When addiction takes over your life, it can quickly overpower your need to care for yourself. The addiction takes the front seat, causing you to neglect everything else your mind and body need. This places overwhelming stress on every part of your well-being. When you struggle with an addiction, practices like exercise, wellness appointments, and even basic hygiene needs can fall by the wayside. Other important needs, like your mental and emotional health, also get drowned out by your need to avoid being sober.
Once you begin the process of recovery, you’ll likely see that the importance of self-care is constantly emphasized as a critical component of your long-term success. Even so, many people still struggle with making self-care a priority. Taking care of yourself sounds like a simple task, but even though you may have learned that it’s important, your ability to remember to actively practice self-care during your recovery can get lost in the chaos of your daily life.
The Foundation to Success
As part of a successful recovery from your addiction, you will learn how to replace the need to use drugs or alcohol with healthier alternatives. Without the foundation of self-care, you become susceptible to destructive negative feelings. When you are not taking care of yourself, your mental well-being begins to suffer. You start to lose the ability to concentrate, and you can become vulnerable to responding to your cravings and triggers in an unhealthy manner.
Self-care has nearly endless constructive consequences. Self-care can help you maintain a healthy, stable mood that leads to other positive outcomes, such as increased energy and motivation. Self-care can build your confidence and help you learn healthier ways of coping with stress, anxiety, and other negative emotions.
What is Self-Care?
Self-care looks different for everyone. For some, it can mean a long bubble bath or purchasing that new clothing item you’ve had your eyes on for weeks. For others, it can mean taking a quiet moment to meditate and remember how far you’ve come. It’s about knowing what works for you and giving yourself permission to feel good.
The definition of self-care continues to evolve. The World Health Organization (WHO) states that “self-care is what people do for themselves to establish and maintain health, and to prevent and deal with illness.” Self-care is a fundamental form of health care in all societies. Its importance continues to rise in today’s culture and is now seen as a major public health resource. The WHO includes that self-care is a lifelong habit that individuals maintain for themselves and for their families, and one which will continue to benefit its practitioners as long as they live.
Self-Care Isn’t Selfish
Taking care of yourself is important. It does not make you selfish. Self-care shows that you believe that you matter, and that you will take the time to fill your own buckets. Learning to love and cherish your well-being can be challenging, especially when you are in recovery. No matter who you are or what your path has been, you are worthy of loving yourself and indulging in healthy self-care methods. Self-care is an essential part of your continued recovery and is recommended to be a part of your daily routine.
Tips for Taking Care of Yourself
Stay Connected: Addiction and depression thrive in isolation. Attend peer group meetings, be consistent in 12-Step programs, or find other ways to connect with sober friends and supportive family members. Preventing relapse can be a challenge when it comes to combating the negative emotions associated with poor mental health. Keep connected with your sponsors, family, and trusted friends. Even during the ongoing pandemic, there are ways to connect with groups using your smartphone or other electronic devices. If your self-care includes visiting a therapist, do not hesitate to establish and maintain that practice. Using telehealth services, you can access a licensed therapist through your smartphone, or through video-conferencing apps like Zoom and Skype.
Find Your Balance: Staying sober and managing your mental health while fighting cravings and triggers can be exhausting. The world around us is hectic, and transitioning back into it can feel scary. You may feel the need to dive right into finding activities that keep you busy and distracted. It’s important to strike a healthy balance between all the different parts of your life. Establishing times for work, your social life, and your recovery activities can feel overwhelming, but it’s doable and will make a big difference to your day-to-day. Placing too much focus on one aspect of your life can leave you feeling constantly stressed, which can put you on the fast track to relapse.
Listen to Your Physical Needs: Simply put, fueling your body with the right foods and exercise are essential. Some support groups offer options to join recreational teams, which can give you productive outlets for both your mental and physical needs. Additionally, getting adequate sleep leads to more consistent positive moods, while also increasing your energy and motivation.
Self-care is an essential part of every aspect of your life, but during recovery, it is especially important. Regardless of what anyone tells you, self-care is not selfish. Putting your mental well-being first will help you grow into the healthiest version of yourself. There are many ways you can engage in self-care, and its practice looks different for every person. Some enjoy treating themselves to massages or taking trips, while others get satisfaction from taking a solo drive. Make your self-care a priority. Practice mindfulness activities to sharpen your focus and find balance in all aspects of your life. Spend time with your support groups to share your feelings and frustrations. Listen to your body and fuel it properly. Sometimes we need help beyond self-care, and that’s okay. Reaching out can feel scary; at Everlast Recovery Centers, we’re here to provide you with the extra assistance you need throughout your recovery. Call today at 866-DETOX-25.