One of the most beautiful aspects of nature is that it’s available to everyone, all of the time.
Spending time in the great outdoors produces a variety of positive effects on all people, but it’s especially impactful for those going through addiction recovery.
Nature has, since the beginning of time, offered unique healing qualities and methods that are not only free and accessible by everyone, but they’re qualities and methods that are proven to work.
One of the greatest keys to achieving a successful recovery and long-term sobriety is learning how to foster balance in your life. This includes emotional and mental stability, moderation with what you consume, frugality with your spending and so much more that those recovering from substance abuse have to learn.
Spending time in nature is one of the most powerful ways to witness true balance in action, which, in turn, allows you to connect even more deeply with your mind, body and soul, all of which nature possesses qualities to heal.
In this article, we’re going to break down how regularly spending time outside and being active plays an important role in helping someone through their recovery journey and after.
Why going outside matters
Those recovering from substance abuse often become disconnected from their senses, their environment and even themselves, but it can be difficult for them to realize it.
The ongoing use of drugs or alcohol can keep an individual suspended in a sort of mental and physical limbo, where they’re technically surviving, and yet, not truly living.
Nature is alive, though; it’s thriving.
Spending time outdoors can help reconnect people to themselves and the world around them by awakening their senses and reminding them of just how vibrant life can be, especially sober.
The benefits of nature
There is enormous evidence proving the countless healing properties that nature provides, not to mention the organic serotonin bursts it gives us through simply being immersed in it.
Nature therapy is still a relatively new field in Western medicine, but the benefits it provides to those recovering from addiction are powerful. Leading it to be one of the fastest growing holistic methods for helping people heal from substance use disorder.
Some of these benefits include:
- Calming our nervous system and helping to manage stress
- Strengthening our immune system
- Promotes better and more restful sleep
- Decreasing depression and anxiety
- Improving cognitive function and creativity
Whether or not you consider yourself to be a nature lover, you — like all people, those struggling with addiction and those not — can greatly benefit from spending time outdoors.
Different outdoor activities
It might seem terribly poetic to picture yourself silently meditating on top of a mountain for hours, but zen-based nature activities are not for everyone, and that’s okay.
When you’re going through rehabilitation or are in the early stages of independent sobriety, it can seem like there aren’t many activities to partake in out in nature.
There’s nothing wrong with that, it just means you haven’t yet found the type of outdoor activities that are genuinely fun for you; which means you get to experiment.
Some sober outdoor activities include:
- Water sports, such as jet skiing, surfing, snorkeling and swimming
- Hiking, backpacking and camping
- Reading, writing, painting and photography
In a world that’s so loud and so busy all of the time, it’s no wonder nature can seem boring to us. In reality, it’s full of energy, beauty and life — we just have to be willing and wanting to experience it.
Outdoor recovery programs
Earlier we mentioned the importance of fostering balance in your life, and it is equally as important to find a balanced recovery program.
Conventional treatment methods—therapy and medication—are an integral part of many rehabilitation programs, just as alternative methods—nutrition, exercise and nature therapy—are as well. But a truly balanced recovery program will have a combination of both.
Countless organizations offer outdoor recovery programs, and for many, nature therapy is an essential pre-existing part of their program.
Contact us for additional information
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use disorder, we’re here to help you through it. We know this can be a scary time, but it’s important to remember that you aren’t alone in this, and that recovery is not only possible for you, but it will be attained.
Here at Real Recovery, we believe in providing full-spectrum treatment programs for those struggling with substance use disorder, so we’ve created in-depth recovery programs that merge conventional treatment methods with alternatives.