Now that you’re sober, you worry your high-pressure job will end in a return to substance abuse. You’re tired of the same old stress relievers, though, and desire to live the more balanced, satisfying lifestyle you were promised when sobriety became your priority. The good news is that stress and drug abuse or stress and alcoholism don’t have to go hand in hand. Learn about different therapies and strategies to stay sober!
Sweat Once a Day
Do not discount the stress-relieving effects provided by regular exercise. Clinical evidence clearly demonstrates a strong link between regular exercise and a healthier, more relaxed state of mind.
You also don’t have to run a marathon or work out for two hours every day to enjoy its benefits. In fact, the most recent research indicates that you can accomplish just as much in 30 minutes as you can in longer stretches. And unlike antidepressants, which can take weeks to work, you’ll likely notice the emotional benefits of exercise immediately.
Before you lace up your sneakers, get medical clearance if you have an old injury, heart problems, or other limitations. Start slowly, too — people who go hard every day are much more likely to sustain an injury, derailing a fitness plan before it even gets going. That means Crossfit, the next local Tough Mudder, and other extreme-style workouts may not yet be your best choices.
If you belong to a gym, consider scheduling time with a personal trainer. Many gyms offer an initial consultation free of charge.
Choose an Activity That’s Right for You
If joining a gym isn’t your speed, there are plenty of other options to consider! Tennis is extremely popular, very social, and ultra-healthy. Like other sports, there are plenty of programs for beginners, so don’t let inexperience keep you on the sidelines.
Check your local parks and preserves — many maintain hiking and mountain biking trails. Climbing centers, competition events, boxing workouts, biking, Pilates, dance classes, skiing and snowboarding, ice skating, basketball leagues, swimming, home fitness programs — there are endless ways to get fit without joining a local gym.
Yoga is an excellent stress-busting workout that also makes calmness of mind a centerpiece of every practice. Best of all, yoga is an excellent choice if you are new to fitness.
Unlike other fitness activities in which skill level determines speed, trail, or weight, experts and novices can practice together comfortably in every class. That means you can go to hatha yoga with your best girlfriend who wants to be a fitness instructor and your husband who has never practiced.
There are also several styles of yoga. “Power” yoga offers more cardio, while Bikram (or “hot”) yoga promises to release toxins through lots of sweating. Hatha yoga is the gentlest — and probably the easiest to manage — for someone who is new to fitness. The soothing atmosphere and poses can yield a calmer disposition in as little as one hour.