Self-care is essential to your well-being. If you avoid looking after your emotional, physical, or mental needs, you will suffer from more severe side effects and may even develop mental health or physical disorders. You deserve to be safe and healthy. Take care of yourself by ensuring that you stay aware of how you feel and what you need. For example, if you start to feel run down, check to see if you are getting enough sleep or are taking on too many responsibilities each week. Self-care should be flexible but consistent.
In 2015 the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine published an article on relapse prevention that lists self-care as one of the four primary steps to preventing relapse for individuals recovering from addiction. The report details the following benefits of mind and body self-care:
- Self-care decreases stress and increases relaxation, which is shown in studies to lower the risk of relapse.
- Negative thought patterns become disrupted when you begin to focus on the positive, reducing the risk of relapse.
- Being kind to yourself is a step towards building a healthy, happy new future.
The Importance of Aftercare
When you undergo addiction treatment or any long-term program, your program should include some form of aftercare or continuing care. Aftercare includes goals and resources you can use to keep your recovery on track when you return home. Most private and state-run facilities will encourage you to attend therapy, support groups, and regular medical health check-ups, among other things. The qualified professionals who will oversee various aspects of your aftercare will give you opportunities to explore and improve your self-care practices.
Aftercare itself is a form of self-care in that you will be getting support in areas of mental and physical health. You can rely on a therapist or self-help group to provide you with a safe space for exploring new, healthier ways of thinking about your future. You can also learn some excellent self-care exercises from trained professionals and peers who have been through similar experiences.
5 Tips For Self-Care
These five tips for self-care will give you room to expand your care routine and give you a starting place for discovering what approaches to personal well-being work best for you and your lifestyle:
- Set aside several 5 to 10 minute time periods for yourself each day. Use those periods to do something that makes you happy, even if that is as simple as taking a quiet nap.
- Stay hydrated. Adults should drink a minimum of 2.7 to 3 liters of water every day to stay healthy. Being dehydrated affects mood, cognition, and physical health. In addition, try to eat a balanced and nutritional diet to enhance the positive effects.
- Do something that makes your body feel good. A massage, bubble bath, relaxing day at the beach, or anything that leaves you feeling relaxed and happy in your skin should be an activity you work into your regular schedule.
- Communicate clearly and honestly with loved ones. You need to be able to tell them when you are feeling overwhelmed. Share your successes, worries, and other feelings with them. Few things can reduce stress to the same degree as having a loved one listen and give their support.
- Stay physically healthy by regularly doing some form of exercise that you enjoy. You will have more energy, less stress, and feel motivated after physical activity.
Examples of Self-Care
There are several different areas of your life that you need to stay aware of to practice self-care properly. Below we have given an example for each:
- Physical Self-Care: Regular physical activity, proper hydration, quality sleep, and nutritious meals are all necessary to remain physically healthy and fit. Your physical self-care will impact your mental health and emotions, so you may want to make it a top priority. If you find yourself staying up too late or having trouble falling asleep, you can try doing a meditative exercise before bed instead of surfing the web on your smart device. Even small positive changes to your routine can have a significant effect.
- Mental Self-Care: Allow yourself to say no to requests from family, friends, or coworkers if you feel stretched too thin. You should put your mental health first by ensuring that you do not put too much pressure on yourself by taking on responsibilities you may not meet on time.
- Emotional Self-Care: Take time to decompress after stressful moments in your day. Sometimes even taking 3 to 5 minutes to breathe deeply while listening to music or doing something else you find relaxing can be enough to balance out your emotions.
Self-care can take many forms, and you can try different things until you find activities that make you feel relaxed and calm. Incorporate them into your daily schedule so that you have moments of respite regardless of what else you experience within those 24 hours. With time you will notice a reduction in everyday stress. Evidence shows that practicing proper self-care can decrease the risk of relapse in various ways. Keep an eye on your routines and health so that you can take action. At Everlast Recovery Centers, we believe that everyone deserves to feel happy and content. There are plenty of ways to do this, including meditation, taking part in activities you enjoy, and spending time with loved ones. Your quality of life will improve if you take self-care seriously. You can learn more about our services by reaching out to Everlast Recovery Centers by calling us at (866) 338-6925.