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Winter Woes While Recovery

How to overcome winter woes in recovery

Those harsh winter woes can certainly cause you to feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders, but it’s important to remember you’re not alone. Dealing with the ups and down of the winter blues can be daunting, but it is possible, even when also dealing with huge life changes like battling addiction issues.

Here are a number of ways you can help yourself beat the oppression of grey skies, heavy snow, and cold winter weather.

  • Despite the cold, harsh weather, being indoors too much can really contribute to that ‘down’ feeling. With short, overcast days, it’s easy to fall into a winter slump. That slump can get even worse if not dealt with and start to feel like a nasty infection in your soul. Force yourself outside, even if just for a short walk around the block. While you may not feel any immediate changes, a little outside time will be well worth it in the long run.
  • It’s more than just in your head and seasonal affect disorder is a real thing for many people and can easily lead people to feel irritable, sluggish, overly tired, or unmotivated.
  • Those who struggle with addiction and even those who might already be in recovery can be more at risk than your average person and have to take more drastic steps to avoid being overcome by the winter woes.
  • Wake yourself up earlier in the day and maximize the number of daylight hours you’re awake. A good rule of thumb is rising with the sun, and getting ready for bed as the sun goes down.
  • Exercise is very important (albeit harder to do in the winter). Force yourself into a hard sweat at least once per day. Scientifically speaking, if you get some form of vigorous exercise 3-5 times per week you will begin to notice significant improvements in your mood, energy levels, and overall attitude. Exercise produces a chemical in the brain called dopamine – the same chemical that’s released by using drugs, alcohol, food, sex, or anything else our bodies enjoy. When exercise becomes part of our daily routine, the overall levels of dopamine in our brains increases leading to more positive life outlooks.
  • Keep your friends and family close. It doesn’t matter what activities you do, but try to do things together. Lose the excuses and embrace a social life, you’ll be happy you did come spring.
  • A simple, but highly effective tool is the creation of a gratitude list (particularly for those in recovery from addictions). Simply write down what you’re grateful for and refer to it on a daily basis.
  • Drew up a schedule for yourself and stick to it. Regardless of how comfortable your couch might feel, make your schedule include things like appointments, exercise, social activities and going outdoors. These are your arsenal against the winter woes.
  • Focus on your spiritual life. It’s important to add this as part of your routine. Buy a spiritual or self-development book and commit to reading it for half an hour each day. Keeping your mind sharp and feeding it with good, healthy information is a strong weapon against the winter woes.

Remember, action is the strongest weapon against depression. Get up, get moving, and don’t get stuck again. Take your body on new adventures, get healthier and your mind will follow.

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Specializing in the treatment of alcohol and drug addiction, Cedars at Cobble Hill also provide treatment for other process addictions including eating disorders and gambling.