The sun is shining, the temperatures are rising, and the days are longer. You know what that means – summer is officially here! While some may argue that summer can pose challenges to those in addiction recovery, with boozy BBQs, late pub evenings and cheeky cocktail picnics common, that doesn’t have to be the case. There are many ways you can take advantage of the season to boost your well-being and strengthen your recovery.
1. Go Outside
This is quite simple and doesn’t take much effort. Just being out in nature has proven to have numerous health benefits. Not only can it reduce stress and unpleasant emotions, but it can do wonders for your physical health as well.
Spending time in a relaxing natural environment can also lower your heart rate, boost your immune system, and soothe pain.
So go for a walk, soak up the sunlight, have a picnic, read or journal in the park, or just sit outside. Even if you only spend 30 minutes a day doing so, you will soon see a big difference in your mental and physical well-being. Just as going to a rehab like Smarmore Castle in the countryside can be beneficial to break routine, and immerse yourself in nature, the same is true in recovery.
You’ll find a lot more people out and about in the summer, so it’s much easier to meet new friends. Alternatively, use the time to reconnect with old friends and family. A lot of people have more free time and go on holiday, so it’s much easier to organise a get-together.
3. Take Up A Sport
Summer is a great time to be active, and physical activity is very important during recovery. If possible, do something that involves being outside, to get the maximum benefit. For example, try hiking, cycling, tennis, paddle boarding, or rock climbing. Some parks will also host free or low-cost yoga and meditation classes for local residents.
Sports can also be great for meeting new people. Because many sports and teams are seasonal, summer is a great time to get involved. Thanks to more free time and longer days, others are also likely to participate in something novel as well. If you’re looking to socialise, try joining a local sports team, or tagging along a Meetup group with an activity in your interest.
4. Find A New Hobby
Seasonal activities go beyond sports. There are many things to do during the summer that won’t be available once the leaves turn colours. So keep an eye out for summer festivals, community BBQs, or outdoor concerts. You’ll also have a much easier time finding various workshops, which allow you to try your hand at something new.
Finding something to do is crucial if you find you have too much free time. While it can be a blessing, it can also be a curse if you’re in recovery. Boredom is one of the factors known to trigger relapse, so it’s important to stay busy. Having something to do is also a great distraction.
If nothing else, take up volunteering for a cause you believe in – yet another way to meet more people. Alternatively, seek a non-stressful part-time job, such as working at a coffee shop or book store.
5. Try Gardening
Gardening may seem like a chore at first, but it doesn’t have to be. It’s actually a great way to combine three of the suggestions above. You’ll get to be outside, you’ll take up a new hobby, and you’ll get some physical activity. It is also a great way to practice mindfulness and relax.
Because of its many benefits, horticultural therapy is now being implemented at various rehab centres as a therapeutic technique. Gardening can provide you with a sense of accomplishment and teach you patience, discipline, and responsibility. These are all skills that are important in recovery.
No garden? No problem. You can plant some seeds on your balcony or even on your windowsill. Feel free to start with something easy like an herb garden or plant a few flowers.
6. Summer Holidays can be good for Addiction Recovery
There is no better time to go on a vacation than now. Having a change of scenery, even for a short time, can have a dramatic beneficial impact on your mind. It’s almost like hitting a reset button.
Holidays may be stressful, especially if you’re worried about being exposed to alcohol or drugs. However, there are plenty of health-oriented retreats that won’t expose you to temptations. A spa day is one option.
If you’re on a budget, you can opt for something simple, such as camping, which might not be as fun in the winter. However, it is peak travel season so you’ll likely find lots of deals. Your friends might be travelling as well, so you can tag along and save money by splitting costs. You can also have a staycation and pretend to be a tourist in your own city. Who knows what you might discover?
A word of caution here: always remember that your priority is to stay sober and there is no such thing as a holiday from recovery. In early sobriety, holidays should be approached with caution because early sobriety is about learning new, positive habits and a vacation can disrupt this process. Some people even think that they somehow “deserve” time off after a spell in rehab – and this is definitely not recommended.
7. Brighten Your Days
Step inside any shop during summer and you’ll find bright-coloured clothes and cheerful patterns. Many studies have shown that the colours you’re surrounded by, including those that you wear, have a strong effect on your mood. So there no better time to upgrade your wardrobe than now.
Likewise, you can do the same with your home. If renovating and redecorating seems too much, just add a few colourful accents. It can also help to open up your curtains and windows. The natural light and fresh air will do you wonders!
As another simple suggestion, try adding a fruit bowl in your home. That way, the colours can benefit your diet as well. Summer means that more fruits and vegetables are in stock, so you can load up on healthy vitamins and give your space a boost.
Rest and Relax in Summer, But Recovery Comes First
As mentioned before, there are some challenges that you may face come summertime. Extra free time increases the risk of boredom and relapse. Sure there are plenty of social events, but they may have alcohol or drugs. Being out and about seeing people have a good time may trigger you if you’re struggling with making friends. For this reason, it is important not to neglect aftercare.
At Smarmore Castle Private Clinic, aftercare is recognised as one of the keys in sustaining recovery. Therefore, we suggest that no matter what your plans are that you are aware of your triggers. Avoid any situations if you think they will put your recovery at risk.
Avoid Relapse this Summer with the Proper Plan
Have a relapse plan in place with various coping strategies. It may be tempting to take time off from responsibilities in the summer, but you should never neglect your continuing care, such as attending meetings, counselling sessions, or any therapeutic practices. If possible, have a sober friend with you or someone you can call for guidance.
In addition, always think ahead. For example, if you’re travelling, it is wise to look up local support centres or fellowship meetings where you’ll be going. That way, you can maintain your routine and seek help if necessary. Visiting new meetings in new places can be fun and can really make a trip memorable.
If alcohol is a trigger for you and you’ll be staying at a hotel, make sure to call ahead and ask them to empty the minibar of all booze.
If you’re struggling with alcohol, drug, or behavioural addictions, contact us at Smarmore Castle, we are open to offer advice on how to deal with your situation and recommend appropriate treatment options. Previous patients are always welcome to call us for aftercare support. Our staff can be reached for enquiries at 041 986 5080 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.