by Olivia Pennelle
I vividly recall my first two years of recovery as a time of immense change; mentally, physically and emotionally. In my previous post, I talked how recovery is more than changing addictive behaviors, our whole-self changes.
My experience has been that, once that pink fluffy cloud of being in recovery had lifted, I was faced with the physical damage of addiction. Being clean and sober helped repair the physical damage I caused, but I then faced the misery and desperation I felt about my weight. I gained 150 pounds in active addiction. I was eating in a way that was synonymous with addiction. I was exhausted and needed to find ways to get more energy naturally.
I got help and I learned how to change. I lost fifty pounds. I discovered the power of exercise as an effective stress reliever and now live a very active life. In my quest, learned how to harness the power of good nutrition to help me feel well. I make food choices today that nourish my body, provide immunity-boosting benefits, and keep me energized throughout the day.
Ways to Get More Energy Naturally – A Discovery that Took Time
But that process of discovery took time. I was exhausted for the first couple of years. I put that down to my body repairing the physical damage that I had caused. What fatigued me the most was the mental exhaustion of being present in life. I was suddenly expending energy in a way that I hadn’t for quite some time. While I held down a job, my only communication was in a business sense, I was unable to communicate effectively on a personal level because I was both completely disconnected from myself, and utterly consumed with using. I had no desire to speak to anyone unless they were going to feed my habit.
Recovery required uncovering who I was and learning how to communicate. It required discovering how my addiction had manifested in my life. My life was the opposite of living to use. Suddenly I was engaging with people every day; I was communicating how I felt with myself and others. Life consisted of meetings, step work, work, and sleeping. It became Groundhog Day. But I wouldn’t change it for the world. That hard work built the foundation upon which my recovery stands today and I would suggest the same course of action to anyone embarking upon this journey.
I just wish someone had told me what I now know—that I can be more energized in my recovery and I didn’t have to be as tired.
Ways to Get More Energy Naturally – Healthy Eating
There are some that may argue to take on board a healthy eating regimen into a recovery program is a step too far. I ask, why not deal with it when you’re forming healthy habits in recovery, to support you. Eating well isn’t a burden, it forms a catalyst for change. I’d go as far as saying that you might get more out of recovery if you ate well.
I’m not talking about faddy diets or eating plans that restrict food groups, or relentless exercising. I am talking about developing some healthy habits and making small, manageable changes that build up to overall change. We all know that fad diets don’t work.
Perhaps looking at healthy eating as a way of fueling our recovery, we might feel it less of a burden?
I’ve pulled together my top tips for ways to get more energy naturally:
• Make food exciting. Try lots of new flavors and textures, discover what you like.
• Eat a range of colored fruits and vegetables. Aim to eat a five per day. Start slow, and introduce one at a time. On Instagram, I follow several healthy eating people with food I like the look of. Be sure to check out Liv’s Recovery Kitchen.
• Drink lots of water. Dehydration is known to not only make you lethargic, it can exacerbate feelings of anxiety and stress. And energy is the opposite of lethargic. So drinking water is one of the best ways to get more energy naturally. Keep a water bottle close by and keep sipping it. You could lemon, mint, cucumber or drink herbal teas if you don’t like plain water.
• Rest. It is important to build downtime into your daily routine. Do something to soothe your nervous system, such as restorative yoga, taking an Epsom salt bath with candles, meditate, take long walks in nature. Having a restful sleep is also one of the best ways to get more energy naturally and will help immeasurably.
• Eat Raw Cacao. It is known to create energy and combat fatigue. It is quite possibly one of the most energizing foods, due to its concentration of a compound called theobromine, and the mineral magnesium. Theobromine can have a mild stimulating effect. Cacao also helps balance your mood and improve immunity. And, it is chocolate!! Who said eating well is boring?
• Exercise. Try walking, cycling, going to the gym, or a class; they can all energize you and help a restful night’s sleep.
It’s not rocket science, it is small, incremental steps that make the difference. It is with that approach, I lost 50 pounds and found numerous ways to get more energy naturally during recovery. I will share that journey in my next post.
If you or a loved one are struggling with an addiction and need treatment, our caring staff at Casa Capri Recovery would love to talk with you and see how we can help you. PLEASE CALL 855-816-8826. Our counselors are available to answer your questions.
Writer, blogger, nutrition and recovery advocate, Olivia Pennelle (Liv), is in long-term recovery. Liv passionately believes in a fluid and holistic approach to recovery. Her popular site Liv’s Recovery Kitchen is a resource for the journey toward health and wellness in recovery. For Liv, the kitchen represents the heart of the home: to eat, share, and love. You will find Liv featured amongst top recovery bloggers and published on websites such as: The Fix, Sanford House, Winward Way & Casa Capri, Intervene, Workit Sapling, Addiction Unscripted and Transformation is Real.
Melissa Holmes Goodmon, Founder & CEO of Casa Capri Recovery, obtained her BA in Psychology and is a Licensed Drug and Alcohol Counselor (LAADC) specializing in women’s core issues. She is recognized as a leader in the field of mental health and substance abuse recovery where she has been an advocate since 2006.