The Importance of Hobbies in Recovery

Addiction recovery activities can offer multiple benefits that ease the process. Life after addiction can often be frustrating and temptations only need a single trigger. Activities and hobbies enable the opportunity to rediscover meaning through passion.

Why Is It Important to Have Hobbies During and After Recovery? 

It is important to develop hobbies during and after recovery to prevent relapse. Apathy is one of the main triggers for relapse and the individual needs to seek alternative options. Life after addiction can open up plenty of free time, which can be a trigger for those in recovery but it doesn’t have to be that way. The time that was dedicated to using must be replaced.

The person in recovery must adapt to a new lifestyle where they can’t suppress their emotions and develop healthy coping mechanisms that could last. By building a hobby or network, the person can branch out from the negative environments they used to inhabit. Leisure time hobbies should be a doorway to reconnect to the essence of humanity.

What are Some Addiction Recovery Activities?

The process of discovering a new hobby doesn’t have to be an obstacle. Life after addiction doesn’t have to be a mountain to climb, especially with so many options to choose from. Addiction recovery activities can manifest an entirely new passion and can be fruitful. Those within a support system can encourage addiction recovery activities. The person struggling with addiction is given a chance to form relationships with others who share the same passion. Preventing loneliness and depression is vital to the recovery process. 

Exercise and Life After Addiction

Exercise is one of the hallmarks of crafting a healthy experience for oneself. Exercise triggers endorphins that boost the overall health of the body. After exercising, expect to be in a better mood and reduce levels of stress. It’s better to shed that trauma through sweat than a hole in the wall. 

The key to maintaining consistent exercise is to schedule and find what works best with your body. Every person tackles exercise differently but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give it your best to find a solution tailored for you. Exercising in bursts (Ex. 30 minutes of walking or pilates) serves as a solid technique to keep the consistency. An organized sport like pickup basketball or biking isn’t a bad option either. Since humans are social animals, we should strive to reconnect when we can.

Yoga as a Sober Activity

Yoga is the practice of breath work alongside stretching, sometimes in a meditative state. This enables the practitioner to find a sense of relaxation and nowness to avoid emotional overload. Yoga has many proven benefits that shouldn’t be uncommon. By building a connection to the mind and body, the practitioner has a better ability to pinpoint the unique processes of the body.

Writing Can Be a Leisure Time Hobby

Writing could serve as a great outlet for the individual to chronicle their experiences and reflect on the growth they have made. Another benefit of writing is that it can be done anywhere and has no true rules. By expunging the feelings and thoughts of the recovery process, the writer has a chance to see their growth and apply the techniques used during treatment. Journaling has proven mental health benefits. Storytelling could be a skill developed that might transfer into a memoir.

Volunteering 

Giving back to the community is always a tremendous opportunity to learn about oneself and others around them for a common goal. Volunteering is one of the sober activities attributed with recovery to foster empathy through giving. Fulfillment through action recognizes the role we all play and to contrast the life before the illness took hold of the individual. Spending a few hours at a local animal shelter or community center could prove to be beneficial. 

Martial Arts

Martial arts would be a graceful outlet for the person in recovery. In addition to the exercise, martial arts offer the lifestyle of discipline necessary to perform at the highest level. The community is often supportive and with lifelong friendships in the making. Competitions are a totem for fulfillment and setting goals  — similar to the 12-Step Program. 

Art and Music with Life After Addiction

Music is another tool for expression that many find comforting. Music therapy is often used in treatment facilities and forgoes traditional services through rhythm. Art therapy is another resource used to aid the recovery process. By transcribing the emotional experience, this offers a rich window into the mind of the person in recovery.

Gardening

Gardening is one of those sober activities that springs to life a sense of discipline for another living being. The nutritional quality of gardening has many benefits; planting some of your fruits and vegetables to eat and share. Gardening is a perfect introduction for anyone with curiosity.

Continuing Education

Education through online classes or seminars proves to be another opportunity for growth. By seeking knowledge that might have been missing from your curriculum or developing life skills, the person is primed to use what they’ve learned. The local library or bookstore could serve as a resource, especially for potential job hunting. There are countless catalogs of free online content and courses to choose from. Online courses are flexible, however, in-person classes could be another option.

How Can Hobbies Help Reduce Stress and Reaction to Triggers? 

Elevated levels of stress have dire consequences on the body. Sweaty palms and beating hearts transform into headaches and digestion issues. Losing the sense of joy or pleasure in interests is best defined as anhedonia. Anedonia is one of the first signs of depression.

A person in recovery could be under varying degrees of stress, from learning to practice new coping skills and processing trauma. It’s critical to avoid replacing the former addiction with another, in the shape of love or gambling. Although a tempting distraction, comfort eating or romanticizing should also be avoided in favor of addiction recovery activities.

Leisure time hobbies trigger the reward system in the brain through the familiar chemical messenger; dopamine. Dopamine can motivate the person to continue the activity due to the association of pleasure. People struggling with addiction often suffer from other disorders and medical conditions that could lead to long term effects. Physical hobbies provide mental clarity and keep the bodies’ functions at a tighter level.

Productivity doesn’t have to be a component of defining your leisure time hobbies. People typically don’t factor in the time they spend and could focus on a few hours a week for a hobby. Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals are an efficient marker for charting success. For example, if you’re looking to start painting, outline a plan to get materials and work on a piece per month. By taking the first step, the road to discipline is set for rewards and challenges. 

Why Are Hobbies Good For Mental and Physical Health? 

Research indicates that those who take up a hobby have a decreased likelihood of developing mental and physical health related issues from stress. Group activities such as sports, social clubs and counseling are a superb way to improve communication and relationships skills. The added benefit of hobbies are that they can be done alone or with a group. 

How Do Leisure Time Hobbies Relate to Addiction? 

Boredom can be a crutch for those struggling with recovery and it’s critical to understand these feelings. The quiet moments in between family and friends can be challenging for those struggling with addiction. Although relapse is common and expected, it doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t find pleasure in the recovery process. These feelings of exhaustion or weariness might have a negative effect on the person’s determination to recover. Life after addiction prompts for leisure activities to offset these experiences and to reignite a lust for life without anything else.

Focusing on new addiction recovery activities is a core principle in maintaining abstinence. Engaging in leisure time hobbies rewires the person’s brain for activity and expression. In order to combat the return to old coping mechanisms, the progress of sober activities must be organic but diligent.The sight of a loved once overcoming the darkest depths of addiction through an anchor can be rewarding.

Addiction poisons the body with symptoms of shame, guilt, and anxiety. Building self-esteem and confidence through sober activities has proven to be therapeutic for those in recovery. The internal love and support is allowed to flourish in the new life they have created, all by sheer willpower. The motivation from addiction recovery activities could also present work opportunities.

Find Care at Sana Lake Behavioral Wellness Center

The road to recovery has been built and we hope you’re in it for the ride.  If you or a loved one seek a lending hand towards healing, Sana Lake Behavioral Wellness Center wishes to support this process. We are determined to find a flexible treatment option that will fit your needs during these difficult times. The door is open for recovery for you and those who cherish health. Contact us today.

References:

https://www.headtohealth.gov.au/meaningful-life/purposeful-activity/hobbies

https://connecthealth.org.au/enews/pursuing-a-hobby-can-improve-your-mental-health/

https://www.psychreg.org/hobby-mental-health/

https://research.reading.ac.uk/research-blog/the-science-behind-why-hobbies-can-improve-our-mental-health/