8 Ways To Practice Self-Care During Addiction Recovery
By Space Coast Daily // April 25, 2022
Recovering from an addiction is not one of the most manageable tasks one may face. Making the difficult decision to take the first step towards recovery from any form of addiction requires a lot of willpower and determination.
Many challenges could lie ahead during recovery, but having a sound support system and a self-care routine would assist recovering addicts through this trying time. Some people condition others to believe that self-care is selfish, which is not the case.
Self-care practices are needed to calm the mind and keep us on track. It looks different for everyone, but each person will have a way of maintaining a good relationship with themselves. Taking care of all your needs is not a luxury but a much-needed practice, especially when going through an intense recovery period.
Activities that would make you feel good would differ from person to person. Some may prefer a hobby, while others could just take a nice hot bath to relax.
If you can’t think of other ways that qualify as a self-care practice during addiction recovery? Here are a few suggestions that may spark some ideas of your own:
1. Mindfulness For The Psyche
No matter how you attempt to push your thoughts aside, you can’t escape them. They remain with you all day and night, sometimes influencing your mood and behavior. After years of substance abuse or other mental health concerns, chemicals in the brain that regulate mood and behavior could be less than optimal.
It would be a great idea to search online for rehabilitation websites, such as https://www.jacksonhouserehab.com/treatment-program/substance-abuse-mental-illness/, because they understand the importance of regulating these chemicals as they impact the recovery process. Taking care of your mental well-being is very important, and there are a few self-care activities that could assist a recovering addict.
Continuing sessions with a psychologist or psychiatrist are a good start to your new self-care regimen. They would be able to monitor your mood and prescribe medication where needed to supplement the chemicals in the brain that may be lacking.
Many professionals would suggest journaling, relaxation therapy, mindfulness practices like breathing exercises, and grounding activities as self-care practices for your mental well-being.
2. Taking Care Of The Body
Addiction can have devastating effects on your physical health, and adding a few self-care practices in this area of your life would help to give it a boost again. The body will look healthier, but you will also feel good.
As part of the recovery journey, some people may need to learn how to reward themselves with a healthy habit instead of the unhealthy one that leads them to where they currently are. Reward your hard work with a better option instead of falling apart after a long day and reaching out for the addiction.
A full body massage, a long run to clear your head, go to the gym and pump some iron, or have an old-fashioned dance party in the living room to your favorite music. These are all excellent substitutes that would improve your well-being by relieving built-up tension and stress in the body.
3. Caring For The Emotions
It may feel like a wild ride on a roller coaster when recovering from addiction. One day your emotions would get the better of you, and the next, you just couldn’t be phased. Sometimes situations or people in your lives stir up old feelings that can quickly become overwhelming.
Practice saying no to anything that doesn’t support the recovery process. It may be challenging at first, but it is a skill worth learning. Protecting your emotions is a necessary part of self-compassion that would teach you where you want to draw the line.
If any emotions come up during recovery, take time to analyze them. Are they needed? Are they based on truth or assumptions? How can I positively deal with them? Answering these difficult questions may give you more clarity on why these emotions surfaced.
Discuss the emotions with a counselor or other professional if there seems no plausible reason why they are still causing you to react negatively. Sometimes emotional triggers reach as far back as childhood, and trying to decipher them alone could boggle your mind.
4. Healthy Social Relationships
Support systems play a massive role for addicts during recovery. Friends and loved ones that want the best for you are the people you should surround yourself with during this time. You may need to stick your pride in your pockets when asking for help from them, but family and friends will give a helping hand when you need them.
Arrange a get-together, schedule family activities, go to the beach or a coffee shop with friends, or video call with them. They need your friendship as much as you need them, so make it a point to contact them regularly.
Get involved in other support groups with recovering addicts that could share similar experiences and provide insights into how they are dealing with their challenges. Feeling part of a greater community would help you realize that you are not alone and that others may be going through a process easily compared to where you are now.
5. Being Focused At Work
Work pressures may push the limits of what someone in recovery can handle. Although most people would show compassion for the situation, some would blatantly disregard your feelings. Coping in stressful surroundings like the office may take some practice and self-care.
Professionally discuss your needs and set clear boundaries that would protect your mental energy. Don’t jump in and overwork yourself the first week you are back.
Be open to new opportunities that may cross your path, like different kinds of training that the company may offer. Put in more effort to get a promotion you have been eyeing for in a while, or discuss taking on more responsibilities when you feel up to it.
Managers would notice the improved efforts at work and may even compliment your performance enhancement. The acknowledgment would boost self-esteem and increase the feeling of self-worth.
6. Tailor Your Immediate Environment
Being clean and neat may sound like something that would go without saying. Still, when you are already spending so many energy-containing emotions, keeping feelings in check, and getting your body healthy, cleaning sounds like the last thing you want on your priority list.
Do yourself the favor of throwing out all items from your home that may remind you of when you were at your lowest. Replace the items with something uplifting that would motivate you to do your best each day. Out with the old negative things and in with new and positive things in your life.
Another environment that may need some attention is your car. Give it a polish to let it shine, vacuum the inside and throw out the trash. A ride that looks brand new gives you something to be proud of and would make your journey more comfortable.
7. Spiritual Or Religious Practices
Many people turn to spiritual or religious practices during recovery, and why not? They provide comfort for the soul. It doesn’t matter which you choose to follow, as long as it helps you focus your attention on something other than your addiction.
Religious institutions often have support groups or opportunities to volunteer in the community. Even if it is just your time and effort, giving something back could awaken the feeling of accomplishment and provide a sense of purpose.
Spiritual practices could be meditation, prayer, walking in nature, and any other self-care practice that would include looking after the higher self.
8. Become Financially Stable
A recovering addict would know how chaotic finances could become while spending each bit of money to feed the addiction. Financial obligations could fall by the wayside, and now that you are in recovery, there may be many people knocking on your door.
Sit down and devise a plan to get rid of all the debts that have piled up and could now threaten your newfound happiness. Decide how much you have in the budget to contribute to settling accounts and speak to the people you owe money to, and make arrangements for regular payments.
Becoming debt-free leaves room for a savings account. Save enough money to buy those items that were always on the list but you just couldn’t afford because of prioritizing your addiction before.
To Wrap It Up
Patients going through the arduous recovery process would need lots of support from family, friends, and themselves. Taking care of your own needs encompasses every area of your life. It may sound arrogant to avoid some people who have badly influenced you before, but it’s a much-needed part of building resilience to maintain your healthy lifestyle.
Focus on adding more positive experiences to your daily routine and remember to rest when needed. There is a fine line to navigate and new skills to learn, but you will thank yourself for sticking with the self-care practices that bring you the most joy at the end of the day. Addicts should remain hopeful that even if there wasn’t much room for self-care today, there will always be a tomorrow to try again.