Time spent outdoors, whether walking, hiking, or camping, is one of the keys to encouraging long-term sobriety. If you want to know how it can help you while you’re recovering from addiction, we’ve listed the benefits it offers.
Benefits of Spending Time Outdoors to Addiction Recovery
The benefits you can get from time spent outdoors while recovering from addiction include:
1. It promotes Vitamin D production.
Sun exposure is one of the best ways to increase Vitamin D levels in the body. When the sun’s ultraviolet B rays hit the skin cells’ cholesterol, it provides the energy needed for Vitamin D synthesis to take place.
Substance abuse has devastating effects on physical health, especially when done for a long period of time. With higher levels of Vitamin D, you can maintain a strong immune system and prevent many illnesses, such as diabetes and heart disease.
While recovering from addiction, many people encounter seasonal affective disorder (SAD) — a condition that occurs mostly in winter seasons due to a lack of sun exposure. When you spend time in nature, you’re less likely to encounter it.
2. It helps manage stress, depression, and anxiety.
Spending time outdoors is a great way to step away from all the daily stressors of life. The relaxing views and soothing sounds of nature have been proven helpful when it comes to managing stress, depression, and anxiety.
When in nature, the body reacts differently to stress. It experiences a decrease in cortisol, the stress hormone, and an increase in endorphin and dopamine, two of the hormones that promote happiness.
Recovering from addiction is an uphill battle. When you get stressed or depressed, you are at a higher risk of relapse. This is why spending time in nature plays a huge role in maintaining good mental health and long-term sobriety.
3. It encourages you to move and exercise.
Having a sedentary lifestyle while recovering from addiction does more harm than good. It increases the risks of serious health conditions, including osteoporosis, high blood pressure, diabetes, lipid disorders, and obesity.
For that reason, you need to look for addiction centers with outdoor activities incorporated into their treatment program — those that offer camping, hiking, walking, or any other addiction recovery activities that involve nature.
Doing such activities will encourage your body to move and exercise. Aside from staying healthy, you’ll get a sense of accomplishment from staying fit. These are great ways to encourage long-term sobriety.
4. It promotes better sleep.
When you spend time indoors, you are most likely exposed to the blue light rays coming from cellphones, computers, and televisions. These artificial light rays are harmful to your health because they affect the quality of your sleep.
The good thing is that you can lessen your exposure to them by spending time in the great outdoors. Doing so will correct your circadian rhythm and promote a healthier sleeping pattern while you’re recovering from addiction.
5. It boosts energy.
When you opt for treatment from addiction centers with outdoor activities included in their programs, you’ll get more energy every day. Not only does exposure to sunlight promote Vitamin D production, but it also keeps serotonin levels up.
With increased serotonin levels while recovering from addiction, you become more energized. It helps you become more enthusiastic about joining other addiction recovery activities, reducing risks for depression, anxiety, and relapse.
6. It improves cognitive function.
Research proves that spending time in nature has restorative effects on a person’s cognitive function. It helps improve problem-solving skills and the ability to focus, which are two of the most important things to have while recovering from addiction.
With improved problem-solving skills and focus, you’ll be able to control impulses and fight relapses. You’ll have the ability to think through challenges and see things that really matter to you.
7. It fights boredom.
According to experts, boredom is among the biggest threats to addiction recovery. Not only does it trigger relapses, but it also leads to several problems, such as eating disorders, anger issues, and mental illnesses.
Recovering from addiction is already a difficult thing to deal with, and you don’t need any more problems, such as the ones brought about by boredom. To avoid them, spending time in nature helps.
You can discover new hobbies when you do outdoor activities. Who knows? You might have an undiscovered passion for nature and wildlife photography, gardening, fishing, or geocaching.
8. It gives you time for introspection.
One of the best benefits of spending time outdoors while recovering from addiction is that you’ll have the opportunity to introspect without any disruptions. You’ll see how your life has gone off track, realize the importance of sobriety, and recognize that you can truly make an impact to change your life.
Introspection gives you self-awareness, self-knowledge, and self-reflection. Aside from being necessary for a successful recovery, these things are integral parts of continuous personal and spiritual growth.
Spend Time in Nature for Addiction Recovery
If you’re on the road to addiction recovery, Haven House Recovery Center is here to help you!
We develop customized treatment programs for every resident, including outdoor activities and work therapy. Our alcohol and drug rehab around Nashville, TN, has complete amenities, both indoors and outdoors, that you’ll have access to while you’re recovering from addiction. For inquiries about our treatment program, don’t hesitate to contact us today!