Healthy and Empowered Recovery: Holistic Approaches for Individual Paths

Many women are seeking paths to holistic health and sobriety. Every person needs to find their own unique mix when creating any wellness plan, whether that is seeking and maintaining sobriety, weight loss, or implementing elemental self-care practices of exercise and meditation. To achieve the desired success, we must utilize channels that draw from a wholistic perspective. There are many sources of inspiration and wellness advice, which is hugely beneficial because what one woman seeks and finds useful may not be for the woman standing next to her.

Many people begin their recovery journey with the well-known and classic Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), but searches on Google reveal newer groups such as Women for Sobriety and Yoga of Recovery, offering different options and approaches to holistic recovery.

Ayurveda teaches us that individuation is a necessary strength, while functional nutrition and integrative medicine school us in how to further support ourselves through nutrition and stress reduction and mindfulness techniques. It’s true, the toolbox is overflowing with the many supportive measures that can be used. For many, these include diet, meditation, replenishing supplements, amino acids and herbs, spiritual practices, yoga/asana, mindful movement and dance, and time spent honoring nature, all play key parts.

Although any individual’s rituals and regularity may not “perfect”, what matters is an individual’s devotion to the practices that hold true health on the rainbow spectrum of vitality. Here are some suggestions for those seeking supports on their recovery path:

  1. Sangha – This Sanskrit word means a devoted community of like-minded seekers. Whether it is a 12 Step or Women for Sobriety meeting, your meditation club, a hiking group, or your Moon Circle sisters, these all serve us, as we serve the group. We may find companionship, personal meaning, empathy, strength and support in these groups. This has never been more critical, as we live in a time where we all too often hide behind devices or desks for fear of judgment and self-comparison. Find your tribe and let your innate beauty shine!
  2. Sadhana – Here’s another Sanskrit term for you. Yogi Bhajan says “Sadhana is a personal process in which you bring out your best.” In other words, it is your daily spiritual practice. Obviously, this does not provide a specific outline for practice, but instead resonates with the idea of forming your own unique rainbow of meaning. For example, you may find great spiritual significance through your yoga and meditation practice, religious observances, pranayama, journaling, and/or prayer, or something else entirely.
  3. Sustenance – The whole foods variety of foods that are rich in nourishing proteins, fats, and nutrient rich, and minimally processed and sustainably sourced. Keep it simple, sister – and feed thyself in the manner that your divine being requests!
  4. Sun – and fresh air, and lots of forest bathing! Studies show that just 90 minutes walking in nature decrease rumination, a recurrent factor known in depression, and another study concluded that “forest environments promote lower concentrations of cortisol, lower pulse rate, lower blood pressure, greater parasympathetic nerve activity, and lower sympathetic nerve activity than do city environments.”
  5. Supplementwhen needed! Supplementation may not be needed as a general rule of thumb.  But it is a fact that many foods grown today provide drastically less calcium, iron, and Vitamins A & C than they did 50 years ago due to modern industrial farming practices, and we are subjected daily to many toxins that our bodies struggle to contend with, and remove. While we may do the best we can to reduce our toxic loads through living more mindfully, it is likely we can all benefit from supplements that help boost immunity and offset inflammation. These include such things as omega 3’s, a broad spectrum probiotic featuring 20 million of more CFU, and a great daily multivitamin. It’s amazing what this power trio can do for those who struggle with depression, anxiety, pain, and more.

Joy Herbst RN, MSN, APRN is a holistic nurse practitioner, empowered recovery guide, dancer, Ayurveda counselor and mother of 2 young boys. She works privately with those who struggle with depression, anxiety and substance use disorder, providing integrative mental health care and recovery support. Joy also offers weekly Yoga of Recovery classes and Women for Sobriety meetings. Joy is passionate about empowering her patients with co-created wellness plans that guide and reconnect them to their inner healer. She celebrates a grateful life of empowered sobriety since 2013. Connect at JoyHerbst.com.