How Can I Cope With Holiday Stress Without Substances?

How Can I Cope With Holiday Stress Without Substances?

The holidays are often a time of celebration and spending time with family and friends. However, it can also bring an overload of holiday stress. It is very normal to feel stress due to the hectic feelings associated with the holiday season or even the company you keep.

When you are in recovery from addiction, the holiday season can be particularly challenging. It requires learning how to cope with holiday stress and triggers without using drugs or alcohol. However, some tools and activities can help you to move through the season and be committed to your sobriety.

Holiday Stress

There are many reasons that you may feel stressed during the holiday season. October to January typically marks an increase in holiday parties and events. These events can put you in different situations than you are comfortable in, often socializing with people you do not know well. While social stress varies for each person, being in a new situation can commonly lead to some anxiety.

Holidays are also marked by an increase in alcohol and celebration. The presence of alcohol or drugs is a common trigger for those in recovery. Celebrations of any kind are often also a trigger when you are in recovery. The atmosphere of a party has certain sounds, smells, and energies that, in the past, likely cued you to have a drink, let loose, and join in. Due to these common triggers, it is essential to build coping skills that can help you to feel confident approaching the holiday season.

Coping With Holiday Stress While Maintaining Your Sobriety

Each person will build their own set of coping skills to manage stress. However, there are some tools to consider using this holiday season.

Treatment

Learning coping skills for various stressors in your life starts with effective treatment. At Enlightened Solutions, we believe in teaching clients skills that they can take into their lives. Holistic strategies include learning how to care for yourself and your needs, stress relief, and social skills. Therapeutic approaches we use include motivational interviewing (MI) and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).

Coping is a skill. The foundation of these skills will begin in treatment and grow. You will learn how to possess solutions that work for you. If you are feeling overwhelmed this holiday season, that is okay. With practice, you will continue to improve the skills that help you. If you think you may be vulnerable to relapse, it's essential to reach out for help.

Planning

One of the best ways to cope with holiday stress is to plan how to respond to stress. Take the time to create options for yourself and adjust plans to minimize stress during the holiday season.

Consider planning what you will do if you are in a situation where you feel cravings for drugs and alcohol or your stress level is very high. This includes planning what you will tell people if you decide to leave a holiday party or event early. You can also make a list of possible plans for when you are in such a situation and do not want to leave. Such options can include things like going for a walk, talking to a friend, or taking some deep breaths.

Self-Care

The holidays are a busy time, which means that self-care may fall off. However, researchers have found that self-care is vital to reducing relapse risk during recovery. While the holiday season gets hectic, your self-care routine can help you to manage the associated stress.

Keeping up with self-care will look different for each person. However, a self-care routine commonly includes the following:

  • Regular exercise
  • Healthy diet
  • Quality sleep
  • Stress reduction
  • Community

Remember that practicing self-care will help you to enjoy your holiday season more while maintaining your sobriety.

Communication

The holiday season is not a solo event. You are likely to celebrate with family, friends, and coworkers. While you may not be ready to speak to all of your loved ones about your recovery, communicating your feelings can help manage holiday stress.

Having others you can talk to about the stress you are experiencing helps to decrease the risk of relapse. It also allows you to get help in making adjustments for holiday plans. For example, speaking with your boss about a holiday party can help you to have support if you need it. Communication with family can also help them understand if you choose to leave an event early or potentially plan a celebration without alcohol.

Saying No to Holiday Stress

The skill of saying no to invitations or other things can be challenging. However, it can also be an important coping mechanism during the holidays – and any time of year. Remember, you can always say no.

Traditions often feel like obligations, but your recovery is the priority. If saying no to a holiday party helps you stay sober, by all means, it is worth it. Saying no this year doesn't mean you can't reassess next year.

The holiday season can bring with it an increased amount of stress for many reasons. It is a hectic season that can cause an individual to misuse substances or be triggering for a person in recovery. At Enlightened Solutions, we believe in helping our clients build a strong foundation of coping skills. These skills will continue to develop over time and can help you manage such things as holiday stress. We offer a variety of treatment options tailored to each individual client. Your recovery is about healing and learning how to live without drugs or alcohol. If you are looking for a holistic treatment option, we would love to help. Call us today at (833) 801-LIVE to learn more.


How Can I Encourage My Loved One to Seek Help?

How Can I Encourage My Loved One to Seek Help?

Watching a loved one struggle with a substance use disorder (SUD) is incredibly challenging. When a loved one is in active addiction, it impacts more than just themselves; it affects everyone they are in contact with, especially their loved ones. However, there are specific ways to encourage and support your loved one to get the help they need.

Confronting the issue of addiction is complex. The person may not be interested in what you have to say, deny the issue, and find it difficult to accept your help. However, motivating and supporting your loved one to accept the need for help and seek addiction treatment is crucial.

Challenges of Speaking to Your Loved One About Addiction

Having a loved one with an addiction is complicated, and speaking with them to encourage them to get help can seem impossible. Multiple challenges are common when addressing addiction with a loved one.

First, many individuals deny they have an addiction issue. While it is different for each person, accepting and owning up to their addiction is a big step. When you try to address their addiction, you may run into their feelings of denial, which can result in anger that is directed toward you.

