Recovery from drug and alcohol addiction can take a lot out of you. Not only are you facing the lingering side effects of substance use, but you’re also engaged in a mental battle as you fight cravings and triggers to use.

Mental health and addiction recovery are often treated as two separate realms, but the two overlap significantly. In this article, we’ll give you the best tips, tools and hobbies to support mental wellness to boost your recovery.

Mental health and addiction recovery tips

When you’re healing from addiction and rebuilding your life, there are various concrete ways to invest in your mental health. Of course, professional treatment is the first line of defense, but these activities can be supplements to formal care.

1. Journal

Writing down your thoughts, experiences and future plans is one of the best ways to support your mental health and addiction recovery. Look for addiction recovery journaling prompts, monitor your daily symptoms, and write down personal goals or muse about your day. Whatever you write, this time of self-reflection can bring you peace and purpose.

2. Meditate or pray

Dive into a spiritual practice to help center yourself, grow in mindfulness and find a source of strength. Take advantage of these tools offered by your faith or try one of your own. If you’re not sure where to start, find a guided meditation online or listen to ocean sounds while you contemplate your goals.

3. Learn to play an instrument

Learning to play an instrument may not sound like your cup of tea, but it takes several of the same skills as recovery does, like—perseverance, self-control, focus and a hard work ethic. Mastery of an instrument can also give you confidence and help you feel hopeful about accomplishing other tasks in life.

4. Spend time outside

Passing relaxing time in the great outdoors can induce feelings of enjoyment, calmness and positivity. This is the basis of nature therapy, which utilizes sunlight, fresh air, plants and more to increase mental well-being. Whether this therapeutic modality is a formal part of your treatment or not, getting out of the house is good for your soul.

5. Swim

Swimming laps or doing a water cardio class, like water aerobics, is a great way to keep in shape without putting unnecessary stress on your body. Not only is swimming a beneficial exercise, it’s also one of the most fun.

6. Spend restful time alone

The best reflection time comes with rest and quiet. In order to stay mentally strong in recovery you’ll have to set aside the distractions and conquer the hardest obstacle to sobriety: yourself. Once you are able to find inner peace and be comfortable with your own thoughts, recovery is within your grasp.

7. Set SMART goals

SMART is an acronym for goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely. These words should guide the process of setting both short and long-term goals in mental health and addiction recovery. This framework of goal setting can help you be more efficient so you can enjoy recovery sooner.

8. Find motivation

Internal motivation and external motivation are both essential to recovery. While a strong will can power you through many triggers, you also need to find other sources of inspiration when times get tough. Find a historical or modern hero who you hope to emulate, read encouraging stories or listen to affirmations online.

9. Find something you’re good at

You can find motivation and enjoyment in daily life when you start to progress in recovery and fill your time with new hobbies. Not only will activities keep your mind from straying to substance use, but being good at something can boost your confidence and keep you achieving. Relapse will be less of a danger when you have something valuable to lose.

10. Embrace new experiences

Keep your life engaging by trying new things as often as possible. New experiences don’t require grand, expensive adventures, either. Read a new genre, attend a local play, walk somewhere new or try a bold recipe. Proceed with caution though, since new experiences may invite new triggers into your life.

11. Share your journey

Talking about recovery was once taboo, but the stigma around the topic has dwindled as science has debunked the belief that addiction is a moral failure. Sharing your recovery journey is a brave task, but it can give you purpose and accountability. You may find that your story inspires others on their own road to recovery.

12. Call today

If you’re not already set up with treatment for an addiction, now is the time. Waiting to heal your body in your mind is a decision that harms you more than anyone else. You deserve to feel like yourself again and Real Recovery can help.

Partial hospitalization and outpatient programs can give you the boost you need to get on your feet again and leave addiction behind. With evidence-based and personalized treatment, you’ll be feeling free in no time. Call today.