As we step onto the path of our recovery journey, one of the important tools that we will carry with us is daily self-care. Doing things for ourselves to maintain or improve our mental and physical health is a very valuable tool in our recovery process. Self-care is something that we can and should do daily for the rest of our lives. Not just to maintain mental and physical health, but also to show ourselves that we are important. When we prioritize self-care, we are prioritizing ourselves.
When we hear “self-care,” what do we think? Some may think it is about going to the spa or spending all day meditating. Of course, it can include those activities if we choose, but self-care is far more reaching. It is taking time every day for ourselves, for our mental and physical well-being. It is doing the things for ourselves that we usually prioritize after everything we do for work, family, friends, and everyone and everything besides us.
Self-care is an awareness of the things that we need to be happy and healthy. We might invest time in a new hobby, or one we have neglected for too long. Self-care can be yoga or another exercise, but not the kind we begrudgingly check off our to-do list. Self-care is about the things that help us breathe more freely, feel more passionately, and smile more often. Self-care is about us, about putting ourselves ahead of our schedule and loving ourselves enough to put our needs first.
Why Self-Care Matters to Our Health
As we are coming out of substance use, it is not just our minds that have been neglected, it is our bodies as well. Whether it is nutrition, exercise, good sleep, vitamins and supplements, or other practices that will improve our physical health, we need as much of all of these as possible. Being realistic, we can prioritize the things that are most important to our health and commit to doing them every day as our own self-care.
Nourishing our minds is not only following medical advice from our doctor. Not only is it the practicing of skills such as mindfulness meditation and all of the recovery skills that help us to keep our minds clear and healthy. Nourishing our minds also means doing things that bring us joy. Doing things that excite us, inspire us, and give us fulfillment.
Committing to ourselves to take care of our bodies and our minds sends a message to ourselves and others that we matter. Our lives and our mental and physical health matter enough to take the time every day and feed our minds, bodies, and souls. By prioritizing ourselves and our health, we become stronger and better able to function in all areas of our lives.
Why Self-Care Matters to Our Recovery
Living with substance use means that we have been putting our substances first, ahead of ourselves, our family, work, friends, and more. Most importantly, we have lived by putting our substances ahead of ourselves and what we need mentally, physically, and spiritually.
Recovery isn’t only about sobriety, it is about recovering ourselves. In doing so, when we practice self-care, we are living for ourselves every day. We are putting ourselves first, which is the opposite of how we lived during substance use. Self-care is a daily reminder of the new commitments we have made to ourselves, an outward showing of the changes we have made in recovery.
The Benefits of Self-Care
Everyone should be practicing self-care, it is something that helps us all be healthier, happier, and more productive. However, in recovery, it goes well beyond health, happiness, and productivity. Self-care is an extension of our treatment when it comes to our physical health, and will help us to continue to heal our bodies and become stronger.
Mentally, self-care also strengthens us. Each day, we renew our promises to ourselves that we made when we chose recovery. Everything we do for ourselves strengthens that resolve. It also helps us to fill our time with fulfilling activities that not only give us joy but also keep us busy. Self-care is the reward that we reap every day from that singular choice to become substance-free.
When we prioritize ourselves above everything and everyone else, we demonstrate self-love. The forgiveness we achieved in treatment is actualized daily as we give ourselves the things that we need mentally, physically, and spiritually, and our respect and love for ourselves grow with each little thing that we do.
Prioritizing ourselves tells the world that we matter, that we are committed to our recovery and ourselves. Above all else, this message is sent to ourselves every day. That is a very powerful message. A message that is stronger than substance use, stronger than fear of relapse, and stronger than self-doubt or loathing. The message is internalized with every physical manifestation of self-care, every day that we make the time and effort to fill our own needs ahead of everyone and everything else.
Prioritizing yourself can become your way of life. Take that initial step in the recovery process and learn how to practice self-care. At AToN Center, we help you to flip the balance from prioritizing your substance to prioritizing yourself. By calling (888) 535-1516 today, you are making that first choice of putting yourself first. Learn to love yourself. Give yourself the life-sustaining gift of self-care.