We are now in the midst of the summer season, the sun is shining more often, and temperatures are getting warmer. The seasons can have a dramatic effect on addiction recovery. An important part of successful addiction recovery is planning for and understanding the potential impact of each season.
Addictive substances can often play a role in summertime recreational activities, this is where you need to be focused on positive activities to do alone or with the support of family and friends. Keeping busy can ensure that you stay on track with your recovery process and that you have fun during the summer months!
It is very important to have a plan in the event of relapse throughout the summer, being prepared for temptation can be key to remaining rational in the face of a challenging environment. While there are arguments suggesting that summer may pose challenges to those in addiction recovery this blog highlights the many ways in which you can take advantage of the summer season to help you through the recovery process.
The summer season boasts many health benefits in comparison to other seasons. It is very common for individuals to feel happier during the summer months. There are several scientific reasons that people are happier during the summertime. Exposure to sunlight regulates the sleep hormone known as melatonin, helping to maintain a quality sleep cycle while allowing your mind to recharge, leaving you feeling refreshed when you wake up.
Sunlight also helps to regulate serotonin. Serotonin plays a key role in body functions such as moods, sleep, digestion and much more. Increasing the body’s serotonin levels can boost your mood and help you to feel calm and focused.
Sunlight triggers the production of Vitamin D in our bodies. Vitamin D helps our bodies to absorb calcium, which is important for healthy bones and teeth. It also stimulates the production of insulin, while supporting the cardiovascular and immune systems. The average person needs 10-30 minutes of sunlight every day to get enough Vitamin D. Spending more time outdoors during the summer is a great way to ensure that our bodies are getting enough.
Our eating habits tend to change during the summer, a variety of fresh fruit and vegetables become more readily available, and with temperatures rising cravings for heavy, fatty foods are reduced. Eating healthily has been proven to boost both your mood and energy levels.
With less rainy days it is easier to motivate yourself to go outside. Getting out for a walk or a run is great way to clear your head and destress after a long day. Spending time outdoors in a natural environment has many advantages including increasing the feeling of calmness and reducing anxiety. Physical exercise is usually associated with spending time outside. Exercise improves your brain and memory function, helps to lower your blood pressure, and improves your heart health. All these positive effects are of great assistance to the recovery process, because when the body is feeling good it keeps the mind feeling good too.
Summer is a great time to reconnect with family and friends! Many people take their annual leave during the summer months. It is important to remember that the key to success is communication, continue to have those chats with people that you love. It is important to keep leaning on family and friends for support, summer may seem like a busy season for everyone, but your loved ones are never too busy to share a problem.
Summer is the perfect opportunity for you yourself to keep busy, however it is always important to practice saying no, not just to your addictive substance but to any activity that you do not feel comfortable with. If you must attend an event where the substance or activity that you are struggling with will be present it is important to have an exit strategy. It is ok to feel overwhelmed. Bringing a sober companion can be a great support or planning to leave at a reasonable time can limit exposure to others under the influence. Managing the risk reduces the risk. You know yourself better than anyone else, so stay away from situations you know to be triggering or upsetting.
Extra free time with extended hours of light can lead to overthinking. Overthinking can delay the rational decision-making process; it puts uncertainty and doubt in your mind and can cause you to think in loops never reaching a solution. Summer is the perfect time to pick up a new hobby! The availability of sports and recreational activities becomes more frequent during the summer months, mostly due to the better weather and extended hours of light. Whether it is going for a hike every Sunday, volunteering at the local animal rescue or joining a new sport, it can be a great way to meet new people.
Not only is gardening good physical exercise, it also produces delicious home grown produce. The therapeutic benefits of gardening extend beyond what meets the eye. Its benefits include relaxation, stress relief, emotional wellbeing and much more. Gardening can provide an individual with a sense of direction, in terms of having a set of goals to work towards. Working towards a long term goal can help to trigger new behaviours, help to guide your focus, and help you to sustain a momentum in life. Goals are a mechanism for measuring progress towards success, they also satisfy our natural desire to work towards something.
Focus on the present and be proud of where you are now. You have put in the hard work to get here, and you deserve to celebrate that in your own way. A change of scenery can help to reduce stress and recharge your energy. Visiting a new place even just for a few days can provide you with some fresh perspective on your situation. Going on a holiday can be a tough experience for an individual in recovery, with unexpected situations of temptation and a change of routine. Just remember a holiday can be just as fun when it is substance free.
Maybe your ideal getaway is a camping trip, a stay in a glamorous hotel or a day trip to a new town, whatever the trip ensure that it is low stress, and that enjoyment is your priority. Resentment for not being able to drink when on holiday may often cause a relapse so it is important to try and avoid destinations where drinking, drugs or gambling is the primary activity. Planning a temptation free holiday can be difficult but remember to prioritise you and your wellbeing, if you must give certain activities a miss nobody will mind as long as you are doing it for the right reasons.
Tabor Group provides residential & community-based addiction treatment programmes to men and woman over 18 years of age, who are struggling with addiction to alcohol, drugs, and gambling. If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, get help today. We can help you recover in a healthy and friendly environment. Do not hesitate to contact one of our counsellors today by calling +353 (21) 488 7710 for Cork or +353 (1) 639 2962 for Dublin, or alternatively you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You don’t need to go through this alone.