Self-preservation is a powerful motivator behind the life-changing decision to get help for a substance use disorder. While engaged in substance use, it becomes abundantly clear that health and general wellbeing have been neglected—possibly for a very long time. Substance use depletes both physical and mental health, as well as the spirit. While the drive to obtain needed treatment is centered on the substance problem, there is also an innate desire to just feel good again.
Recovery is embraced as a roadmap that will lead the newly sober individual back to optimum health and functioning. They deeply desire a sense of renewed purpose in their new life, and look forward to being productive again. They want to become more fully engaged with family and friends as well.
All of these goals are commendable, and definitely achievable. But without proper attention to the importance of self-care, these will all be reduced to dust. Why? Because unless the person tends to their own physical, mental, and spiritual needs they will not be equipped to stand up to the triggers that could threaten sobriety. Self-care allows the individual to build up the strength needed to remain fully committed to recovery.
The Importance of Self-Care
Everybody knows how lousy we feel after a night of tossing and turning. Lacking quality sleep will profoundly affect our ability to operate during the upcoming day. We might feel fatigued, distracted, unable to concentrate, and grumpy. Our work will likely suffer that day, and interactions with others will probably be terse. We will be off our game.
This is a good example of why healthy self-care rituals are important to addiction recovery. Lack of sleep is just one aspect of diminished wellness that can negatively impact the ability to fight off cravings. But self-care works in a cumulative way, where each self-nurturing action strengthens the overall interconnected effect. With improved physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing, individuals in recovery will be armed for battle.
6 Types of Self-Care to Nurture Recovery
A recovery program will lay the foundation for wellness through the process of detox and therapy that culminates in stability. Once the program is completed, however, it is essential for the individual in recovery to embrace a commitment to restorative self-care habits that will help strengthen the mind, body, and spirit. Types of self-care include:
- Physical health. Restoring physical wellbeing in recovery is absolutely essential for a positive outcome. Substance use can take a serious toll on the body, often resulting in vitamin deficiencies and health issues. Create a wellness plan that addresses all aspects of physical wellness, such as:
- Healthy diet. Concentrate on lean sources of protein, fresh veggies and fruits, nuts and seeds, whole grains, and plenty of water. Avoid processed foods and sugary treats, and limit caffeinated beverages.
- Regular exercise. Engage in moderate exercise for 30-60 minutes four times per week for improved muscle tone and physical stamina, and even improved mood.
- Improve sleep quality. Getting quality sleep is essential to a sustained recovery. Set a regular bedtime schedule, limit caffeine, enjoy a warm bath with some aromatherapy, and put away the smartphone.
- Relaxation. Stress should be minimized in early recovery, so be sure to include an occasional massage, yoga classes, or a day at the spa to reduce stress and rejuvenate and restore overall wellbeing.
- Emotional health. Practice cognitive behavioral therapy skills, where negative thoughts and behaviors are replaced with productive, positive ones. Keep a check on your emotional wellbeing by continuing to get outpatient counseling. Practice mindfulness throughout the day, staying in the present moment and processing feelings in real time. Find healthy outlets to reignite passions, be they music, art, live theater, or volunteering at a local charity.
- Spiritual health. Nurture your spiritual self by spending time in prayer, meditation, or out in nature. Attend a church service or join a worship group or spirituality-based book club. Keep a gratitude journal as an excellent way to acknowledge daily blessings and to document spiritual growth.
- Social relationships. Relationships are often the collateral damage of substance use. In recovery, cultivate the relationships worth keeping by nurturing them back to health, while also establishing new meaningful friendships within your new sober lifestyle sphere.
- Mental stimulation. People thrive on intellectual stimulation, so activate your brain and engage in widening your knowledge base to avoid boredom and mental stagnation. Do this by playing board games, reading a classic novel, learning a new job skill, or going back to college.
- Routine care. While in active substance use it is common to neglect the dentist or the annual physical exam. In recovery, taking care of routine needs will help you maintain good health and hygiene.
Conquering substance use is a life-long process that will benefit from taking good care of your self along the way.
Ashley Addiction Treatment provides a comprehensive recovery program than blends evidence-based treatment with holistic therapies and medication-supported recovery (MSR). For more information about our innovative program, please contact us today at (866) 697-9369.