What Is Self-Care in Recovery?
Self-care is anything a person consciously does to promote their own health and wellbeing. It is not the same as being self-indulgent or selfish. Rather, self-care can be any action a person takes to promote their health and happiness.
That includes anything as simple as maintaining good personal hygiene to seeking medical care when necessary.
Self-care also means becoming more attuned to your own needs and nourishing those needs, whether you do something for yourself that is relaxing, calming, intellectually stimulating, spiritual, or something practical that would make you feel better to get done. That means self-care can even be something as simple and relaxing as listening to your favorite podcast while enjoying an adult coloring book.
Why is self care important in recovery?
Self-care is the key to reducing your anxiety, improving your mood, and reconnecting and recentering with yourself as you replace destructive coping mechanisms with more positive ones.
Living addicted to drugs or alcohol puts everything that should be important to you on the backburner. That’s because your substance of choice affects your mood, motivation, self-esteem, and sense of self. While you probably wish you could keep up with your peers and excel in life with a better focus on your relationships, work, or school, and prioritizing your mental and physical health, your addiction leads to a slew of self-sabotaging behaviors.
The self-neglect manifests in stress, negativity, and boredom, all of which become triggers and temptations to use.
Once you begin your recovery journey, you’ll need to reframe your thinking to get accustomed to the everyday pace of a substance-free life.
Good Self Care Involves H.A.L.T.: Replace Drugs or Alcohol with Healthier Alternatives
Now that you’re on the path to lasting sobriety, you need to steer clear of triggers and make a conscious effort to learn new coping mechanisms when you are overwhelmed, stressed, or feeling generally gloomy. One important acronym to learn to identify your triggers frequently used by addiction treatment and support groups is “H.A.L.T.,” which stands for “hungry, angry, lonely, tired.” These emotions can create intense temptation to turn to drug use to escape negative emotions. Good self-care, however, can keep these feelings at bay and help you cope.
5 Ways to Incorporate Self-Care into Your Sobriety
1. Practice self-reflection and mindfulness
Take time to attune to your own needs. Remember that self-care is not selfish. Simply take the time to spend a few minutes every morning to listen to your own needs and ground yourself. For example, ask yourself questions such as “How am I feeling? What have I learned about my recovery lately? What am I grateful for? Did I avoid any of my triggers to use lately?” and other such questions. This is a form of meditation that can slow down your thoughts, quell anxiety, and help you prepare for your day.
2. Eat a healthy diet
Your body needs fuel to keep your mind and mood stable and for better concentration and energy levels. A healthy diet will give you the nutrients you need to feel your best, and in general, this should incorporate a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, complex carbohydrates, lean proteins, and healthy oils and fats. Because you’ll be feeling better physically, you’ll be less likely to feel tempted to use.
3. Connect with others
Negative emotions tend to manifest in solitude. Connect with a sober support network and find people that will help build you up and support you in your recovery. 12-step-based addiction recovery meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous and other support groups are great settings for you to interact with others who can relate to you and provide encouragement.
4. Set boundaries with friends and family
It’s up to you to protect your sobriety, and this is an important part of your self-care. There are several methods to do this, including physical, such as leaving a location or situation where you feel at risk to use drugs or alcohol. Others may be making the difficult decision to end longstanding friendships where your method of bonding and socializing was spending time drinking or using together.
5. Surround yourself with positivity
Positive thinking has many perks, including immunity benefits, stress reduction, higher energy, and greater motivation. These factors can reduce your risk of relapse and help you find happiness in your sobriety, not to mention fulfillment without the constant temptation to use once you feel at peace with the fact that your life is much more satisfying and complete without chasing your next high, and when your mental, physical, and emotional wellbeing are the most important things to keep you going throughout life.
Learn More About Treatment at Tennessee Wellness Center
At Tennessee Wellness Center, we are your support team for a brighter tomorrow. We see ourselves as your extended family committed to helping you recover. We champion your wellbeing and do so by providing comprehensive alcohol and drug substance abuse programs and mental health treatment.
To learn more about our effective drug and alcohol treatment programs, please get in touch today by calling (865) 205-2770.