One of the dangers for women is the underlying presence of anxiety and/or depression during their addiction to drinking or drugs. When beginning the road to sober living, the alcohol, which previously prompted a run to the bar or to the liquor store, is no longer disguising the anxiety or depression. So, removing the cover might make feeling depressed or anxious more acute.
Despite the challenge of beginning to feel those heavy emotions, healthy lifestyle practices can ease the pain. Eating nutritional foods, regular physical activity, and even activities like yoga and meditation, which facilitate an inner connection, can play a significant role in achieving sobriety. For women in particular societal pressures, family expectations, habits, roles in the community, responsibilities at a child’s school, the state of health, and even spiritual or religious tradition can influence whether healthy lifestyle habits are implemented.
However, the truth is that the absence of those healthy habits can only add to depression and anxiety. For instance, lack of physical exercise can contribute to depression as well as become a habit when a woman is already feeling depressed. According to the Center for Disease Control, studies have found that the presence of depression is linked to the transition from active to inactive lifestyles. So, when a woman is reaching for sober living and depression becomes more pronounced, there’s often a greater need to get moving! There’s a greater need to get physical and exercise on a regular basis!
What’s great is that those healthy habits, including exercise, don’t have to be intense. For instance, to experience benefits from exercise, you don’t have to run three miles a day; simply taking a walk regularly can boost mental health. However, if you’re up for a greater challenge, and you want to show your support for others in recovery too, then consider walking or running a 6K race in New York City.
This August, the opportunity to run a 6K marathon beckons you. For anyone, man or woman, interested in supporting the recovery community nationwide and who wants to weave more exercise (and healthy habits in general) into their life, this event is meant to bring the community together to:
- Break the stigma of mental illness and addiction.
- Celebrate the heroes and heroines of recovery.
- Raise money for Xcel University, an educational organization for children and adults, advocating higher education, mental health awareness, and quality mental health services for everyone.
The New York Heroes 6K begins at New York City’s Riverside Park at 103rd Street Promenade and takes runners throughout the city. Registration begins at 7:30am and the race starts at 8:30! And you can expect prizes, awards, and post-race nutrition to rejuvenate your body.
And if you can’t make it to the race, adding healthy habits to your life can ease the transition from non-sober to sober living. Getting enough sleep, eating well, exercising, and having friends (certainly an weekly AA meeting) to talk with about your process can support sober living.
One way for a woman to stay emotionally healthy, in addition to physical health, is to feel that they are well supported. Sometimes it’s hard for women to ask for help – all the more reason to run (you can walk too) with the recovering community in New York City in August! But if you can’t make it, find a loving and supportive community to keep your heart and your body healthy as you move ahead on the road to long-term sober living.
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