When you were using drugs or alcohol, how well did you take care of yourself? For most people with substance use disorders, the answer is, “I didn’t!” Using your substance of choice was probably one of your highest priorities, despite your best intentions. This is a part of the disease aspect of addiction. Addiction behavior includes obsession and compulsion, meaning you’re thinking about things to do with the drug, and will make reckless decisions quickly in order to obtain it. Because of this, most people in recovery have to learn how to take care of themselves. Not only does your body need to heal, but so does your mind and spirit. Self-care can help you learn to nurture your body, mind and spirit.
What Is Self-Care?
Self-care is typically an activity that you perform alone, for yourself, that helps calm your mind and emotions. Usually this means doing something you find soothing, but for some people, it may be something that helps get your adrenaline pumping so you can relieve negative feelings like anxiety.
Whatever the case is, self-care doesn’t do harm like drugs or alcohol. This means that gambling, competing, or overworking have nothing to do with self-care. Activities that make you feel calmer, happier, and more peaceful are great ideas for practicing self-care.
Practical Self-Care In Recovery
People in recovery can get pretty busy, especially when they’re going to 30 meetings in 30 days or attending an inpatient treatment center. Yet it’s important to carve out at least 15 minutes a day to de-stress from whatever activity you’re doing. Here are some ideas to make self-care a part of your life:
- Write in a journal every day. Explore feelings, wants and dreams. Getting these out on paper can be highly motivating.
- Exercise. Try swimming, surfing, yoga, running or walking for at least 15 minutes a day. Exercising creates natural endorphins – the feel-good chemicals that helps use destress and stay calm.
- Spend time vibing to your favorite music. Upbeat music is a great way to start or end the day, and can also give you a mood boost.
- Get a massage. Massage is a great way to practice relaxation and help any physical tension you carry.
- Learn to meditate. Meditation, including mindfulness, has been shown to lower stress levels and help maintain optimal blood pressure.
- Paint, draw, or do something else that’s creativity. Creativity is a great way to work through emotions and clear your head.
These are just a few ideas for self-care. There are many other ways that may be overlooked in this list. Don’t be afraid to create your own list of things that can help you de-stress. As long as it’s not harmful or cause negative emotions, try it out.
Getting Help for Addiction
At Cycles of Change, we understand how that addiction affects your mind, body and spirit. We are fully invested in helping create an individualized treatment plan to help you recover and reclaim your life. You deserve a chance to get and stay sober. Contact us at 855-631-2548 to learn more about how we can help.