January 16, 2018 | by Haven Staff
Get up and get moving to keep substance abuse at bay! The holidays are over, winter has settled in and suddenly you aren't feeling as confident about recovery as you have been. You are not alone. Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) causes depression in those who have it, and one of the complications associated with SAD is substance abuse. Even without having the disorder, many people feel down at this time of year. If you have a substance abuse disorder, you might struggle with not using during the winter months. There are several things you can do to combat the blues and keep yourself on track.
Fooling your body and brain into thinking it is spring is not as hard as it sounds. Exercise will raise your endorphins and provide a host of other benefits including better heart health and weight control. You might have to force yourself to begin an exercise routine, but if you stick with it, the results will be worth it. Whether you join a gym, jog around the block or work out to music at home each day, you will soon feel that fog lift from your brain and reaffirm the joy of sobriety.
Though it is tempting to sit in the house and wait for spring, getting out and doing for others can block the thoughts of the drug taking hold. Soup kitchens, retirement communities, and other organizations typically have lots of volunteer help for the holidays. It is now when the afterglow has disappeared when they could use your time.
Whether you are in sober living or living on your own, this is a good time to spruce up your environment. Rearrange the furniture, change the décor and introduce a new color to a focus wall to lift your spirits and make you feel like new again. Spring cleaning does not have to wait until spring. This is a good time to busy yourself cleaning out closets and drawers and donate clothes to charities.
Purchase a light therapy box and spend time each day basking in its warmth. These have been proven to help reduce depression, however, if you also have bipolar disorder, ask your doctor how often and at what times you should use the box, so you can avoid triggering a manic episode.
The idea is to stay busy, get those endorphins pumping and ride out the winter months without using or drinking. Find things you enjoy and commit to doing them and you will be pleasantly surprised at how quickly these winter months seem to pass and you are again out in the warm sunshine.
If you or someone you love needs help with a substance abuse please call The Haven at (801) 533-0070 for answers.