Most addicts cope with negative emotions by using drugs or alcohol. These negative emotions — such as stress, anxiety, sadness, or boredom — can become triggers once a person enters recovery, because their brain is still programmed to associate them with wanting to use.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), proper self-care is one of the most important aspects of recovery. Self-care encompasses positive emotions, better physical health, and an overall sense of well-being. By practicing self-care, you can drastically improve your quality of life and maintain a lifetime of sobriety.
Always remember that one act of self-care can lead to others — and the more you engage in these activities, the more your life and your moods will improve. Fortunately, there are many good self-care activities that you can do during recovery.
This acronym is often used by treatment programs to remind recovering addicts of feelings that trigger cravings. By remembering to fulfill these areas in life, you are less likely to relapse.
The acronym stands for Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired. Addressing each of these feelings can keep you feeling more fulfilled in life. Make sure that you are eating a healthy diet, using calming techniques when you are angry, reaching out for support, and getting enough rest to fuel your body for recovery.
Eating healthy foods is crucial in recovery, and it’s also a form of self-care. Eating healthy helps maintain your blood sugar, which can stabilize your moods, your ability to concentrate, and your energy.
Focus on eating lots of lean meats, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy products. You will begin to notice an improvement in your mental and physical health, making you less likely to relapse.
Physical activity increases your overall health. It also improves your mood by activating the release of serotonin in the brain and keeps you motivated in your recovery as you stay committed to a healthy routine. Stress is also reduced, helping you to better regulate your emotions and remain calm if any triggers come
Taking Time For Yourself
Remember to partake in things you enjoy. Whether it’s your favorite hobby, pampering yourself at the spa, or reading your favorite book, make sure that you always carve out some time for yourself during the day. It’s important to find things that make you feel happy and relaxed that don’t include using drugs or alcohol. Sober activities help to replace your old habits, leaving you feeling better in your recovery and more refreshed in life.
Who knew self-care could be as easy as falling asleep? But sleep is vital to a successful recovery. This is because a lack of sleep can cause stress, less motivation, a bad mood, no energy, and other negative side effects. When you get enough sleep, you are able to stay focused, energized, motivated, and are more prone to a positive attitude. Your body is also able to charge itself for the day ahead while you are sleeping.
You can practice mindfulness by becoming aware of your body and surroundings. Try to focus on your breathing, how your body feels, your mental state, and what you hear in your physical environment. This makes it easier to learn what makes you happy, sad, angry, etc. This way, you know what causes you stress. You can try to stay away from those triggers and focus on being around more things that make you happy.
Mindfulness is learning about yourself. Being secure within oneself is a great way to practice self-care as you get to know yourself more.
Self-Care Is NOT Selfish
Society today often says that taking time for yourself and doing things that make you feel good is selfish, but this is a misconception. This view makes it difficult for people to take care of themselves without feelings of guilt or shame. However, self-care is vital to your recovery and overall well-being. There is nothing wrong with taking time for yourself, especially while you are healing.
You should always make sure that you are happy and fulfilled by the life you are living. If you aren’t, make the necessary changes so you can look after your wants and needs in a healthy manner.
Self-Care Is for Your Sobriety
When you’re in recovery, sobriety is your number-one goal. Make sure you commit to it fully by changing your actions to maintain your sobriety long-term. The skills and coping methods you learned while in treatment should be applied to your entire life, even years after the program.
Take care of yourself by avoiding the places and people that remind you of your past addiction, as they will only set you up for failure. Your sobriety should be somewhat selfish. Do not apologize for saying no to people who are not supporting you, but instead pushing you towards past temptations.
Set boundaries for yourself as a powerful form of self-care, declaring that you are doing this for you and your health. Remember that if someone is really your friend and cares about your well-being, they will encourage and understand your recovery rather than trying to make you fall back into old, damaging habits.
Addiction only serves itself, putting the needs of the person who is using aside in order to feed itself. Learning self-care strategies can be difficult if you’re not used to them — but the time has finally come to take care of you.
Camelback Recovery can provide many self-care resources to get you started. If you feel you need more help, we invite you to check out our transitional living homes near Phoenix, Tucson, and Scottdale. To learn more, call us today at (602) 466-9880.