Another big challenge is speaking with your loved one while using drugs or alcohol. Drugs and alcohol alter a person's ability to think reasonably and commonly change their perception and reactions. This presents a specific challenge as your loved one may not be in the right frame of mind to listen to you.

How to Encourage Your Loved One to Get Help

When you approach your loved one to encourage them to seek help, there are a few tools that can be beneficial. The language you use, your ability to listen to their point of view, and your willingness to help them find the best treatment for them can all improve your success in them getting into rehab.

Word Choice

The words you choose to use when communicating with your loved one can impact the outcome of the conversations. Research has shown that those who feel stigmatized are less willing to seek addiction treatment. Commonly, this stems from a belief that they are being accused of a moral failing.

When you approach your loved one, remember to encourage rather than condemn. Words to avoid include the following:

  • Addict
  • User
  • Drug abuser
  • Junkie
  • Alcoholic
  • Dirty

Instead, try using words that do not convey blame. Consider using the following phrases:

  • A person struggling with a substance use disorder
  • A person struggling with an alcohol use disorder
  • A person who is actively using drugs 
  • Engaging in unhealthy or hazardous alcohol or drug use

If your goal is to encourage and help your loved one get help, these words can help to convey your concern rather than appear as though you are passing judgment. Incorporating other phrases that communicate your concern can also help. Consider the following options:

  • I'm worried about you. 
  • I want you to be safe.
  • I'm wondering how you are doing. 
  • I noticed you seem to be having difficulty lately. 
  • You are not alone; I'm here to help.

Telling your loved one how you feel helps them know that you care about them and their wellbeing. It communicates that you are on their side.

Listen as You Encourage

One of the most beneficial things you can do when encouraging your loved one to get help is to listen. Listening conveys to your loved one that you want to hear how they are doing. It can help them sense that you are interested in learning about what is going on with them, which builds a rapport that can lead to them asking you for help in the future.

Listening also opens up a place for you to ask about their substance use. Asking them if they feel that their drug or alcohol use is a problem can start the process of change. While they may not immediately own up to their addiction, asking puts the question into their mind, and it can help them eventually notice and seek help.

Help Them Find Help

Being supportive of your loved one can take the form of offering assistance. While this depends on where your loved one is in the process of seeking treatment, when they are ready for help, you can encourage them to look at different types of treatment options and offer to help them look into them. For individuals with addiction, researching and identifying the right facility can be challenging. You can encourage and support them by helping them to find the proper treatment.

Importance of Finding a Way to Encourage Your Loved One

Every family is different. However, research shows us that family support can play a significant role in recovery success for an individual. Your loved one will benefit from encouragement and support from you.

At Enlightenment Solutions, we believe in community treatment options. While we treat individuals, our family program greatly benefits the client and their loved ones. Your loved one can overcome their addiction, but your support is vital to them getting treatment and being successful in recovery.

Watching your family member or loved one struggle with addiction is painful. While you likely want to encourage and support them in finding treatment, it can be a tricky subject to breach. However, there are tools that can help you to successfully encourage your loved one to make a change. At Enlightened Solutions, we believe that effective treatment often includes the entire family. In our programs, we encourage the families of clients to be active participants in the treatment process. During this process, clients and their families learn to improve communication and heal together. To learn more about our programs and to speak with a staff member, call us today at (833) 801-LIVE


How to Stick To Your Wellness Routine During the Holidays

How to Stick To Your Wellness Routine During the Holidays

It can be challenging to maintain a wellness routine during the holiday season. From hosting out-of-town visitors to parties and festivities to all the gooey, sugary, not-so-healthy treats, it’s easy to get off track. This doesn’t mean you can’t participate and still have fun; it just means requiring a little bit of vigilance and prioritizing. Maintaining a wellness routine is especially crucial for people recovering from substance abuse.

For many people in recovery, the invitation to a holiday party gives them pause, knowing full well there might be alcoholic drinks being served and people who don’t know they’re in recovery. That’s why we recommend a few suggestions of practices to end the year on a good note and start the next one on the right foot.

What Makes the Holiday Season More Difficult?

Many people in recovery struggle to stop themselves at one drink. For some, there is no such thing as “moderation” when the temptation is that severe. There’s no easy way to explain to out-of-town friends or relatives that you struggle with sobriety or that you haven’t been around much because you’ve been in treatment for the better part of the year. How much information you reveal is up to you, but it doesn’t make the situation any less uncomfortable. With luck, most people will be sympathetic and understanding rather than express judgment or condemnation.

Tips for Staying Sober During the Holidays

There’s no reason to hide in a hole for fear of relapse this season. You can participate in all the usual activities, just with a few safeguards in place. Consider the following suggestions.

Formulate and Maintain a Recovery Routine

The holidays have a way of throwing everyday routines into chaos. If you attend regular 12-Step meetings each week or meet regularly with a sponsor, keep doing that. Keep making time for regular exercise, continue making healthy meals, and go to bed at a reasonable hour. These are good life practices in general, but especially necessary for people trying to reset their minds and bodies in recovery. All of these practices help support sobriety and prevent relapse.

