Self-Care and It’s Importance in Recovery

Sometimes, taking care of ourselves can be the hardest thing to do. However, with compassion, patience, and practice, self-care can easily become a new healthy habit. This article discusses self-care throughout and beyond addiction recovery.

Table of Contents

What is Self-Care?

Self-care is one of the most important aspects of life—every living thing requires some form of self-care, and people are no exception.

During addiction, many people become accustomed to ignoring basic human needs. Looking for and using more drugs or alcohol takes up so much time and energy that there is nothing left to care for yourself.

Self-care is simply the maintenance of self and ensuring you’re taken care of so you can do what you need. Self-care has several components, including caring for yourself physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and socially.

For example, going for a jog, getting enough sleep, and making time for friends are all ways to promote positive self-care.

Of course, some self-care tasks are more complicated than others; however, things will start to fall into place with time and practice.

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Why is Self-Care Important?

If we don’t take care of ourselves, no one will; we are responsible for our well-being. Therefore, we must learn healthy self-care techniques to obtain or maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Overworking is a common problem today. Many people have relationship and health problems related to too much work and too few healthy habits.

If you don’t take time for yourself, you can quickly become over-stressed, exhausted, disillusioned, and disinterested in life.

Have you ever had a friend who needed a favor or to talk through something, but you were too busy or tired to help? Unfortunately, it happens all the time. Sadly, when we don’t care for ourselves, we have nothing to give others who may need our help.

For those in recovery, self-care is essential. Being worn down, isolated from a busy schedule, or continuing unhealthy habits can all decrease your quality of life.

When your quality of life is down and you’re exhausted and stressed, the probability of relapse increases exponentially.

Types of Self-Care

There are several types of self-care; each is as important as the others and has its requirements.

Physical Self-Care

Physical self-care means you eat well, get enough sleep and eat a balanced diet, though, in today’s hectic lifestyle, these can be difficult.

Nevertheless, if you generally check in with your body and give it what it needs, you should be alright. However, suppose you notice that you feel overly stressed or tired. In that case, you may need to revisit your physical needs and adjust your schedule.

Emotional Self-Care

Emotional self-care means you are true to yourself. Emotions are not things you can control, but you can healthily manage them with time and effort.

Expressing your emotions is key to your overall emotional health. Creative outlets can help to relax and process emotions effectively and healthily; plus, they can mean essential time for self.

Keep a journal, set boundaries, speak up when something is bothering you, and don’t be afraid to walk away if things become overwhelming.

Spiritual Self-Care

Spiritual self-care can be one of the more complex areas of life to cultivate and learn. Yet, unfortunately, most people in early recovery are disconnected from spirituality.

A spiritual connection must be created, accessed, and maintained for it to benefit us daily. Meditation and prayer are two great ways to maintain a spiritual relationship.

Mental Self-Care

Mental self-care is just as important as all others. Remember: you are not a machine. As a human being, you need stimulus and relaxation.

So often, people try to work too hard in some areas of their life when they enter recovery to make up for the past. Remember that you deserve kindness, and don’t be afraid to take time to relax.

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Social Self-Care

Last but not least, social self-care involves keeping one of the most fundamental human needs satisfied.

Without friends and family’s love and support, we are social creatures and tend to self-destruct. So take time out of your busy schedule for friends and loved ones; go to a movie or meet for coffee and talk about your day.

Often, one action will provide you with several types of self-care. For example, meeting friends for dinner provides you with social, mental, emotional, and physical self-care.

The fulfillment of these needs doesn’t need to be complicated or overwhelming; after all, moderation in all things tends to be the healthier option.

Self-Care and It’s Correlation to Self-Love

Taking care of yourself produces a better you. Your sense of self-worth inevitably increases when you’re functioning at your best level.

When you have shown up and helped out consistently, how can you not be proud of yourself and your progress? Self-care leads to increased self-esteem and self-love, which are essential for a happy and healthy future.

So often are we hard on ourselves, especially in early recovery. First, however, we must take a moment and appreciate our good qualities of ourselves—no one is void of positive attributes.

When you take the time, you may learn more about yourself. For example, you might enjoy a particular pastime or exercise habit.

Taking care of oneself is not selfish or self-centered; taking care of oneself is a healthy and necessary aspect of life. Taking care of yourself brings happiness, and you deserve to be happy!

Learning to Forgive Yourself

Frequently, people struggle to practice self-care because they skip the self-forgiveness step. Yet, in recovery, forgiving yourself and allowing yourself to move forward is crucial to adapting to a recovery lifestyle, which affects positive change.

Life is messy, and humans make mistakes. However, the ups and downs of life are part of what allows opportunities for us to grow and change. So, try to see mistakes as opportunities to grow, be kinder to yourself, and allow learning to become part of the human experience.

Ultimately, the past is in the past, and nothing can change it. However, as our perspectives grow, we can see that nothing is permanent and that this too shall pass and change.

Embrace self-care and self-forgiveness, and look for the bright side of life; you will find it. You deserve peace and can create it for yourself.

You can do this; you have support and are not alone. Try to practice self-care today.

Sources

[1] Learning to Forgive Yourself in Recovery – Recover Today (abtrs.com)
[2] Why is Self-Care Important? (snhu.edu)
[3] 7 Spiritual Elements Critical for Addiction Recovery | Psychology Today
[4] Lifestyle Changes in Recovery: Rebuilding Family Relationships (abtrs.com)

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