Self-Care And Recovery
Recovery is a very emotionally taxing journey. There is no easy way to end the cycle of a substance use disorder, and in some instances, it can be very harmful to your body. That is why it is important to maintain a standard of self-care through treatment. This may take some time to figure out, but once you figure out what caring for yourself looks like for you it will get easier. Learning to better care for yourself both physically and mentally is a wonderful way to replace habits formed while engaging in substance use with new, healthier habits.
What is Self-Care?
Self-care is about checking in with yourself, to make sure that you are caring for yourself in the best possible way. There is no linear book that tells people how to care for themselves, either. It looks different for everyone because everyone’s emotional needs present differently. It is important to note that self-care is a day-by-day process, and it looks different each day. However, the fundamental needs of a person do not change. They just might look different. This means there might not be a day when you wake up and have the perfect self-care schedule. Instead, you might have a list of all the things you need to do to care for yourself and slowly accomplish them throughout the week or month.
Be gentle with yourself as you are caring for yourself. Self-care should not feel like an extra chore. Instead, it should feel like the process of growing closer to yourself, caring for yourself in an almost childlike manner, and loving yourself exactly as you need to be loved. This can include starting a new hobby, reconnecting with an old one, planning a break on a very busy day, or even processing through the day with yourself. It does not have to be an over-the-top act, just one that reminds you how much you love yourself.
Why is Self-Care Important to Recovery?
It is important to care for yourself no matter if you are struggling with a substance use disorder or not. However, substance use disorder can cause both mental and physical health problems, increase irritability, and even lower a person’s inhibitions. This can impact the way a person interacts with others, present in the world, and even cause long-term health issues. That is where self-care comes in, to undo some of the harshnesses the body has suffered due to substance use disorder, and offer the body gentleness.
There are not many studies out about self-care, but there was a study done on medical students to see how self-care affected them. Even though they are one of the most stressed out groups in the country, incorporating self-care in their daily routines did help them. The results stated, “As the level of reported engagement in self-care increased, the strength of the inverse relationship between perceived stress and both physical and psychological quality of life appeared to weaken.” This is a wonderful discovery because stress is something everyone has in common. It can even be the root of a substance use disorder, so teaching medical students to control stress levels further affirms the wonder power of self-care. Utilizing self-care daily during treatment and after can help a person manage their stressors and in turn their triggers to use.
How to Better Participate in Self-Care?
Since it is an individualized process self-care will look different for most people. It is really about observing self, tending to needs before they get out of hand, and holding self-accountable to do things that don’t necessarily feel good but are important. Here are a few tips and tricks for self-care:
- Observe yourself – Pay attention to things that shift your emotions. Try to understand why something made you upset, happy, angry, etc. Create a plan to address those feelings when they feel negative.
- Accomplish mandatory hard tasks – Procrastination is hard to bypass, but completing mandatory tasks sooner relieves stress, releases endorphins, and even gives you more free time to do things you love.
- Try a new hobby – Sometimes we don’t know what we like, or we never get the chance to try something we want to try. Engaging in new hobbies creates that chance, makes you feel good about yourself, and gives you a chance to make new friends.
- Rest – One of the most important parts of self-care. We often try to push ourselves, but resting does allow us to reset thus making us more productive.
- Affirm yourself – We often look for validation from others. Although, validating yourself allows you to not only boost your confidence but also shift your thinking to a more positive mind frame.
Self-care is a wonderful act of self-love. It can sometimes seem selfish, but if you are not your best, you cannot be your best for anyone else. Mountain Peak Recovery understands that and wants to help you help yourself. That is why we are working hard to support our clients through recovery. We offer an array of programs that cater to each client’s individual needs. We want our clients to leave our facility self-sufficient, healthy, and happy. Mountain Peak Recovery requires all clients to participate in a level of self-care, including keeping their living area clean. We would be more than happy to help you create a self-care routine, and we would even work closely to ensure you are holding yourself accountable. If you or someone you love is struggling with a substance use disorder call us today at (801) 824-8829. We can help you get your life back on track and ease your mind through self-care.