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Thursday, December 29, 2016

Caregivers: Steps to Stress-Proof Your Diet

Have you ever effortlessly finished off a bag of chips or box of cookies after visiting your loved one in rehab? Have you noticed that your pants are getting a bit snug? Does working out seem like a selfish and lofty goal right now? 

If you’re a caregiver and answered "yes" to these questions, you’re not alone. For many, the reality is that caregiving can easily lead to weight gain – whether due to emotional eating or a lack of time and energy to cook and exercise. 

But the reality is also that compromising your health to care for someone you love is not doing you or your loved one any favors. Instead, practicing self-care by eating right, managing stress and exercising will help you be a better caregiver. It will also set a good example as your loved one embarks on a new healthy and sober life. 

Don’t wait for the New Year – start today and manage your stress and your weight with one of these tips.  
  • Think moderation. You don’t have to completely ditch the comfort foods, but you do need to pay attention to portions. Make an effort to stick with a serving’s worth. Hint: Never eat from the bag or box but instead doll chips or cookies into smaller bags.
  • Choose smart snacks. While there’s no one food to eliminate stress, certain nutrients do provide a steady, reliable source of energy to get you through the day feeling focused and balanced so you'll have the ability to conquer anything. Some winners: asparagus, avocado, berries, nuts, oranges and green tea. 
  • Distract yourself. The next time the desire to eat away your anxiety strikes, do your best to divert your cravings. Go for a walk, listen to music, read a book, or even toss in a load of laundry – whatever will keep your mind and hands busy. 
  • Make an effort to move. It’s not new advice but it works. Exercise has been continually proven to boost feel-good endorphins and bust stress. And even a brisk 15-minute walk can do the trick when food cravings hit, according to a study in PLOS ONE.
  • Start a food journal. Writing down how you’re feeling when hunger strikes can help you identify any patterns and help you become more conscious of what you’re eating and why. Journaling is also a great way to let go of any bottle up emotions. 

Help for Families
At Red Oak Academy, we understand how easy it is to feel out of control when a loved one is addicted. We have a strong commitment to providing support to the parents and families of those entering treatment. Becoming involved with their treatment in a supportive manner gives them the best chance of success. To learn more about our family program, call today: 866-831-9107.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Make the Most of Rehab This Holiday Season

Being in rehab during the holidays is tough – but it may also be crucial to your long-term sobriety. Food and alcohol-laden parties can be tricky to navigate. Plus, there’s the added stress and emotions from ramped-up family time. And, if you don’t have close family ties, you may also be struggling with feelings of loneliness. 

For these reasons, many rehabs strongly discourage leaving the facility for the holidays. The temptation to relapse is just too strong. 

Think of it this way: Getting help and being somewhere safe at holiday time is the best gift you can give to yourself and your loved ones. And just remember: You won’t be in rehab forever! 

In the meantime, try some of these steps to make the most of the days ahead:
  • If possible, ask a loved one or friend to come visit and spend a few hours with you. 
  • Arrange a time to Skype or Facetime with your family or friends, even if you can’t see them in person.
  • Find out if it’s possible to bake cookies or a favorite holiday treat with the staff. 
  • Use this time to do a little extra work on your recovery. This way, you’re a step closer to being able to go home. 
  • Write letters or make cards for your loved ones. Fill them in on your recovery or holiday wishes.
  • Get involved. Whether there’s a gift exchange or volunteer opportunity, seek out and participate in whatever holiday activities are offered at the rehab.
  • Take some quiet time and reflect on all that you have to be thankful for this season. 
Rehab for the Holidays: The Gift That Keeps On Giving
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance use disorder or addiction, call 866-831-9107 to speak to an admissions specialist and begin your journey toward recovery today. We are available 24/7, every day, including holidays. Season's greetings!

Friday, December 16, 2016

Nostalgia During Recovery: What You Need to Know

The road to recovery comes with dozens of mixed feelings and emotions – some helpful and some harmful. One such feeling is nostalgia, or a wistful longing to return to past times or circumstances, which can be tricky and may even lead to relapse if you’re not careful.

This is because nostalgia can enable you to romanticize things and remember only the good – whether you’re nostalgic about getting high with friends, bar hopping with buddies, or a past romantic relationship or friendship you had during active addiction. And you’ll likely forget all of the bad – feeling sick the morning after, embarrassing yourself in public, hurtful remarks uttered to friends and family, etc.

Remind yourself daily why you choose to commit to sobriety – and then try these tips to use nostalgia to support your recovery:

Be selective. You can be conscious about what you are and are not nostalgic about. For instance, it’s okay to summon pleasant memories of your loved ones – and, in fact, these memories might even help give you the strength to get through some tough times in rehab. Reminiscing about your drinking or drugging days is dangerous, however, and can work on the mind to tempt you back to addiction. 

Focus on your new sober life. It’s not easy to get past the positive feelings you associate with your addictive days – it was likely a big part of your life for a long time. However, you now have the chance to find fulfillment in experiences, people, and activities that will ultimately improve your life. 

Make new memories. Recovery is the perfect time to repair past relationships, form new friendships with peers, and create new sober memories. The more you focus on the present, the less likely you’ll be nostalgic for the past. 

Your Individual Path to Recovery
Everyone’s journey from addiction to sobriety is different and we’re here to help guide and support you in yours. Red Oak’s addiction programs utilize many paths to develop lasting change in emotional and spiritual growth. To learn more, call today: 866-831-9107.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Dos and Don’ts of Digestive Health

Years of alcohol or drug abuse can wreak havoc on your gut. Plus, some studies suggest that your digestive health can impact your overall mental health. This is because gut bacteria has been found to play a key role in anxiety and depression, influencing how you think and how you feel. 

Luckily, boosting your digestive health doesn’t require a huge overhaul to your dietary and lifestyle habits. And many of these steps may already be integral to your addiction recovery plan.

Say “yes” to…
  • Fiber. Loading up on fiber-rich foods (veggies, legumes, and fruits) will help prevent constipation and keep things moving through your digestive tract. Experts recommend 25 grams of fiber a day. 
  • Water. Good old H2O is great for dissolving fats and soluble fiber and keeping you regular. 
  • Probiotics. They’re found in foods like yogurt and kefir and have been study-proven to combat poor diet and stress and improve digestive functioning. 
Say “no” to…
  • Coffee and cigarettes. These stimulants can be a recipe for heartburn, ulcers, and overall poor digestive health. Try cutting back until you manage to quit entirely.
  • Supersized meals. Eating or drinking too much at a single sitting can cause fullness, reflux, and bloating. Staying full with frequent small meals will also keep blood sugar levels stable and help you resist giving in to other problematic cravings.
  • Stress. Unmanaged stressed is a surefire way to kick your digestive system into overdrive. Try incorporating yoga or meditation into your daily rehab activities.
Nutritional Therapy at Red Oak Recovery
Our nutritional therapy program, as part of our drug and alcohol treatment, approaches food and eating holistically. The food we prepare is designed to heal the body from the malnutrition and dehydration that substance abuse can cause. To learn more, call: 866-831-9107.