How to Practice Self-Care in Recovery
When you hear the phrase “self-care,” you might picture something like breakfast in bed, a little retail therapy or a plane ticket to an exotic beach location. And while all these things can be a way of caring for oneself, self-care at its core actually does not need to be quite so elaborate. In fact, self-care is really about recognizing and meeting even the smallest of needs so that you have the strength to tackle the biggest of obstacles.
Because let’s face it – even something as simple as keeping up on the laundry can seem insurmountable when you have not gotten enough sleep.
Why is self-care important in recovery?
Self-care is important to the success of detox and addiction recovery because it focuses on meeting your needs in a way that is healthy, respectful and necessary. It is not about extravagance or any other self-care stereotype social media might promote. Proper self-care focuses on meeting needs like sleep or rest, food and exercise to promote a sense of wellbeing and stability.
All of these things — sleep, healthy food and exercise — are necessary aspects of addiction recovery. If you’re not eating well, your body won’t be able to properly recover from the physical illnesses of addiction. If you’re not getting enough sleep, you won’t have the needed energy to continue persevering through the harder parts of treatment. And if you’re not exercising, you won’t be feeling the natural rush of adrenaline or endorphins (or using it as a healthy coping mechanism for emotions like anger or frustration).
Meeting these basic needs can significantly improve your recovery process, not to mention create some good habits for the rest of your life.
How can I practice self-care?
There are countless ways you can give yourself some TLC during recovery, and you know best what those ways are; but in case you’re in need of some ideas, consider the following self-care practices.
Go for a walk
Exercising doesn’t have to be pounding the treadmill or lifting weights. You can get daily exercise (and some Vitamin D) simply by going outside and walking around the block. If you like music, give your walk a soundtrack to motivate your steps; or remain present in the moment and listen to the sound of the neighbors, the cars going by and the wildlife in the area. Even a fifteen-minute walk has the power to clear your mind and refresh your spirit.
There are so many different kinds of journaling ideas out there that it doesn’t have to be a “Dear Diary” thing by any sort of means. Maybe you just want to keep a log of your day; maybe it’s a prayer or meditation journal; perhaps you want to try your hand at art journaling; or, if you’re working on improving positivity, consider a gratitude journal.
Journaling gives you the ability to do it in whatever way benefits you personally. So whether it be a creative outlet or a way of externalizing thoughts and emotions, consider it a helpful self-care tool in recovery.
In a world overrun by technology, little emphasis is put on the benefits of working through a novel. But reading can be a huge boost to your mental health, and your brain as well. Reading a book — be it a fictional, nonfictional, or self-help text — gives you the satisfaction of seeing your progress, enhancing your vocabulary and even providing healthy entertainment. Plus, you can do it anywhere. So get yourself a good read, find a quiet corner and get lost in the words.
Build a puzzle
Working on a puzzle keeps the brain focused on one task and offers satisfaction as the picture comes together. They can also keep us working on this one thing for a long period of time, which can benefit a mind that is prone to distraction. Plus, it is a healthy way of filling time when there isn’t much else to do. The next time you find yourself tempted to scroll the newsfeed, instead dump out a puzzle and see if you can’t use up time in this enjoyable way instead.
Cook or bake
A crucial aspect of recovery is a healthy diet, and learning to cook or bake is a key part of maintaining your health in this way. While the kitchen can certainly be an intimidating space for beginners, plenty of resources and recipes are available online for those just starting out. Brainstorm some of your favorite things to eat and start with easy renditions of these recipes. Before long, you’ll find yourself perfecting and enhancing what you’ve learned, not to mention feeling better from such a balanced diet.
Take the time to ask for additional help
While self-care primarily comes from yourself, you can always ask for help or guidance in coming up with ideas or finding the best ways to meet your personal needs. Recovery is not a solo journey, but a cooperative balance between learning healthy coping skills from counseling and putting these skills into practice in ways that benefit you the best.
To get in touch with an addiction counselor today and supplement (or begin) your journey to a life free from addiction, reach out to Freedom Detox. Call us anytime at 800-475-2312 to learn more about personalized treatment programs and relief from addiction today.