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Self-Care and It’s Importance in Recovery

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. In 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 making sure you’re taken care of so that you can do the things you need to do. Self-care has several components, including caring for yourself physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally, and socially.

Going for a jog, getting enough sleep, and making time for friends are all ways to promote positive self-care. Some self-care tasks are more difficult than others, however with time and practice, things will start to fall into place.

Why is it Important?

If we don’t take care of ourselves, no one will; we are responsible for our own well-being. This means we must learn healthy self-care techniques in order 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 little healthy habits. If you don’t take time for yourself, you can quickly become over-stressed, exhausted, disillusioned and disinterested in life.

Ever had a friend who needed a favor or to talk through something, but you were just too busy or tired to help? It happens all the time. When we don’t take care of ourselves we have nothing to give others who may need our help.

For those in recovery, self-care is especially important. Being worn down, isolated from a busy schedule or continuing with 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 own requirements.

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. If you notice that you feel overly stressed or fatigued, you may need to revisit your physical needs and adjust your schedule.

Emotional self-care means you are true to yourself. Emotions are not things you can control, but with time and effort, you can manage them in a healthy manner. Expressing your emotions is key to your overall emotional health. Creative outlets can help to relax and process emotions in an effective and healthy way, plus it can mean time for self which is important. Keep a journal, set boundaries, speak up when something is bothering you and don’t be afraid to just walk away if things become overwhelming.

Spiritual self-care can be one of the more difficult areas of life to cultivate and learn. Most people in early recovery are disconnected from spirituality. A spiritual connection must be created, accessed and maintained for it to benefit us on a daily basis. Meditation and prayer are two great ways to maintain a spiritual connection.

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

Last, but not least, social self-care involves keeping one of the most fundamental human needs satisfied. We are social creatures and without the love and support of friends tend to self-destruct. 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 Its Correlation to Self-Love

Taking care of yourself produces a better you. When you’re functioning at your best level, your sense of self-worth inevitably increases. When you have showed 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, both of which are important for a happy and healthy future. So often are we hard on ourselves, especially in early recovery. However, we must take a moment and appreciate the good qualities of ourselves—no one is void of positive attributes.

When you take the time, you may just learn more about yourself. You might find that you really enjoy a certain 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!