Say No to Triggering Events

You may be getting many invitations to parties at this time: friends’ parties, family gatherings, and office events. Depending on where these events take place and who will be there, we advise you to consider which invitations you accept. Will the event be held in a bar or a venue with an open bar? Will there be people there who might pressure you to “loosen up” and have a drink? These are essential factors to consider as you schedule out the last months of the year.

If you do have to say no, you can do so gracefully. You don’t owe anyone a specific reason for being unable to attend unless you’re comfortable giving it. Keep on making progress with your recovery, and you may be able to reevaluate invitations when next year comes around.

Have an Escape Plan

If you do decide to attend a party where alcohol will be served, prepare accordingly. Decide what you will say ahead of time if you’re offered a drink or how you’ll respond if someone asks why you’re not drinking this time. Plan when you will arrive and when you will leave. Ask the host ahead of time if there will be non-alcoholic options available, or bring one of your own (sparkling grape juice looks no different than champagne when poured into a fancy glass). Be sure to have a reliable form of transportation if you’re uncomfortable and need to leave early. You may want to schedule a call with your sponsor or attend a 12-Step meeting after for extra accountability.

Be Extra Helpful

One great way to reduce the temptation to drink can be to offer to help with hosting. When you’re busy carrying out trays and serving others’ plates, you’ll be able to take the focus off of yourself and any cravings. There is also increased motivation to stay sober when you know that people are counting on your help.

You may also want to consider filling your time with volunteering in your community. See if your local soup kitchen or homeless shelter can use an extra pair of hands this season. Doing good things for humanity is another excellent way to enable recovery – and feel good doing it.

Stay Sober and Well With Enlightened Solutions

Enlightened Solutions is a place to start rebuilding your life after struggling with addiction. We advocate for holistic ways of healing and living in order to be fully healthy. Some of the programs and practices we offer include:

  • Yoga: More than just a form of exercise or a way to improve flexibility, yoga is a practice in which participants get in touch with their bodies at a deep level. The poses are structured to allow the body to release tension and promote calmness and relaxation.
  • Meditation and mindfulness: By paying attention to the present and observing our thoughts without judgment or condemnation, we can learn how to redirect negative thought patterns.
  • Wellness and nutrition activities: Many people will be surprised at how much better they can feel, and what conditions may clear up naturally, simply by changing their diet. By learning to cook healthy meals with all-natural ingredients, you can start to feel better both physically and mentally.

The holiday season may be challenging and full of potential triggers, but you don't have to face it alone. At Enlightened Solutions, we offer a variety of treatment and wellness programs to help you in your recovery journey from substance abuse. Learn how to replace unhealthy habits with life-giving ones, change negative thought patterns, and rebuild a supportive community. Through our holistic treatments and practices, we have had the privilege of helping many people achieve long-term sobriety and live healthier and happier lifestyles. We believe in a “whole-person” approach that focuses on physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual healing. If you're struggling with addiction and need help, contact us today at (833) 801-LIVE to learn more. 


How Can I Cope With Conflict in Recovery?

How Can I Cope With Conflict in Recovery?

As humans, we are social creatures. This includes living and working with other people. Conflict is common between individuals and can range from mild to severe. Good communication and managing conflict are important coping skills in recovery. They are vital social and interpersonal skills that help you to manage stress, participate in your community, and develop healthy relationships.

In treatment, you participate in many types of therapy and groups. These will teach you how to communicate with others and manage many different types of relationships. As you enter recovery and leave treatment, you will continue developing your social skills. This includes incorporating methods of coping with conflict into your daily life.

A conflict is a disagreement. It highlights an incompatibility or difference of ideas. A simple conflict may be deciding what to have for dinner, while a more complex disagreement may be a discussion about where you want to live or how to best raise children. Regardless of the conflict, coping skills are integral in having successful relationships in recovery.

Coping With Conflict

When disagreements arise, it is normal to want to avoid them. However, you can learn how to manage these differences in a way that allows all parties to communicate, be heard, and find a compromise. These are integral social skills. At Enlightened Solutions, we believe in teaching these skills in our programs to help clients successfully cope with conflict and build relationships in recovery.

The Importance of Listening

You are only one part of a relationship or one person in a group. Learning to listen to others is an essential coping skill when managing a disagreement. When you listen to another person, you allow them to share their point of view. If you or another person is not allowed to share, negative feelings can grow and escalate into full-blown hostility.

Listening to another person's point of view does not mean you need to agree with it. Remember, active listening is a skill. Try focusing on what they are saying. This will help you to understand their perspective on the situation. The more you practice actively listening to others, the better you will get at it. Group therapy or peer groups are great places to practice this skill. Once you get the hang of it, it can be easier to listen to those you disagree with in your life.

Keeping a Level Head

Conflicts tend to bring up feelings of frustration and anger. Keeping a level head while you disagree is incredibly helpful. One tactic is to breathe. Breathing helps to calm your system and keeps you from jumping in before the other person has finished speaking or saying something you wish you hadn't.

Remember that it takes time to learn how to remain calm. This is especially true if you are discussing a topic that is very important to you. Taking time away from the conversation to calm down is always an option.

The Skill of Sharing

Part of being in a relationship and resolving conflicts is sharing your point of view. Being aware of what you think and being able to open up to others can feel intimidating. However, if you do not share your needs and perspective, it puts a barrier between you and other people. This inhibits the relationship from developing further. In treatment at Enlightenment Solutions, our clients learn to communicate with their mental health care providers, peers, and family members.

