Self-care is defined as “the practice of taking action to preserve or improve one’s own health” (Oxford Dictionary). Self-care is an important factor in overall wellness and essential to long-term recovery from substance use disorder (SUD). Self-care practices should not be viewed as an indulgence; they should be considered to be a necessity for managing your sobriety.
Self-care can take on different forms for every individual.
Self-care is personal and can vary from person to person. In general, self-care is the practice of taking time out for yourself to participate in or perform activities that you enjoy. These activities should center around helping you have a better quality of life and improving your overall physical health and mental well-being.
Self-care activities that improve your physical health could include exercising, eating healthy, dancing or enjoying your favorite outdoor sports pursuits.
Mental self-care activities are those activities that will help lower your stress levels. These activities could include meditation, leisurely reading, watching a movie or connecting with friends and loved ones.
A few reasons why self-care is essential in addiction recovery.
Self-care is essential to your long-term success in recovery. Why? Because it helps you develop healthy coping mechanisms that you can use to overcome those people, places, things or environments that would make you want to start using drugs or alcohol again.
It is essential in your recovery process that you create routines that will help you positively cope with your emotions and circumstances. Self-care helps replace negative behaviors with physical and mental activities that will improve your mood, lower your stress and help you stay focused on your personal well-being.
There are self-care practices that you can start to do today.
Need help starting your self-care journey? Below are suggested activities that may help you get started on your self-care journey immediately.
The most common form of mindfulness practice used throughout the world is breath meditation.
Meditation involves keeping your attention on one object for an extended period. As your mind naturally wanders, you slowly and gently bring your attention back to the object until it wanders again. The act of bringing your attention back works the mind like a muscle, putting you in the driver’s seat and reducing your reactivity to your thoughts and emotions.
Sleep is important and receiving the proper amount of sleep will help improve your mood and increase your productivity.
Are you getting enough sleep? According to a study on getting enough sleep, adults need at least seven hours of sleep or more. In addition, having a good quality of sleep is extremely important in recovery. Sleep helps your body heal, helps your brain function properly and helps to keep you focused on maintaining your sobriety.
Find ways to connect with others that bring you joy and help to reduce your stress levels.
According to a study on the benefits of peer support groups in the treatment of addiction, “Active engagement in peer support groups has shown to be a key predictor of recovery.” It is important to stay connected with a support group of peers, friends and family. Find ways to connect with others that bring you joy and help to reduce your stress levels.
If you think you will have trouble fitting self-care activities into your lifestyle, make it a point to plan your self-care. Do you have meetings or obligations throughout the day? If so, it may be helpful to schedule time for self-care. Some ideas would be to schedule a healthy lunch, an outdoor walk or even a break to sit quietly. Be sure to place these on your calendar and set a reminder to take a break from your routine.
At PaRC (Prevention and Recovery Center), we take every possible approach to improve our patients’ lives and free them from their dependency on drugs and alcohol.
Our treatment programs not only treat an individual’s SUD, but we also offer a variety of therapies to heal their body, mind and spirit. We believe that practicing self-care is essential, and our addiction treatment programs offer holistic therapies that include connecting our clients with nature, new physical activities and peer support groups.
A small portion of our services and amenities that support self-care include:
- Drum/Music Therapy: A tool for communication and personal expression; this experience enables participants to apply music-making to stress-reduction, self-expression and community building.
- PaRC Greenhouse: Incorporates the healing elements of nature into a program with structured activities in our on-site greenhouse.
- Fitness Recovery: Customized fitness sessions with our on-site fitness specialist in our state-of-the-art fitness center.
- Nutrition Recovery: Proper nutrition aids all aspects of one’s emotional and physical healing; we provide each client with tasty meals packed with the proper nutrition.
- Experiential Therapy: Encourages participants to identify and address hidden or complex issues through activities such as role-playing, guided imagery, the use of props and a range of other active experiences.
Self-care is essential to long-term recovery from substance use disorder. Not only is self-care important to your overall well-being, in recovery, self-care is also self-preservation. Self-care practices are unique to each individual and should be centered around activities that you enjoy. If you need help getting started on your self-care journey and are unsure of what to do, you can begin simply by practicing mindfulness, getting the proper amount of sleep and connecting with your support community. At PaRC, we believe that practicing self-care is essential, and we offer a variety of therapies to heal the body, mind and spirit of an individual and help treat their addiction. If you or a loved one needs help and are seeking treatment programs, we are here to help. Call us at (713) 939-7272, and we can customize a treatment plan specifically for your needs. Do not hesitate; pick up the phone and call us today.