People early in their recovery often struggle with self-care. If you have a substance use disorder, you may feel disconnected from yourself and your surroundings. For so long, your life revolved around your substances of choice. Focusing on self-care requires a shift in priorities. You and your needs become central. Though others may paint this as selfish, by caring for yourself you have the ability to fully engage with others. You are a better friend, family member, and citizen when you attend to your health first. This article outlines basic self-care suggestions you can use to improve your life while in treatment and during long-term recovery.
What Is Self-Care?
When people think of self-care, they often imagine a spa day or taking a bath with scented candles. Or they may picture a luxurious dinner. While these can fall into this category, self-care is usually not as glamorous as it looks on social media. People cater their online presence to present the best parts of life.
In reality, self-care is any activity done purposefully to improve or maintain a person’s mental and physical health. This includes actions like brushing teeth, taking a shower, and taking daily medications. Engaging in self-care can help prevent burnout. It revitalizes your energy levels. You may notice your needs are not the same from one day to the next. For this reason, you should work to build a strong internal awareness.
Respect Your Body
Basic hygiene can feel like a chore for anyone with a mental illness. This form of self-care helps build a sense of self-preservation though. You only have one body, and there are so many ways to treat it with kindness. You can clean yourself, change your clothes, eat nutritiously, and get sleep. Stretching in the morning and before bed will loosen muscle tension. Additionally, yoga can help with balance, flexibility, and lowering blood pressure. A bath with Epsom salts can decrease aches or pains resulting from post-acute withdrawal syndrome. Moisturizing will give you softer skin. The bottom line is that your body deserves love.
Attend Your Appointments
Self-care extends to your emotional state. You deserve to feel internally steady. A large part of this comes from mental health maintenance. You don’t want to wait until things get bad to start attending appointments. Go to your 12-Step meetings and participate. Follow through with your sponsor. Do the inventories. Show up to therapy and doctor’s appointments. Be honest with your providers about how you’re feeling. They can only help you if they know the truth.
These things apply even when it’s hard. Often, the times you don’t want to go are the times you need it most. Calendars, planners, and digital notifications can keep you on track when you need reminders. Good time management makes for good self-care.
Embrace Your Passions
Self-care involves more than just basic needs. Ask yourself this question: what brings you joy? Early in recovery, this might be difficult to answer. You may need to explore your identity and participate in experiential therapies. If you find healthy activities you’re passionate about, embrace them. This may come in the form of creativity, reading books, writing stories, or creating art. If you find that you love exercising, go on a hike or learn a new sport. You also could enjoy activities that give back. Volunteer at your place of faith. Play with dogs at an animal shelter. All of these things give you a stress-reducing outlet. They will soothe and nurture your psyche.
Use Assistive Resources
Though it may not seem like it, you can perform self-care by accepting help. Comorbidities are a common issue in the treatment of substance use disorders. If you have autism, ADHD, or anxiety, certain assistive tools can help you get through the day easier. They also can help with stress management. The following items can make day-to-day care easier:
- Noise-canceling earbuds
- Mood magnets
- Medication trackers
- Aromatherapy dough
- Stress balls
- A white noise machine
As you use these tools, remember that there’s nothing wrong with you for needing help. Grant yourself the compassion that you’d provide anyone else in your position.
Build a Sober Support System
Addiction thrives in isolated and toxic environments. It is an important form of self-care to build healthy relationships with others. Family can offer a shoulder to lean on when you feel weak. Friends will help keep you accountable for your well-being. If these people notice you slipping, they can tell you about their concerns. They can remind you of how strong, important, and special you are. Also, they can assist you in reconnecting with your residential treatment facility if you need to return to an inpatient program.
Has your substance use disorder overrun your life? Do you find it difficult to care for yourself? Spero Recovery is a newly renovated, residential treatment facility with a focus on 12-Step programming. We prioritize the needs of our clients. We keep our prices affordable. When a patient needs therapy, we help pair them with licensed counselors. We provide experiential therapies that encourage healthy self-care practices. Through activities like cooking, volleyball, woodworking, and meditation, you’ll reconnect with your body and mind. You’ll discover what it feels like to live happy and substance-free. Additionally, you’ll have a community that you can come back to once you’ve graduated from residential treatment. Our alumni regularly participate as peer leaders, building a strong social support system. If you’re looking to leave your addiction behind, our team at Spero Recovery is ready to help you thrive. Call us at (303) 351-7888 to start your journey.