10 Activities You Should Try After Rehab
Recovering from substance use disorder (SUD) is a process that usually takes far longer than the rehab period. While cognitive-behavioral therapy and medical interventions are still the most important things to keep up with after rehab, most individuals will benefit from supplemental activities to further improve their recovery.
These activities can take various forms to suit all needs and preferences. The most important thing, it seems, is to choose activities that one can do regularly. Below are some activities widely recommended by SUD treatment professionals. If you’re interested in finding treatment programs in Massachusetts, check out this resource on Boston rehab centers.
Journaling is an activity that’s widely recommended during inpatient rehabilitation that should bring similar benefits afterward. Jotting down your thoughts can make it easier to get a sense of complex emotions and help you better plan out your recovery. Looking back at old entries is also a great way to get a sense of perspective, which may strengthen your commitment to getting better.
If you entered an inpatient program, chances are you will have tried some kind of meditative practice like mindfulness or some other meditation approach. Meditation has a host of useful benefits for recovering individuals. When done regularly, it helps reduce SUD-related anxiety, helps with emotional regulation, and may even spur the creation of new brain connections that bypass the ones caused by substance misuse.
Thankfully, meditation can come in different forms. Any somewhat repetitive mental activity that promotes mental focus can be considered to have meditative qualities. Activities such as gardening, yoga, running, and even playing video games can take on a meditative quality in some circumstances.
3.) Visual arts
What you can’t express through journaling, you might be able to through drawing, painting, or sculpture. Expressing emotions is usually the first step in defining and dealing with them. Engaging in visual arts can offer yet another way for one to express complex emotions that will make them easier to handle, later on. Additionally, creating art is a hobby that is also enjoyable in and of itself.
4.) Music creation
As with creating visual art, creating music is a good way of expressing what couldn’t necessarily be expressed in words. Making music is also a complex activity that, in some cases, also counts as physical exercise, especially in the case of drumming or using wind instruments. The way music creation engages and challenges both mind and body can be key to stimulating the growth of new brain connections, which is necessary for a full recovery from SUD.
5.) Caring for animal companions
Having a pet or volunteering at an animal shelter can be a great way to keep one’s self to a schedule, something that can be difficult to manage in early recovery. Additionally, the presence of pets and other animal companions has long been associated with a decrease in anxiety, trauma, and depression symptoms, all of which are common among people recovering from SUD.
6.) Taking classes you’re interested in
The time after rehab should be framed as the start of newer, better things. One of the best ways to do this is to enroll in classes related to things you’ve long been interested in but have not been able to do.
Not only will these classes keep you busy and productive, but they can also be an opportunity to improve your resume and perhaps switch to a career you are better suited for. Classes can also be an opportunity to find new friends who share your interests.
7.) Enjoyable exercise
Exercise has several proven benefits for people recovering from SUD. It causes the body to pump out hormones that help with mood and sleep regulations, things that recovering individuals often have problems with. It also promotes good bodily functions and helps maintain a healthy figure, both of which can help with confidence as well as day-to-day activities.
The key apparently, is to find an exercise you enjoy enough to do regularly. If the usual cycling and running don’t do it for you, you can also consider dance, swimming, hiking, or other activities that help you get your heart rate up.
8.) Being in nature
Taking some time off regularly to go hiking or fishing can be a good way to reduce anxiety, trauma, and depression symptoms, all of which are common during early recovery. Nature trips can also provide unique opportunities for peach and quiet as well as introspection, all of which are important for recovering individuals.
Psychodrama is a type of therapeutic acting where participants engage in role-play, dramatic self-presentation, or other acting activities. This type of activity can help recovering individuals get in better touch with their emotions and may help them actively exercise empathy, empowering them to be more effective communicators. This type of therapy could be done in support groups, specialized classes, or with a qualified therapist.
Volunteerism has been shown in various studies to help with various mental health issues associated with SUD and relapse. Being a volunteer for a cause you believe in can also greatly improve your motivation for recovery, which can be especially critical in the first few months after completing rehab.
These are just a few of the activities to consider doing regularly after rehab. Not everyone will enjoy or benefit from all these activities in the same way, so it’s important to keep trying different things. Your therapist or other qualified mental health experts should be able to help you better figure out which sets of activities will be the best choice in your particular case.