Learning to Compromise

The aim of coping with conflict is to work through problems with others with whom you have meaningful relationships. While it may not be necessary to compromise with a stranger, someone you may never see again, it is essential to do so with loved ones, family members, coworkers, and anyone you care about.

Learning to compromise takes time and requires listening, keeping a level head, and sharing. This is the action of working with another person or other people to find a solution that all can agree on. While this is not always possible, it can and does happen in many situations.

The Value of Improved Coping Skills for Conflict

Improving your coping skills to manage conflict is incredibly important. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), conflict is common in families where addiction is present. Therefore, in recovery from addiction to drugs or alcohol, you are likely to be required to manage different situations where others may disagree with you.

The value of these coping skills is that it helps you to be in honest relationships with others. These relationships provide support when needed. As humans, we are bound to disagree at some point. When you can cope with these disagreements and work through them, your relationships will expand and strengthen rather than disappear.

Conflicts are a normal part of human relationships. You will come across conflict in many individual relationships and groups. Coping with conflict, however, is very important in one's recovery. The skills needed to do so will help you find connections with others and build a community of support. At Enlightened Solutions, we help our clients develop the skills they need for successful relationships. Clients learn to actively listen to others, share their feelings and opinions, and keep a level head while communicating about their issues. If you or a loved one is interested in learning more about our treatment programs, please reach out to us at (833) 801-LIVE today to speak with one of our caring staff members. 


How to Relax During the Holidays

How to Relax During the Holidays

The holidays can be a hectic, stressful time. Yes, the holidays are supposed to be about family and spending time together. However, this in itself can be stressful or overwhelming for some.

Maybe the holidays make you feel lonely or isolated. You see friends and those around you spending time with loved ones and perhaps you feel a little left out. Or, maybe spending time with family causes you stress. If you are battling addiction, time spent with those you care about can be tense.

The holidays bring on stress and anxiety for many different reasons. People often feel financial pressure during the holidays. The obligation to buy gifts for everyone can be overwhelming. Sometimes, you might even find yourself taking on debt as a result.

If you are struggling with substance abuse or are in recovery, you may be working hard to re-establish financial stability for a variety of reasons. Feeling the pressure of buying gifts around the holidays can be very stressful if you aren't in a position to do so.

You are also more likely to be exposed to social situations that might involve substances. The holidays are known for parties. You may have a party for work, a party with friends, family parties, and the list goes on. If you are in recovery, these social settings can sometimes lead to discomfort or temptation.

Setting Boundaries

Boundary setting is something you may hear a lot about and discuss throughout treatment. Setting boundaries, especially with those you care about, can be tough sometimes. The truth is, setting boundaries can actually improve relationships. Often, when you are struggling with substance abuse, the relationships you have may become strained or tense. Boundary setting in recovery helps both parties heal and avoid any codependent or triggering behavior.

It is also important to set boundaries for yourself when it comes to navigating the holidays and the many parties and events they can bring. This does not mean you have to avoid these activities. Setting boundaries to ensure you are comfortable and avoid anything that could lead to temptation or relapse is key.

A few tips for setting boundaries in these settings include:

  • Leave early
  • Have an exit plan
  • Connect with your sponsor before and after the event
  • Bring your own non-alcoholic beverages

In addition to setting boundaries for yourself when it comes to attending events, you need to set boundaries for yourself when it comes to your own energy and time. Often, with the best of intentions, family members, coworkers, and friends may place high demands this time of year.

It is crucial to remember the importance of self-care in recovery. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed or unable to meet certain expectations, take a moment to explore your own needs. There is nothing wrong with putting yourself and your needs first. Sometimes, this might involve speaking up about how you are feeling, or creating a little distance between yourself and those who are applying the pressure.

Maintaining Balance

Recovery is all about finding your footing without drugs and alcohol. You are focused on building your new life and are likely choosing wisely when it comes to your environments and the people you spend time with. The holidays have a way of disrupting normal routines.

For example, you may have some time off from work for the holidays. This can be an excellent time to rest and recharge. Time off also provides you with extra downtime, which, especially in early recovery, can be tricky to navigate. It is best to stay consistent with your normal routine as best as you can during the holidays.

Wake up and begin your day with some quiet time or meditation. Even if you have the day or week off from work, you still want to start your day off right. Make it a point to continue making it meetings, even if it means attending at a different time, or leaving a gathering a little early.

Relaxation Techniques

When you do find yourself feeling overwhelmed and stressed out during the holidays, take some time to relax. A few activities to help promote relaxation could include:

  • Taking a warm bath
  • Listening to calming music
  • Diffusing essential oils
  • Engaging in breathing exercises
  • Practicing Meditation
  • Practicing Yoga

Maintaining the boundaries and balance you have created in recovery is critical. In order to avoid relapse, you must prioritize yourself and your sobriety during the holidays. It can be easy to let your guard down or give in to the pressures of others during this time. Extra stress and high expectations can lead to the temptation to seek substances if you aren't prepared with solid coping strategies. Make the effort to relax when you need to. Your success in recovery is your number one priority.

