Can a Healthy Routine Prevent Addiction Relapse? 

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Many factors go into supporting long-term sobriety, but perhaps one of the most important is maintaining a healthy routine. Daily exercise and a healthy diet do wonders for your body and mind, fortifying them against cravings and ensuring your time is used constructively.  

By contrast, eating unhealthily and not exercising can negatively affect your mood, making you more vulnerable to addiction relapse. 

In this article, we’ll explore the causes of relapse, what a healthy routine looks like, and how to stick to it. 

What is an Addiction Relapse? 

An addiction relapse occurs when a recovering addict resumes drug or alcohol use after a period of abstinence. A relapse is not the same as a simple slip-up; it is much more serious and involves a full-fledged return to substance abuse. 

The chemical and structural changes in the brain brought on by addiction put many people in recovery in danger of addiction relapse. 

Why do People Relapse? 

Relapse is a common experience for people who are recovering from addiction or other problematic behaviors. In fact, it’s almost part of the recovery process itself. 

There are several reasons why people may relapse, including psychological, social, and environmental factors. 

One of the most important risk factors for addiction relapse is stress. Stressful events or situations can trigger cravings for substances or behaviors that individuals have used in the past to cope with stress.  

Negative emotions, such as depression and anxiety, can also increase the likelihood of relapse. These emotions can be particularly challenging to manage for individuals who have previously relied on substances or behaviors to regulate their moods. 

By implementing a healthy routine, individuals in recovery can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, and prevent addiction relapse. 

How Exercise Can Prevent Addiction Relapse 

Studies show exercise can be an effective strategy to prevent addiction relapse. It reduces stress and anxiety, improves physical health, helps you sleep, and more. 

Here are some of the many reasons exercise should be part of your healthy routine: 

  • Reduces stress and anxiety — Stress is a significant trigger for addiction relapse. Research shows that just thirty minutes of vigorous exercise releases endorphins, brain chemicals that create a sense of well-being. 
  • Improves physical health — Addiction can take a toll on physical health. Engaging in a healthy routine can improve physical health. 
  • Builds self-esteem — Addiction can damage self-esteem and self-worth. A healthy routine can help individuals build confidence and self-esteem by achieving goals and developing new skills. 
  • Creates a sense of purpose — Addiction can leave individuals feeling lost and without direction. Engaging in a healthy routine can provide a sense of purpose and fulfillment, which can help prevent relapse. 
  • Helps you sleep — One reason many struggle to sleep is they don’t burn off enough energy during the day. Research shows that performing at least 150 minutes of moderate to intense physical activity each week can enhance sleep quality by up to 65%.  

By scheduling workouts for a specific time, you can use exercise to help structure your day. Exercise in the morning, for instance, can lessen the impulse to stay up late or consume alcohol the night before. After-work exercise can be used as a justification for skipping happy hour. It can be simpler to stay on track if you follow a daily schedule designed to account for common times of weakness. 

Exercise doesn’t have to entail something dramatic like playing a sport or lifting heavy weights. Even walking thirty minutes a day can bring about substantial health benefits. Try different things until you find something that works for you. 

Other Examples of a Healthy Routine 

While exercise and nutrition are great ways to establish a healthy routine, there are other things you can do as well.

A healthy routine is a set of habits and behaviors that support physical, mental, and emotional well-being. That means not just exercise and a healthy diet, but adequate sleep and stress management techniques as well. It can also involve activities that bring joy and fulfillment, such as hobbies or socializing with friends and family.  

Here are examples of therapeutic activities that can assist in developing a healthy routine: 

  • Yoga and meditation 
  • Reading 
  • Journaling 
  • Prayer 
  • Hiking 
  • Volunteering 
  • Staying hydrated  
  • Waking up early and getting to bed at a reasonable hour 
  • Finding time to be alone to decompress and reflect; practicing self-care 

By implementing a healthy routine, individuals in recovery can reduce stress and improve their overall well-being.  

Tips for Sticking to a Routine 

Implementing a healthy routine can be challenging, especially during the early stages of recovery. Here are some tips to help get started: 

  • Set realistic goals: Start small and set achievable goals. It is better to start with a few small goals and build momentum than to set unrealistic expectations and become discouraged. 
  • Create a schedule: Schedule time for exercise, meal planning, and other healthy activities. This can help create structure and routine, which can be beneficial for recovery. 
  • Find support: Seek support from friends, family, or a support group. It can be helpful to have a support system to help stay motivated and accountable. 
  • Practice self-care: Self-care is an essential part of a healthy routine. Make time for activities that bring joy and relaxation, such as taking a bubble bath or reading a book. 

Remember that making substantial lifestyle changes is hard work and doesn’t happen overnight. Be sure to be patient with yourself, and experiment until you find things that work for you. 

Addiction Treatment at South Coast Behavioral Health 

We at South Coast Behavioral Health understand that addiction relapse is part of the recovery journey. 

Throughout Southern California, we provide compassionate care that is supported by cutting-edge research. Our gorgeous California treatment centers offer a close-knit community, highly qualified specialists, science-backed therapies, and addiction relapse prevention plans tailored to your specific requirements. 

Located in beautiful neighborhoods, our luxurious Southern California treatment centers also aftercare resources such as: 

  • Science-backed behavioral therapies 
  • Life skills education 
  • Nutrition and wellness 
  • Mindfulness, yoga, and meditation 
  • Recovery support groups 

We offer substance abuse treatment in California in the following locations: 

If you are in recovery and at risk of relapse, contact us today at 866-881-1184. Our highly-credentialed staff is available day and night, 24/7 to take your call.  


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