Spring is a time of hope and renewal. As the weather warms up, potential therapies for addiction recovery broaden to encompass a wide range of hobbies that take place in the great outdoors.
Taking up a new hobby in the springtime can be great therapy for boosting one’s mood and decreasing stress. It’s the antithesis to Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a condition that occurs mostly in winter when people are cooped up indoors with limited sunlight and are more susceptible to feelings of anxiety and depression. Those who suffer from SAD or other forms of winter depression typically find relief in the springtime, when the days grow longer and there’s greater opportunity for access to the sun.
Increased exposure to sunlight also allows people to boost their levels of vitamin D, an essential nutrient in the body. Researchers have linked a vitamin D deficiency to increased risk of opioid and other types of addiction. So, getting out in the sun—as well as taking a vitamin D supplement—may have a positive effect by eradicating the deficiency and potentially lessening the addiction.
Among the springtime hobbies that have been shown to offer good therapeutic benefits are activities in which you commune with nature—for instance, hiking, biking, camping, or meditating in a peaceful outdoor setting. There’s growing acknowledgment that nature therapy, also called ecotherapy, is helpful to those who are recovering from addictions or who have mental health concerns.
The reason for this is twofold: (1) you’re experiencing the beauty of nature, which in and of itself can be invigorating and life-affirming, and (2) you’re getting the physical and mental health benefits of exercise, such as improving your energy level, reducing stress and depression, and enhancing your mood and emotional well-being. At the same time, you’re preoccupied with an activity that will help you refrain from using drugs and alcohol.
Gardening as Addiction Therapy
Gardening has proven to be an effective hobby for those recovering from drug or alcohol addiction. Planting an outdoor garden is often a therapy suggested in conjunction with rehab, since it can be a pleasant diversion and help reduce stress.
Many people find a sense of purpose and self-worth associated with gardening. Planting seeds and monitoring them as they grow throughout the spring and summer can be a gratifying experience. Those who plant vegetables may take particular pride in growing food that they can provide to their family and share with friends. It might also motivate them to eat healthy and refrain from putting harmful substances in their bodies.
Sports While in Recovery
Sports can be effective therapy for those in recovery. Participating in vigorous physical activity like tennis or cycling is associated with the release of endorphins, chemicals in the body that help relieve pain, reduce stress, and elevate mood.
As the weather warms up, there’s greater opportunity to get outside to enjoy broad range of sporting activities. Sports that involve social interaction, such as golf, tennis, and pickleball, are particularly beneficial to those in recovery because it can reduce the isolation that sometimes exacerbates the detrimental effects of addiction. Having a goal to become better at the sport may serve as motivation to get in better physical shape and to eliminate any destructive habits like drug or alcohol use that will hinder athletic performance.
Team sports like softball, baseball, and soccer also provide interaction that can be beneficial socially. However, be cautious in a team setting not to be tempted to go out for “a cold one” after the game. Likewise, be cautious of other outdoor activities, such as camping trips or pool parties, where alcohol or recreational drugs may be present.
Outdoor Yoga as Therapy
Another springtime activity with potential therapeutic value is yoga. Doing yoga in an outdoor setting can increase the benefits of the activity. You can breathe in the springtime air, bask in the sunshine, feel the warm breeze against your skin, and experience a more direct connection to the earth by putting your bare feet in the grass.
Yoga provides a calming effect for those who have an addiction. It helps relieve stress, provides an opportunity for self-reflection, and allows the individual to focus attention on become healthier, both in mind and body, and achieving a greater quality of life.
A Season of Optimism
With springtime often comes a feeling of optimism about the future. Starting a new hobby, coupled with a commitment to overcome addiction, will make this a season of healing and self-improvement.
The professionals at Beachside Rehab are committed to helping you overcome your alcohol or drug addiction with a program that treats the whole you. Contact our trained admissions counselors at 866-349-1770 to learn more.
Photo by Lucas Alexander on Unsplash
Science Daily. Vitamin D deficiency may increase risk for addiction to opioids and ultraviolet rays. https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/06/210611174042.htm
WebMD. Do You Need a Nature Prescription? https://www.webmd.com/balance/features/nature-therapy-ecotherapy