The holidays are a time for family, great food, and gathering. While this sounds joyous, it can also be stressful. The holidays have a way of applying added pressure. This can include financial pressure, pressure to spend your time with certain people, and pressure to expend energy on things and activities that may not serve you well. It is important to set healthy boundaries and work to maintain balance as you enjoy the holidays. At Enlightened Solutions, we help clients develop routines and habits that promote relaxation. This allows them to be better prepared to cope with stress and adversity in recovery. If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, call Enlightened Solutions today at (833) 801-LIVE.


How Can I Let Go of Regret?

How Can I Let Go of Regret?

Regret can be a powerful emotion. It can be very destructive if you allow it to be. You can feel regretful over many different things. You might regret a few unkind words you said or regret spreading a little gossip. You might regret your behavior or actions. Whether what you regret is large or small, the feelings can be consuming.

Regret can often spark feelings of anxiety and even depression. It can be easy to get lost in the what-ifs and play different scenarios over and over in your head. What if you didn't say those words? What if you stayed home that day? What if you worked just a little harder? The spiraling can continue as long as you will allow it.

If you are struggling with substance use disorder (SUD), you probably have a laundry list of things your regret. You may regret breaking the trust of a loved one. You may regret causing tension between you and a spouse or family member. You might regret losing a job or neglecting to pay your bills. Substance abuse has a way of causing us to think and behave in ways we are sure to regret. We might make poor decisions as a result.

Letting go of this regret can be very difficult. As you make the decision to enter treatment and seek help, you might be riddled with shame and guilt as a result of your past. You might even allow shame, guilt, and regret to keep you from seeking treatment for a while.

The Effects of Regret

What does regret feel like physically? Regret can often feel like a mild illness or a pit at the bottom of your stomach. It might cause headaches or even shakiness as a result of the anxiety and uneasiness it can create.

Regret also takes a toll on your mental health. It can cause you to feel distracted, sad, or even hopeless. Allowing regret to consume your thoughts even after making the decision to seek treatment can hinder your growth and healing.

Regret can create a persistent feeling of worry or uncertainty. It often strips us of any self-confidence when it comes to future success in relationships, careers, or other endeavors.

Learning How to Let Go of Regret

Letting go of regret does not necessarily mean forgetting about your mistakes. It does, however, involve forgiveness, making changes, and focusing on the future. Living in the past and dwelling on mistakes you have already made can leave you feeling stuck and unmotivated.

Practice Forgiveness

Learning to forgive yourself is the first step. You must acknowledge your progress and give yourself credit for making the decision to pursue change. Seeking help takes significant courage. This should encourage you, as you are proving to yourself that you are capable of making the right decision.

While you may never forget the hurtful things you said or the mistakes you made due to your addiction, it doesn't mean you have to continue beating yourself up over them. It may be safe to assume there are plenty that you may not even remember. Forgive yourself. Addiction takes control over our minds, bodies, and spirits. Give yourself some grace and understand that you are choosing to do the right thing now.

Make Necessary Changes

The next step toward letting go of regret is making changes. In order to avoid making the same mistakes that caused your regret, you have to change the way you think, behave, and act. Choosing to seek treatment is a great step toward change.

As you go through the treatment process, you will continue to evolve in many ways. It is important to embrace the changes that occur as you heal. Be open to trying new things that will add value to your life in recovery. Know that you are changing for the better as a result of your sobriety.

Focus on the Future

Focusing on the future is another key component when it comes to letting go of regret. If you continue to think about the things you regret, you are more likely to repeat them. Instead, choose to focus on all the good things. Think about how far you have come since choosing to seek help for your addiction. Think about the relationships you are mending and the healthy habits you are adopting.

Don't continue to let regret stand in your way of a successful future in recovery. By forgiving yourself, making the decision to make a change, and focusing on what is to come, you can find peace and happiness in recovery from SUD.

Regret is something we all feel from time to time. When it comes to recovering from drug or alcohol addiction, regret can be very disruptive and hindering. Regret causes us to focus on the past and leads us to dwell on what we could have or should have done better. Addiction strips us of our control. It is important to understand the power in this and recognize that the things we said and did while under the stronghold of addiction may not have been our choice. At Enlightened Solutions, we help clients learn from past thoughts and behaviors and focus on moving forward toward healing. We help divert focus from shame and guilt to the hope that can be found in recovery. If you or someone you care about is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, we would love to help. Call Enlightened Solutions today at (833) 801-LIVE.


How Does Nutrition Affect Mental Health?

How Does Nutrition Affect Mental Health?

Food and mental health, how do they relate? There is actually a very close relationship between the food we eat and the way we feel mentally. The truth is, how we feel can affect our decisions about food, just as the food we eat can affect how we feel.

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be difficult. In fact, making healthy food choices can become second nature once you develop a habit of making them. When it comes to mental health, eating a nutrient-dense balanced diet can contribute tremendously. There have been countless studies on the ways in which various diets affect functioning and overall health. Fad diets come and go, but organic, balanced, and nutrient-dense foods will always be your best bet.

Life can be hard, and everyday stressors can take a toll on your mental health. Even more difficult can be the challenges faced as a result of substance abuse. There will be many ups and downs along the path to recovery, but there are ways to ensure you are in your best state to cope with them. You have to eat, right?  Why not make choices that support good mental health?

