Healthy lifestyle changes are integral to a successful recovery from a substance use disorder. Consistent effort is needed to achieve significant changes such as taking regular exercise, creating a strong sober network, and eating a healthy diet. However, these lifestyle changes primarily consist of several modest changes, some of which are easy to implement right away.
Make Intentional Food Swaps
We all have unhealthy foods and beverages in our diet that we know we should avoid, but we can’t seem to leave them alone. Often, we fall into the “all-or-nothing” trap when we want to stop eating certain foods, but small changes can still make a difference. For example, switching to a soda that doesn’t have as much sugar isn’t the healthiest choice, but it is better. You have to make a series of small changes that stick over a long period to reap the benefits of a truly healthy diet, so do not consider an improvement meaningless if it is not perfect.
Get More Active
Find ways to make yourself more active throughout your day. You may want to park farther away from the store, walk or bike to nearby places, and take Fido on more walks. The average person spends far too much time sitting, so every additional step is helpful. Adding small amounts of activity scattered throughout the day is better than just sitting all day and will increase your overall health. You won’t become a world-class athlete by taking the stairs or walking the dog, but you will be healthier.
Get the Proper Amount of Sleep
What’s more comfortable than sleeping? A lot of times, we may stay up too late watching TV or scrolling on social media. Devote some of that time to sleeping instead. Even an extra 30 minutes of sleep can be beneficial. Research has repeatedly shown lack of sleep can lead to anxiety, illness, depression, and even suicidal ideation. Any extra sleep you do get will help you feel better.
Incorporate at Least One Vegetable in Each Meal
You might have heard the recommendation that you should trade in your fries for a salad. Although this sounds simple, it isn’t always easy. Perhaps we could get fries and a salad and eat the salad first. Make this more formal. It’s healthier than eating just the fries, and it doesn’t add that many additional calories to your meal (watch the dressing, though). You may even end up feeling full and not finishing all those fries.
Start with these small steps and keep adding to them to have a healthier you in recovery.