Self-care and addiction recovery go hand in hand. Progressing through your recovery is all about taking responsibility for yourself and showing yourself the love and respect you deserve physically, emotionally and socially.
Think of what flight attendants tell you about oxygen masks and safety measures prior to taking off: “Secure your own mask first before assisting others”. We can’t take care of others if we can’t take care of ourselves.
Associating self-care with selfishness is a mistake. By not taking care of ourselves our health, happiness, and relationships suffer. Someone ends up having to take care of us, which is clearly more selfish than just practicing self-care to begin with.
So how do you practice self-care? Well here are 7 practical tips that’ll help you create a self-care practice that addresses your physical, emotional and social needs:
You don’t need to sign up for a marathon and start training to get some exercise. Going for a walk, a bike ride or joining a recreational sports league, will all get your endorphins running and help to relieve stress. Endorphins are the body’s “feel-good” chemicals that are activated by physical exercise and help to diminish pain while also triggering positive feelings. So, get up, get moving and get the good vibes rolling within.
Get Enough Sleep
A good night’s rest is essential for not only your physical health but also your mental health. While asleep, our bodies are at work healing and repairing our heart and blood vessels to support healthy brain function and maintain our physical well-being. Whether or not we get enough sleep affects how well we think, react, work, learn and get along with others. Keeping a regular sleep pattern is beneficial both physically and emotionally.
Fuel Your Body with Healthy Foods
There is such a thing as mood-food. What we ingest can impact our mood, making us feel tired and grumpy or awake and vibrant. During recovery, some people replace bad habits with new bad habits like eating junk. Rather than swapping one vice for another, make a healthy diet a part of your routine to ensure that while you take care of your body, you are also taking care of your mood.
Be Kind to Yourself
Think about the conversations you have with yourself, would you speak that way to someone you love? If not, then make a conscious effort to be kinder to yourself. Begin your day with morning affirmations, start a gratitude journal where you thank and acknowledge yourself for your own accomplishments. Recovery takes work and you deserve the self-recognition that you have made it to where you are. It’s a big deal!
Easier said than done we know. But, it is also widely known that stress is a killer. Recovery is not an easy road and the ability to cope with stress is essential for maintaining a successful recovery. One of the major causes of relapse is the inability to cope with stress. As such, making time for yourself to relax is pertinent for a proper self-care practice. Whether it’s getting a massage to physically unwind, going for a stroll in nature to reconnect with the beauty of this world, or scheduling time for meditation, it’s important to take time for yourself each and every day. Even if it’s only for a few minutes, make the time to reset and relax.
Your Tribe Reflects Your Vibe
Surround yourself with a support network that embraces your recovery. Whether it’s a peer support group, a recovery fellowship, sober friends or supportive family members, having a tribe/crew/network that allows you to share your story, feelings and daily musings is a part of self-care. We are social beings and we need to have people in our lives who support our goals. Who we surround ourselves with has a major impact on how we view the world and our own place in it. Ensure that those who have a place in your life, help you grow and blossom into your already beautiful self.
This falls in line with our previous point about choosing wisely those that are a part of your life. Self care is not selfish – not taking care of yourself is – because that means someone else will have to pick up the slack. Setting boundaries with others means protecting your sobriety and letting others know that you are sober and are living a sober lifestyle. If you are uncomfortable in a situation, say so. By letting others know where you are at – you can prevent awkward social situations and create new relationships with like-minded people.