Planning Ahead

Sure, it’s easy to pull through that drive-through and grab something quick on your way to work or to run errands. Sometimes, it’s not as convenient to actually cook or prepare something a little more nutritious. Meal prepping is always a good idea. This takes the guesswork out of it and allows you to grab and go. Planning ahead and creating meals and snacks ahead of time can feel like a little extra work upfront, but it makes things so much easier throughout the week and on busy days.

Impacts of Unhealthy Foods

Eating healthy makes you feel good. When you feel good, you’re more likely to be more active, focused, efficient, and productive overall. Eating unhealthy foods that are filled with processed sugars and ingredients can leave you feeling less than your best and significantly impact brain health. Unhealthy foods, or junk food, can often increase levels of stress hormones and result in a lack of energy, motivation, and focus. As further explained in the article “Food and Mood: How Do Diet and Nutrition Affect Mental Wellbeing?” by Joseph Firth, James E. Gangwisch, Alessandra Borsini, Robyn E. Wootton, and Emeran A. Mayer, "Although mood itself can affect our food choices, plausible mechanisms exist by which high consumption of processed carbohydrates could increase the risk of depression and anxiety—for example, through repeated and rapid increases and decreases in blood glucose.”

Good Nutrition During Treatment

Good nutrition is important for everyone. It’s particularly important for those who are trying to heal from substance use disorder (SUD). Addiction takes a toll on your mental, physical, and spiritual health. It takes time and intentional efforts to repair the damage caused by abusing drugs or alcohol. Eating healthy, organic foods during treatment and throughout recovery can help promote more complete and faster healing.

Maintaining a healthy diet throughout treatment and recovery is important for a variety of reasons. In order to get the most out of your treatment experience, you need to feel your best. A lot goes into feeling your best, but a large component of that is determined by what you put in your body. Drinking enough water and choosing to eat healthy foods and balanced meals can make a huge difference. You are better able to focus on learning during your therapy sessions and group meetings. You will be more motivated to stay on track and will stay aware of your goals. You will also have more energy to try new things and engage in other health and wellness activities that also promote better mental health.

Healthy eating can actually be fun! As you become more comfortable with trying different healthy foods, it can be fun to create new recipes using more organic and nutritious ingredients. You may find that you really enjoy cooking and preparing healthy meals. Engaging in cooking classes and wellness activities during treatment can help you develop habits and hobbies to carry with you throughout recovery.

Like anything else, healthy eating can sometimes take practice. Your appetite may have been significantly impacted by your substance abuse. Often, you develop an unhealthy relationship with food during this time. It could be that you were eating way too much of all the wrong things, or maybe you weren’t eating enough. Either way, treatment is an excellent time to allow your body to reset and fill it with healthy organic foods.

After eating this way for a while, it can become second nature. Habits, good or bad, can be easily formed and difficult to break. Once you break habits of poor eating and make it common practice to make good food choices, it becomes easy to maintain and implement into your routine throughout recovery.

Good mental health is so important. Achieving good mental health and maintaining it can certainly be challenging at times. Eating healthy can help. By making good nutrition a priority, you can feel better, look better, and function at your best. When you feel good and are in a good space mentally, you can better focus on your recovery and making the most of life. You can achieve a healthier lifestyle and promote better healing by choosing a treatment center that prioritizes organic and nutrient-dense foods. Enlightened Solutions offers a full menu composed of locally grown organic foods, many of which are grown on-site at the Enlightened Farm. Healing begins from the inside out. Let us help you restore your health and begin your journey to recovery. If you or someone you care about is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, give Enlightened Solutions a call today at (833) 801-LIVE.


Reinforcing the 12-Step Process Through Yoga

Reinforcing the 12-Step Process Through Yoga

When was the last time you practiced yoga? Maybe you had a great practice just yesterday, or maybe you have always wanted to try it but feel a little intimidated. The great news is that yoga can be adapted to all abilities and experience levels. When used as part of the treatment process for substance use disorder (SUD), yoga can help promote healing and can reinforce the 12-Step process.

Yoga is something that has been used for centuries and provides many benefits. These include advantages to your mental health, physical health, and spiritual health. Yoga began in India over 5,000 years ago and is still used today because of its many benefits. With time, the practice has evolved, and several forms have developed with varying levels of difficulty and intensity.

You can find the practice in many different settings. These days, yoga studios can often be found in city centers and suburbs. Yoga instruction can take place in educational settings such as schools and universities. You can also find yoga classes being taught in more clinical spaces, such as rehab facilities like Enlightened Solutions, and as part of therapeutic programs.

Yoga was created to connect the body and mind with the understanding that without this connection, one cannot be fully well. The idea was always to encourage awareness and mindfulness of the present. This was believed to create a higher sense of consciousness.

Today, yoga continues to serve these purposes and many others. The body-mind connection continues to serve as the primary intention and, if achieved, can impact many other areas of function and well-being.

Benefits of Yoga

Yoga is beneficial to the body in many ways. Yoga is an effective yet gentle form of exercise. This makes it ideal for anyone just beginning their fitness journey or recovering from an injury. It can also be adapted to challenge more experienced athletes. Yoga promotes better strength and flexibility, improving general wellness and overall quality of life.

