How to Make Self-Care a Priority
Addiction is a disease. Recovery and self-care typically follow treatment. However, for many of us, self-care does not feel natural. You likely were raised to care about others, so as an adult, to turn that care toward yourself feels awkward.
What is Self-Care?
It is all about deliberately taking care of yourself. You set time aside just for yourself. At first, you will stumble around trying to figure out the ins and outs of self-care. Everybody does it to some extent. The point here is whether you are aware of doing it and if you have a self-care routine.
Types of Self-Care
Self-care comes in unique forms. You can focus on different aspects of your well-being, and you can use a variety of methods to take care of yourself. Knowing these forms of self-care is essential for you to develop a self-care plan.
- Physical: Taking care of your physical health is critical while you are in treatment and aftercare. Recovery will only succeed if you are healthy. Proper sleep and healthy food are examples of physical self-care routines. You may want to keep to a sleep schedule where you go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Maybe you want to add daily exercise to your plan.
- Emotional: Anyone who has completed treatment or is in recovery knows how emotional the process can be. You will deal with emotions ranging from pain to anger and everything in between. Emotional self-care can be anything from listening to music you like, writing a journal, attending a recovery meeting, or seeing a counselor.
- Mental Health: It is just as essential to have a healthy mind. Here we are talking about taking care of any mental disorders you might have, managing stressors in your life, and taking time to calm your mind regularly. Mental health self-care can include taking medications, art therapy, attending groups, music therapy, or following a routine established by a therapist.
- Spiritual: For many, recovery can be a spiritual journey. If it is for you, then you have spiritual self-care to consider. You may want to make sure you attend a meditative group or church outing each week. Joining an online, faith-based discussion group might be more up your alley.
The first step to establishing a routine is understanding the types of self-care that exist. Now you need to know how to actually “do” self-care. That will help you set aside time for you and only you.
Your Daily Self-Care
Self-care does not look the same for every person in recovery. Plans are developed based on each person’s unique needs and traits. Let your inner light guide you to what is best for you.
- Complete Self-Care Assessments: There are self-care assessments online you can download and use to determine which areas you may need to strengthen. For example, you might learn that you are dealing with emotional pain by binge eating. So, you may need to focus on your physical and emotional self-care to get back on track.
- Create a Self-Care Schedule: This is important. Try to set aside time every day dedicated to self-care. You may decide that when you have free time, you will indulge in self-care. No problem. Or you might select mid-day hours during the week for specific self-care activities. Weekends have different self-care hours and activities. It is a schedule, so be sure to put your new routine down on paper.
- Keep Dates With Yourself: If part of your self-care routine is to go to the movies every Saturday afternoon by yourself, be sure to keep that appointment. You are just as important as everyone else in your life. No need to tell people what you are doing; let them know you have a standing commitment at that time. When you keep dates with yourself, you are reinforcing your self-worth.
- Re-Evaluate Self-Care Priorities: Needs change over time. You can expect the same for self-care requirements. Therefore, you may want to re-evaluate your priorities in that area once or twice a year to be sure you are doing the first for yourself. If nothing needs to be changed, no problem. You can make changes to your self-care priorities at any time.
It may not be easy at first to follow through on your scheduled self-care activities. You still feel guilty taking time for yourself, or maybe you forget. Whatever the reason, the first week or month goes by with a few successes. Do not worry. Keep working on your schedule, and it will become more natural.
It can take over two months for new behavior, like self-care, to become an automatic habit. So, stick to it. You will be prioritizing self-care like a professional in no time!
Self-care became a priority when you decided to come to treatment. There is no reason for that to change in recovery, yet too often it does. People in recovery often feel awkward when discussing self-care, even though that does not make sense. Everything you do to support your recovery is self-care. Even making amends is self-care. What throws people for a loop is the idea of deliberately taking care of themselves. Self-awareness is the new ingredient in creating a plan for this. However, once you discover your light, you will take every step with self-awareness. Mountain Peak Recovery is in scenic Utah and provides holistic addiction and mental health treatment solutions. We want to help you discover your light during your recovery. That light will shine on your true worth and guide you on the best path to lifelong sobriety. If you need help with setting self-care priorities, call Mountain Peak Recovery at (801) 824-8829 for assistance.