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What Does Self Care Mean in Recovery?

November 20, 2022 , Agape Treatment

happy man smiling outside practicing self-care
 

Self-care in addiction recovery means taking care of one’s emotional, spiritual, and physical well-being. Mindfulness, journaling, and groups can play a big role.

What is Self Care?

Self-care is simply when we take care of ourselves. It’s learning what makes us feel centered, relaxed, whole, and have a positive attitude. Self-care plays a huge role in mental health and is a necessity for keeping ourselves healthy emotionally. Some examples of self-care are making a cup of warm tea after a long day or meditating in the morning before starting a busy day. 

Why Self-Care is Important for Addiction Recovery

The importance of self-care in recovery because recovery takes strong mental fortitude. Keeping healthy mentally takes a lot of work, but it can be done. If someone lacks self-care, their chances of relapse are 60% higher than someone who puts their self-care as a high priority. 

Self-care in recovery needs to be put at the forefront of any aftercare plan. It needs to be a priority and looked at as necessary as drinking water, or eating meals. It can start with something as simple as a smile in the mornings. A gentle smile can send signals to your brain that induce happiness, and stress-relieving hormones.

What is Self-Care in Recovery?

Self-care in recovery will look different for each person. There are 3 main pillars in self-care that need to be attended to. Mind, body, and spirit are the important factors we need to keep healthy. 

Take Care of Your Mind

Taking care of your mind is generally looked at as feeding your brain. This could include reading interesting books, watching educational or biographical videos, or even trying something you’ve never done before to stimulate your brain. Joining meetup groups can help achieve this goal because you can find a group for pretty much any hobby. Being around like-minded people, and being challenged can be great for mental health. 

Take Care of Your Body

Taking care of your body doesn’t have to be intense workouts and diet plans. Taking care of our bodies means being kind to our physical selves. Try practicing body neutrality, where we don’t feel good, or bad, about our bodies. We simply appreciate them for all they have done for us. We still have good days, and bad days with our physical health, but body neutrality can help to alleviate some of the harmful self-talk we sometimes engage in. Keeping harmful self-talk can help keep our negative emotions at bay, which can enhance our physical self-care, also.

Self-care for our bodies can also be taking walks throughout our week. Maybe, doing something like yoga or pilates that focuses on breathwork and stretching can be a positive way to take care of your physical self. Even just learning new breathing techniques that allow our blood to flow better and keep our heart rate low can improve physical self-care. 

It’s not about focusing on “making our bodies better”, but more about getting in tune with, and listening to our bodies to try and provide it with what it needs. Improving our physical self-care can improve our overall quality of life.  

Take Care of Your Spirit

Spiritual self-care is equally as important as mental and physical self-care. We all have some spiritual connection we can learn to nurture. Spirituality is usually thought about as hand in hand with religion, but it doesn’t have to be. Spirituality is about connecting with something bigger than ourselves. It’s about peace and purpose. Sometimes, it can be hard to think of this as a necessity, but in addiction recovery, it is absolutely necessary. 

Spirituality is a very personal journey and can include many aspects. Spiritual self-care can include religion, finding a higher power, learning how to find inner peace with meditation, or even connecting with the earth through outdoor activities like hikes. Spiritual self-care can improve your emotional health, also. Spirituality can carry us through many difficult times, especially in recovery. 

Practicing Self-Care Takes Practice

Practice makes perfect, right? Practicing self-care is no different. In our society of go, go, go, and putting ourselves last, learning how to practice self-care can be difficult. The fear of failing can also play a role in why we don’t practice self-care habitually, also. People suffering from a substance use disorder, or alcohol addiction are no different.

Self-care routines are a great way to learn how to practice taking care of ourselves. Making a list of ways we can practice mind, body, and spiritual self-care can help us put together the right routine. Working self-care into your daily life may even require setting dates with ourselves, or having alarms on our devices. But eventually, the habits form. Those dates and reminders slowly fade out, and we naturally practice self-care. Remember, poor self-care means poor self-love.

Can Self-Care Prevent a Relapse?

Self-care can definitely help to prevent a relapse. However, self-care alone is not going to keep someone from relapsing. Having a good self-care routine, and using the other aspects of an aftercare plan can prevent a relapse, though. Things like therapies, meetings, accountability, and a good support system should be a part of a solid aftercare plan in addition to self-care. 

Learning More About Self Care at Agape Treatment Center

Learning about self-care can happen through many different avenues. Youtube can be a great learning portal, as well as books, and facilities like Agape Treatment Center. At Agape we have many different ways to help you learn self-care. We offer mindfulness and meditation, a yoga 12-step integration program, nutrition education, integrative medicine, and a relapse prevention program to help with every aspect of self-care. If you are looking for more detailed information, please contact our admissions coordinators to learn more.