to your recovery regimen, going outdoors is a
great option. You can see, hear, and smell nature and feel a difference in your well-
being as you consistently incorporate outdoor hobbies in your life.

-Dale Vernor


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