The Eight Dimensions of Wellness and How Maintaining Them Can Help Prevent Relapse
Substance addiction has a way of affecting the most important aspects of life. It can sabotage your health, relationships, finances, career, etc…Consequently, it only makes sense that recovery, too, should involve each essential part of your life to ensure your overall well-being. Focusing on the eight dimensions of wellness during your recovery journey can help you remain mindful of those crucial elements of your life.
When each of these elements, or dimensions, is balanced and well, you’ll find that it’s easier to maintain your recovery process and avoid the triggers of relapse. Here, we’ll explore these dimensions and how they impact lasting addiction recovery and relapse prevention.
Emotional / Mental
If you have an alcohol or drug addiction, your recovery is singularly tied to your emotional/mental well-being. In fact, there are three stages of relapse: emotional, mental, and physical.
Experiencing negative emotions like anger and fear and failing to manage them in healthful ways is the first stage of relapse. If left unchecked, it can lead to the mental phase where you may begin thinking about having a drink or using drugs, and then the final stage when you physically use them.
It’s essential to protect your emotional health by doing things that protect it. These might include:
- Meeting with a therapist or counselor
- Visiting sober-friendly settings
To protect your sobriety, it’s essential to maintain your emotional wellness and reduce stress by healthy means.
Financial stress can lead to worry, leading to chronic stress, frequently triggering drug and alcohol abuse.
Financial stress is tough because, often, our budgets are finite. We have only so much income at present. What you can do is to develop a strong financial plan and budget that sees you reducing your debt (if you have any) and leading a life that’s financially within your means. When your finances are stable, they can contribute to a more stable recovery journey.
Addiction recovery can throw a serious curveball on your social life. Initially, it can be challenging to move away from unhealthy relationships and detract from your recovery plan. Even so, maintaining healthy connections with family, friends, and a partner support a stable lifestyle and contribute to your emotional well-being. Loneliness can be a trigger for relapse.
It’s healthful to cultivate new, positive relationships that add love, laughter, and meaningful connections to your life.
Work plays a vital role in our lives. Of course, it provides a paycheck, which contributes to our financial well-being, but it also involves a tremendous amount of our time. Often, people leave rehab with no career or a career that’s in serious disrepair or with a career that they don’t enjoy, and that actually negatively impacts their emotional health.
The right type of work–and that’s different for everyone–can infuse life with meaning and purpose. As you get your life on track, consider pursuing a job satisfying to you beyond its salary.
Physical health contributes to recovery wellness in multiple ways. First, getting proper sleep and nutrition enhances the recovery process. Whether you’ve been addicted to drugs or alcohol for months or years, your body has been impacted. Attention to its physical needs supports healing. Exercise to enhance your physical health can also help you keep your recovery on track.
Exercise supports your fitness goals, of course, but it can also benefit your mood. When you exercise, you trigger the release of ‘feel-good’ endorphins. These molecules go to work healing sore muscles, but they also impact the brain, causing feel-good sensations. If you’ve heard of the phrase “runner’s high,” it refers to the feel-good mental reward that comes with exercise. And it’s a natural, healthy ‘high’ that you can enjoy as often as you like.
Pursuing knowledge, building your skill sets, and simply learning new things can benefit your intellectual wellness. Consider how much your drinking or drug use took up your time previously. Now, you’ve got to fill in that time with healthy things to do to keep relapse at bay. Focusing on intellectual pursuits not only fills your time, but it can reduce stress and add renewed meaning to your life.
To pursue knowledge, you can try many new things that people often find intellectually rewarding, such as:
- Joining a book club
- Taking an online course
- Learning how to paint or dance
- Enrolling in yoga classes
- Training for a new career
You can embrace learning formally by attending classes at a nearby college or community center, or you can enjoy it more informally by reading or finding tutorials to do at home.
Many people recovering from drug or alcohol addiction find that focusing on their spiritual beliefs complements their recovery plan. Some of these people turn to their religious community for support. However, spirituality doesn’t only signify a connection to a major religion. For some, spirituality reflects their sense of purpose and life’s meaning.
When your life feels spiritually depleted, it can signal trouble for your recovery plan. Even if you are not religious or belong to a religious community, you can embrace ways to support your spiritual needs, like meditating or journaling.
Finally, remember to maintain your environmental health. That means seeking out supportive and healthful environments and staying away from unhealthy environments that contain relapse triggers.
Many people in recovery seek the beach or the forest because nature is emotionally and spiritually uplifting. Find or create environments that stimulate your sense of well-being.
How We Can Help You with the Eight Dimensions of Wellness
Focusing on the eight dimensions of wellness is an alternative method to support you in your recovery goals.
However, there may be times when you need professional support from a bay area rehab. Wellness Retreat Recovery Center offers comprehensive substance addiction treatment programs designed to help individuals effectively manage their addictions to drugs or alcohol. If you’ve experienced relapse or feel that your recovery journey is teetering, contact us for help.
Additionally, if you or a loved one has not entered treatment to address your drug or alcohol addiction, visit us to find out how treatment can help you achieve lasting recovery.