Practicing yoga has various advantages when it comes to mental health and processing as well. Because yoga encourages a mind and body connection, practicing can help with understanding and accepting different thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Better sleep, focus, and increased patience/calmness are also often experienced.

Yoga and the 12-Step Process

Let’s briefly discuss the 12-Step process. This process for recovery was created by founding members of Alcoholics Anonymous and is a widely used method among treatment programs and facilities worldwide. Each of the Twelve Steps involves a different gradual focus toward seeking sobriety and entering recovery. While each step is different, they all incorporate change and strength mentally, physically, and spiritually.

So, how can yoga help with understanding and reinforcing the 12-Step process? This is done by associating each of the Twelve Steps with specific yoga poses. You are making a mind and body connection that allows you to understand and process each specific step fully. Many people learn best by “doing.” This is because you are forming a mind and body correlation to whatever the task may be. This reinforces the information and new strategies you are learning and helps store them in your memory.

Both yoga and the 12-Step process involve mental and physical strength. Each requires awareness of self and the surrounding world. Yoga 12SR classes encourage you to push beyond your limits physically, just as therapy and the 12-Step process encourage pushing beyond your limits mentally. Essentially, you are connecting the cognitive efforts outside of the studio with your physical efforts in the studio.

Yoga and Addiction Recovery

Addiction can often leave those impacted feeling isolated or disconnected. You may feel lost or unsure of who you have become. Yoga helps re-integrate the mind, body, and spirit and can promote healing from the inside out. Because addiction impacts physical, mental, and physical health, this can be very helpful.

Yoga promotes mindfulness, which is crucial during addiction treatment and recovery. It can be difficult to process the changes you experience mentally, physically, and spiritually throughout the process. It can be easy to get distracted or consumed with focusing on past mistakes or feelings of shame and guilt. Yoga serves as an outlet for understanding, expressing, and healing.

Yoga teaches you to check in with yourself and make a habit of doing so regularly. Much like the Twelve Steps taught throughout treatment at Enlightened Solutions, yoga is and should be a long-term practice. Whether you enter the program as an experienced yogi or have never tried it before, you will leave with a better understanding of yourself and how to use the practice to enhance your treatment and recovery experience.

Yoga integrates the mind, body, and spirit. This connection is essential for long-term success in recovery, and for overall well-being in life in general. Building a good yoga practice can help you remain connected to yourself and mindful. Creating correlations between the 12-Step process and yoga can help reinforce the principles. At Enlightened Solutions, we incorporate yoga as part of our program for many reasons. Our instructors will help you develop a practice that works well for you and promotes internal and external healing. We incorporate the 12-Step process into our yoga practice to allow for a connection between the cognitive work you are doing in therapy and the physical work you are doing in the yoga studio. If you or someone you love is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, make the decision to seek help today. Give Enlightened Solutions a call at (833) 801-LIVE.


Treating Anxiety Naturally

Treating Anxiety Naturally

Anxiety is something that many people experience throughout their lifetime. Some may struggle with it daily, while for others, it may come in waves or be situational. Studies show that over 40 million adults in the United States have an anxiety disorder, a little more than 19% of the population.

This number doesn't include the hundreds of thousands of people who are likely undiagnosed, chalking their symptoms up to circumstantial stressors. The truth is, some degree of anxiety can be normal, and can even be a good thing in moderation. When symptoms become excessive, however, it can become problematic.

Treatment for anxiety can vary widely. Some may choose to manage symptoms with medication. Others may opt for psychotherapy or counseling. Many elect to receive a combination of both medication and therapy.

How to Identify Anxiety

Temporary fear or worry about things such as finances, family, or health issues is totally normal. An anxiety disorder is present when the worry or fear does not pass, increases over time, or interferes with day-to-day life such as work, school, or relationships.

There are several different types of anxiety disorders. These include generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, social anxiety disorder, and various phobia-related disorders. Symptoms can vary for each type, but a few common symptoms of each can include:

  • Feeling restless or on edge
  • Being easily fatigued
  • Struggling to focus
  • Irritability or mood shifts
  • Aches and pains such as headaches, muscle aches, stomach discomfort
  • Feelings of worry or dread that are hard to control or irrational
  • Insomnia or difficulty falling or staying asleep
  • Feeling self-conscious
  • Increased heart rate
  • Excess and uncontrollable sweating
  • Shaking
  • Chest pain
  • Feeling a loss of control
  • Increased heart rate
  • Trouble with eye contact
  • Feeling judged

Benzos for Anxiety

Anxiety is often treated with benzodiazepines, more commonly known as benzos. These medications are also widely prescribed for insomnia, stress, epilepsy, and for sedation purposes. With anxiety and the other mentioned challenges being so prevalent, benzos are among the most frequently prescribed medications in the United States.

Benzos work by slowing down the central nervous system as they increase the activity of the neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid. This produces a calm feeling and can even lead to drowsiness. It is for this reason that benzos can also be used to treat insomnia.

Benzos are only to be used temporarily or for short periods. This usually involves only a few days to weeks of usage at a time. Unfortunately, however, some providers continue to prescribe them to be used for longer durations. This creates a tolerance for the suggested dosage, often resulting in the misuse of the medication. More is required to get the calming effect once achieved with the prescribed dosage. Just like that, a habit is formed. There is also the risk of overdose when mixing benzos with alcohol or other drugs.

