During active addiction, a lot of people are focused on just one thing. Usually, your drug of choice is a temporary answer to every problem, such as aches or pains and unpleasant feelings. You don’t take time out of the day for rest or healing, and self-care may not even be in your vocabulary. It’s hard to find time to meet your basic needs sometimes. When you first get clean, it can be a challenge to get back on your feet. You may not have taken care of yourself when you were in the grip of your substance abuse disorder. You may have neglected your mental health or physical health for years.
Self-Care is Taking Small Healing Steps
Self-care is taking care of more than just your physical health. It involves mental and spiritual health, too.
A lot of people don’t practice self-care, especially those who are in codependent relationships. Even in recovery, you may find yourself focusing on the welfare of others more than yourself. It’s not good for your overall health, including your mental health, to omit caring for yourself to help others. Self-care enables you to practice taking care of yourself in the here and now.
Here are some great self-care tips for taking care of yourself throughout recovery:
- Give yourself extra time in the morning: Yes, a good night’s sleep is important, but giving yourself extra time in the morning to meditate, pray, journal, or just drink coffee without the morning rush is a great way to add self-care to your day, and make it a habit. Quiet time will help you center yourself and start your day in peace. Try to give yourself 15-30 minutes to “do you” in the morning.
- Make time for your higher power: It’s important to connect with your higher power, either in the morning or throughout the day. Sit quietly, take a few breathes, and “be in the moment” with your source of strength. Enjoy the solitude and be present.
- Journal to record your feelings and thoughts: Journaling can be a way to help you think about your dreams, explore your fears, and understand your emotions. Take time to use journaling as a tool to understand your life. If you don’t like to write, try doodling to explore your feelings or even draw an image to summarize your day. Every once in a while, you’ll want to bring out your journal to see how far you have come.
- Nurture your friendships. Friendships help us grow as people, and give us a space to be who we are, and enjoy life with friends. People who make time for friends lead happier lives.
- Make time to relax. Whether it’s a long bath or time unwinding doing something you love, like gardening, make time to enjoy yourself at least once a day. Many people like to relax at the end of a long day, but you may find yourself needing a mid-day break to spend time with a book. Find what helps you get you out of yourself for a half hour or so.
There are a lot of ways to decompress in recovery, and self-care means taking the time to learn what works for you. Give yourself a little love or solace each day that works for you in your way. There are no rules involved in self-care, and that’s good news, too. Recovery often means learning self-discovery in many ways, too. Your definition of self-care will probably grow as you lead your life throughout your life in recovery.