Our body is our temple. It is the physical casing that houses our spirit, and our irreplaceable vehicle during our journey through life. The true meaning of this common saying became clear to me during my recovery from drugs and alcohol.
During my dark days of addiction, I didn’t care much about my body. And by abusing drugs and alcohol, I certainly did considerable damage to it. Once I got clean, I finally began to think about my overall health, but I didn’t really know how to take care of it.
Below are five essentials tips to live a healthy life that I learned during recovery. These tips not only helped me to heal my damaged body and mind, they keep giving me the physical and mental strength I need to stay alcohol and drug free every day of my life.
1. Eat Better
The expression “you are what you eat” comes to mind here. If you eat crap, that’s how you are going to feel.
Eat a diet consisting mostly of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes. When it comes to fruits and veggies, eat the rainbow! Different colored fruits and vegetables provide your body with the different nutrients it needs. Dark green and orange vegetables are said to be some of the healthiest- think spinach, kale, broccoli, and carrots.
Additionally, it is important to significantly reduce (or cut out altogether) the bad stuff: processed foods, saturated fat, alcohol (and drugs, of course), and sugar.
Avoid trigger foods – foods that lead you to binge eat. Usually trigger foods are processed junk, like chocolate bars, chips, cookies, and fast food. In my case, trigger foods were strongly linked to my alcohol consumption, so, as you can imagine, healthy was not exactly a word to describe my eating habits.
2. Drink More Water
Most of us don’t drink enough water. While the amount of water we need every day varies depending on several factors such as the climate we live in, our weight, and how much we exercise, generally 2-3 liters or 8-10 glasses of water per day is recommended.
Drinking more water ensures that our bodies function properly by removing wastes, regulating our body temperature, detoxifying the body, and carrying nutrients to where they are needed. Staying hydrated also has a huge influence on our energy levels and helps us stay energized and mentally alert throughout the day.
Start your day by drinking a tall glass of water with some fresh lemon juice squeezed into it. This will rehydrate you after a night’s sleep while flushing out toxins and helping you to have a daily bowel movement (which I would say is the sixth key to living a healthy life!)
If you drink coffee or soda, which dehydrate the body, you will need to drink even more water. Drinks with caffeine are diuretics, meaning they speed up the rate of urine production, and if you are not drinking enough water, it can lead to dehydration. Signs that you aren’t getting enough water include dark yellow urine, dry or chapped lips, and not urinating often.
3. Get Enough Sleep
Studies have shown that we are a sleep-deprived nation. Most people don’t get the recommended 7-8 hours per night.
As I was mostly passed out when I was drinking, or just so drunk I felt I was sleeping, during my addicted years, sleep was not something I cared about, however, getting the optimum amount of sleep is linked to a reduced risk of chronic disease and a longer life span. In addition, keeping regular, consistent sleeping hours (such as going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning- something that was unfathomable to me when I was consuming), as well as getting to bed an hour or two before midnight every night can work wonders for your body and mind.
Wondering how you can get to bed by 10 or 10:30 pm? Sometimes all it takes is shutting off the tv, computer, or cell phone and picking up a book!
4. Exercise Every Day
Daily exercise brings amazing benefits to our lives, and it’s linked to a better and longer life, improved mental and physical health, reduced stress, lower rates of disease, and improved physical appearance.
But don’t just buy a gym membership and force yourself onto the treadmill every day. Choose a sport or style of exercise that you truly enjoy and want to do every day. Find something that fits your personality. If you need a chunk of time every day to sweat it out to music you love, or to just process your own thoughts, then running and cycling are great choices.
If you are a people person and would enjoy team or competitive sports, sign up for a local beach volleyball or slow pitch league, or join a squash or tennis facility.
Even planning daily walks with a friend can be a good way to get out and get some exercise, while being social at the same time. You could also join classes like aerobics, yoga, spinning, dance, or wakeboarding. Classes are a fun way to exercise, meet new people, and learn something new.
Furthermore, the commitment involved in joining a weekly or bi-weekly class (including the economic commitment of paying for your classes) can help you stick to your exercise routine.
5. Minimize Stress
Stress is a natural part of life and everyone experiences stress from time to time. Everything from work or family obligations to traumatic events such as an accident, the death of a loved one, or even a natural disaster can trigger stress.
Stress is a natural, physiological response to harmful or potentially dangerous situations that can actually help us to better cope with them in the short term. Its reactions release hormones into the body that increase our heart and breathing rates and prepare our muscles to respond. So, stress is nature’s way of helping us to survive in life-threatening situations.
However, if stress levels stay elevated for longer periods of time, in what is referred to as chronic stress, this takes a major toll on your health. Chronic stress is often a factor in drug and alcohol abuse, and is linked to many health problems such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, stomach problems such as ulcers and acid reflux (heartburn), sexual problems such as loss of libido or erectile dysfunction, and weakened immune system, which makes you more susceptible to the flu, colds, and infections.
So how can you relieve chronic stress? A great way is through exercise: go for that run, swim, or take a walk, walking in nature is especially effective in reducing stress and calming the mind. You could also try meditation. Sit in a quiet space, close your eyes, and concentrate on your breathing. Start off with short amounts of time–even 5-10 minutes of meditation a day is incredibly beneficial. Then, work your way up to longer periods of 15-30 minutes.
Yoga is another fantastic way to relieve stress that combines the benefits of meditation and exercise. Also, listening to calming music, talking to a friend, or taking a long, luxurious bath with essential oils (lavender is a great choice) are some other great ways to beat stress.
Everyone wants to live a healthy and happy life. Before recovering from my drug and alcohol addiction, my life was anything but healthy and happy. For me, getting off drugs and alcohol was the starting point of a new life, which I did by focusing on repairing and rebuilding my health through healthy eating, drinking more water, sleeping more, getting daily exercise, and reducing the stress in my life.
Now, five years later, I feel better than I ever have in my life. I hope these tips can help you to live healthier and much better.
Do you have any other essential tips to living a healthy and happy life? Leave us a comment below!
|Author:||Hi, my name is Andy! I was born in Bogota, Colombia, but raised in Los Angeles, California. I spend my time helping others with their recovery and growing my online business.|