Alternative Treatment Options

Benzos should be considered a small piece of the full treatment plan for anxiety – if included at all. Psychotherapy is an excellent addition to medication therapy or an alternative form of treatment for anxiety. Psychotherapy can include techniques such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), experiential therapy, and holistic therapy. Each of these options can be highly effective in treating anxiety and can be used to supplement, reduce, or replace the use of benzos for treating anxiety and related symptoms.

CBT increases cognitive awareness and encourages eliminating negative thought patterns. This form of therapy creates an increased understanding of how one's thoughts and emotions are affecting their actions and behaviors.

Experiential therapy involves the reenactment or recreating of significant events or experiences in a person's life. Various activities, tools, or props are often used in this form of treatment. Role-playing can commonly be incorporated to help one re-live and process the experience. Activities could include horseback riding, surfing, kayaking, acting, and more.

Holistic therapy refers to treating the whole person. This approach focuses on the mind, body, and spirit and is very integrative. Examples of holistic treatment modalities could include art therapy, music therapy, chiropractic, yoga, meditation, and consuming organic foods. Holistic therapies often involve lifestyle changes and healthy routines to improve one's overall quality of life.

Depending on the source, severity, and frequency of one's anxiety, choosing a therapeutic approach may be just as beneficial as prescription anxiety medication and, in many cases, can be a more sustainable treatment option in the long term. Knowing the habit-forming risks of benzos, it could be worth considering alternate options to treat anxiety before or in addition to seeking medication. At Enlightened Solutions, we offer a range of evidence-based therapies to treat addiction to prescription drugs, including benzos.

Benzodiazepines are the most frequently prescribed medications in the United States. They are very commonly prescribed for the treatment of anxiety and several other disorders. Because of the risk of misuse, addiction, and even harm when taken in excess or combined with other substances, other more natural options should be considered. Therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, experiential therapy, and holistic therapy can serve as an excellent addition or alternative to benzos for the treatment of anxiety. Enlightened Solutions specializes in holistic therapy, and utilizes treatments such as art therapy, music therapy, and yoga, in addition to chiropractic, meditation, and organic food programs as part of individualized treatment plans. Our highly trained staff encourages healing and restores hope through these treatment modalities and can assist you in regaining control of your life. If you or someone you love could benefit from our treatment offerings, call Enlightened Solutions today at (833) 801-LIVE.


New Mental Health Crisis Hotline - 988 - Set to Launch

New national suicide and mental health emergency hotline launches July 16th, 2022

Beginning Saturday, July 16th, 2022, people experiencing mental health emergencies can dial just three numbers to reach help from the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

The line will be referred to as the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, to emphasize that the service is for people experiencing a mental health crisis of any kind, not just those involving suicidal ideation.

This is not a new service, but rather a simpler way to access the critical support they might need during a mental health crisis. Anyone in the United States can text or call 988 to reach trained counselors who can help them cope with a mental health emergency, and direct them to additional resources for mental health and substance use treatment.

The Lifeline’s old number will continue to work, but the launch of the new service brings with it more help and resources to be able to help with suicide crisis as well as emotional distress and general mental health concerns.

“If you’re unsure, call,” said Dr. Robert Trestman, chair of the American Psychiatric Association’s Council on Healthcare Systems and Financing. “Having an anonymous opportunity to speak to someone who knows what they’re talking about, who won’t be scared when you say, ‘I don’t know what to do, I’m thinking of hurting myself’ — this is an extraordinary option,” Dr. Trestman said.

When a person calls 988, they will first be connected to one of 200 local centers to help connect them to community resources or dispatch emergency services if necessary. However, not every state has set up local crisis teams that can respond to a mental health emergency, in which case callers will be automatically directed to a national backup center.

Now everyone, all over the country, can reach a counselor simply by calling 988.

Counselors will talk through the root of someone’s distress — whether it stems from illness, job loss, family stresses, or any other issue. They will help callers create concrete next steps to take after they hang up, including thinking through who else they can turn to for help, like a trusted clergy member or a local therapist.

Calls are anonymous, but in an emergency, such as if the caller requires medical attention, 988 can collaborate with local police or hospitals to dispatch services.

Why is the new number so important?

Tragically, suicide rates are on the rise in many states and it leaves a lasting impact on families and communities. Over the last 10 years, the suicide death rate has increased nearly 35% making it the 12th-leading cause of death in the United States. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, in 2020 alone, 12.2 million adults seriously thought about suicide, 3.2 million made a plan and 1.2 million attempted suicide in the past year.

What can family and loved ones do to help?

The new 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is going to be an important tool for those in crisis. Families, however, oftentimes see their children or relatives struggling well before the point of crisis. They could be struggling with depression, anxiety, PTSD, substance abuse, and other disorders. Enlightened Solutions is here to help.

Enlightened Solutions offers those suffering with mental health and addiction issues a place where they can learn more about their struggle, find the support of others going through similar experiences, and make the necessary changes to their lives so that they can live well. Our integrated whole-person approach goes beyond just the symptoms to address underlying mental health conditions and the root causes of the issues and addictions. Give Enlightened solutions a call today at (833) 801-LIVE.