First things first: self-care is not selfish!
Self-care is a vital part of recovery from addiction. Though you may think that it’s all bubble baths and treating yourself to sweets, self-care can, in fact, take on many different shapes and forms. It all depends on who you are as an individual, your lifestyle, and your level of comfort. We’ve compiled a list of suggestions and resources below for you to use to help create a self-care regimen that is right for you. Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments!
Rest and Relaxation
One big part of self-care is learning how to unplug — both metaphorically and literally. Take some time for yourself to just be alone. For this period of time, however long or short, untether yourself from your cherished electronic devices and notice how it feels to just be. (We’ll talk about meditation a little later too!) If you find yourself getting overwhelmed by plans, learn how to say “no” and take time for yourself. In fact, this would be a good time for a relaxing bath too! It’s important to listen to your body and mind and not keep pushing yourself when you should be resting instead.
Consider the following acronym that is commonly used in the addiction treatment process to help individuals in recovery stay sober:
Hungry: Are you hydrated and nourished? When was the last time you drank water? If you’re hungry or thirsty, it’s time to find some healthy foods, grab a good-for-you snack, and wash it down with a refreshing glass of water.
Angry: How are you feeling? Your emotional wellbeing is important and something to which you should pay close attention. If you find yourself feeling short-tempered or easily upset, it’s time for a little introspection and grounding. Talk to someone to whom you can vent your feelings. If you don’t feel like talking to someone, write down your thoughts. It’s important to find a healthy outlet to express yourself so that your feelings aren’t being kept uncomfortably bottled up.
Lonely: Have you been putting off calling (or, let’s be real, texting) a good friend? These days, it’s so easy to get busy and neglect to contact even our closest and dearest friends to the point at which we isolate ourselves and begin to feel loneliness. It’s frequent in the recovery process that individuals can feel like they don’t have anyone to turn to. Community, connection, and support groups are so important when it comes to maintaining a healthy recovery and sober lifestyle. Remember that people do love you and care about you. It’s tough, but sometimes you have to take the first steps to reach out when you find you are in need of support.
Tired: Have you had enough sleep? Often times, we like to burn the candle at both ends to the point of exhaustion. We frequently skip out on sleep in favor of whatever other activities or opportunities present themselves to us, regardless of the inevitable effect that doing so will have on our physical health and mental health. Taking an evening to stay in and rest will be a favor that your future self will thank you for.
Write it Out
As mentioned above, the medium of writing can be a great outlet for your own creative expression. At times, when you’re feeling overwhelmed by emotion, it can be so healing to journal your thoughts and feelings whether on a digital platform or a good old fashioned pen and paper. It can also be helpful to track your moods as well as your progress in recovery to have journals that you can look back on and see how far you’ve come.
Another great way to get your mind working in the realm of positive thinking is to create a gratitude list. That’s something that you can do daily, weekly, or whenever the mood takes you. It’s great to establish feelings of gratitude and writing your own list will help you to better remember all of the things in your life for which you are grateful.
But you don’t just have to write either. You can draw pictures or grab a coloring book and lose yourself inside of a soothing drawing that your coloring will bring life to. It’s really all up to you. The bottom line is, of course, to find a healthy method of sharing your feelings.
Listening to music or a guided meditation are both great ways to calm a frantic mind. When you find yourself in need of self-care, working on a pleasant playlist can be a big help. You can compose your own using an app like Spotify or check out a pre-made playlist like this one:
If you’re looking for guided meditation, check out this video we made with counselor Jessica at our Outpatient Facility: