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There are four main factors that can affect our energy levels: Nutrition, Sleep, Exercise and Stress. When I mention I’m feeling tired to family or friends, these questions are often asked: Are you eating well? Are you getting enough sleep? Are you doing any exercise? Are you drinking too much caffeine and not enough water? Are you dealing with stressful situations?
In recovery it is quite common to experience a lack of energy. Consider what your body has been through over the past months/years. Chemical dependency has assaulted your body and mind with toxic substances. Your body was put into overdrive as it tried to protect itself. In recovery your body has begun to repair itself, which takes massive amounts of energy and resources. But the main point to remember here is that fatigue is simply a symptom rather than an illness. The following tips will help you combat that feeling of tiredness in recovery and get your energy back:
· Patience - One of the best things that you can do to fight fatigue during this time is to be patient with yourself. Understand that your body has been beaten up by substance abuse and it needs time to bounce back. Don’t rush it.
· Rest - It is important to build downtime into your daily routine. Do something to soothe your nervous system, such as yoga, taking a bath, meditate, take long walks in nature. Having a restful sleep will help energy levels immeasurably.
· Exercise – Try walking, cycling, going to the gym, or a class; they can all energise you and help with a restful night’s sleep
· Drink lots of water- Dehydration is known to not only make you lethargic, it can exacerbate feelings of anxiety and stress. Keep a water bottle close by and keep sipping it. You could add lemon, mint, cucumber or drink herbal teas if you don’t like plain water.
· Nutrition - In the first year overcoming your chemical dependency, your nutrition needs are higher than normal. You need to make sure you’re feeding your body good food on a daily basis.
Recovery is also an emotionally trying time. Now that you’re in recovery, you’re tasked with facing life head-on, without the aid of drugs and alcohol to numb the realities you encounter. This may cause a host of emotions and even stress. Emotional stress takes a huge toll on your energy levels.
Silkworth Charity Group has proven to be a much needed establishment that helps people come to terms with their addiction and puts them on the road to recovery. We provide a tailor made programme in primary treatment which incorporates the above factors, as well as additional support in secondary treatment and the recovery day service. For example; our in-house chef, not only provides delicious food with the necessary nutrition, but he also involves the clients and shares his experience with them so they are able to take their new knowledge away with them, providing sustainable eating habits for the clients to continue after treatment.
We now offer Hatha Yoga at the Recovery Day service for people in recovery. The classes are run by Sara who explains “the postures are designed to open the many channels of the body, especially the main channel (the spine) so energy can flow freely.”
Our support worker James, also runs an Art Group at the Recovery Day service which allows people in recovery to express difficult thoughts, memories, and feelings without being constrained by words. It creates the opportunity to express inner thoughts, while helping to better understand and make sense of emotions and relieving stress.
Clients in primary treatment are taken to the gym twice a week and outings to some of Jersey’s beauty spots. Exercise and a change of scenery can really lift people’s moods and re-energise them.
What you must remember is that recovery takes time. Once you begin to do the work, your fatigue will slowly begin to fade. Day by day, you will feel much better. Everyone experiences different symptoms during recovery, but a lack of energy is common and only temporary, your body is amazing and will overcome it.
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