Three Benefits of Spending
Time Outdoors in Recovery

It’s no secret that going outside can drastically improve your mental health; in fact, studies have shown that spending time in nature can reduce symptoms of mental illnesses like depression and anxiety, and can even lower stress levels. [1]

For individuals in recovery, whether or not you’re also undergoing Dual Diagnosis Treatment for a mental health disorder, taking the time to go outside offers many more benefits than just making you feel a bit better. Let’s talk about how spending time outside can be a resource for you in recovery.

1. Getting More Physical Activity

In addition to the strong correlation between going outside and seeing an improvement in your mental health, studies have shown that increasing your physical activity levels can also reduce stress, anxiety, and depression, and improve your overall mood. There’s also evidence that being more active can improve your sleep and increase your energy and alertness levels. [2]

But being “active” means something different for everyone, especially if you’re used to a more sedentary lifestyle. If that’s the case for you, “getting more physical activity” doesn’t mean you need to go out and get a gym membership or sign up for a personal trainer — simply taking a 30-minute walk a few times a week is a good way to start.

Choose The Right Job

2. Picking Up a Hobby (or Two)

Starting a new hobby, or rediscovering your love of an old hobby, can be an important facet of your recovery, as it gives you something you can focus on and enjoy without the use of substances. Taking that a step further, choosing a hobby that will allow you to spend more time outdoors — such as hiking, running, biking, and rollerblading — can have the additional benefit of improving your mental health, simply by doing it outside.

Not every hobby that takes you outside has to include heavy physical activity, either. Fishing, reading, and even meditating are relaxing activities to enjoy in the outdoors, but again, sometimes just going for a walk in the park or finding a serene spot in nature to practice your mindfulness will be enough to help you feel mentally rejuvenated.

3. Building and Maintaining a Support Network

We’ve said many times before that having a solid support network is crucial to your recovery, whether it’s made up of people in your past who support your sobriety or your peers and counselors from rehab. In addition, participating in outdoor activities is a wonderful way to connect with other people, and form new friendships based on shared interests — ones that aren’t associated with substance use.

Maybe your community has an outdoor yoga club that meets at the park, or a community garden where you can socialize with your neighbors if you’ve decided to pick up gardening. Your local library or coffee shop, or even perhaps your neighborhood Facebook group, may advertise such gatherings.

Substance Abuse Recovery in Mississippi

At Extra Mile Recovery, we understand that the environment in which you begin your recovery creates the foundation for your journey. Nestled along the historic Old Natchez Trace trail, our peaceful and private facility is serene, comfortable, and remote, so you can spend time in nature as we work with you to find the root causes of your addiction, identify and address your triggers, and teach you the tools you’ll need to tackle any struggles that may arise in recovery.

If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, reach out to Extra Mile Recovery today.

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