One of the most vital aspects of addiction recovery is the ability to take care of your own needs and cultivate wellness. Self-care in recovery can elevate the quality of your life as you navigate the sometimes difficult landscape that follows treatment. While in treatment for a drug or alcohol addiction, the structure of the program, with its consistent sources of education and emotional support, acted like scaffolding that helped keep you strong. Once the program was complete, the focus shifts to creating your own sources of support in recovery.
Peer and family support go a long way in providing strength in recovery, but self-care is at least as important. This is because if you neglect your own needs you may find yourself becoming discouraged, distracted, exhausted, and weakened in spirit, setting you up for relapse. So embrace the new version of yourself in recovery, nurture it, feed it, and respect it. Doing so will solidify your resolve to remain sober and help you to literally thrive in recovery.
6 Components of Effective Self-Care in Recovery
1. Physical Wellbeing. Restoring physical health in recovery is absolutely essential to a positive recovery outcome. Addiction can take a serious toll on our bodies, from neglecting nutrition to ending up with vitamin deficiencies and health issues. Create a wellness plan that encompasses all areas of physical wellbeing, such as:
- Healthy diet. Concentrate on lean sources of protein, fresh veggies and fruits, nuts and seeds, whole grains, and plenty of water. Avoid junk foods and sweets, and limit caffeine.
- Regular exercise. Engage in moderate exercise for a half hour four times per week for improved muscle tone and stamina, as well as overall mood.
- Improved sleep quality. Create a strategy to achieve quality sleep, such as a regular bedtime schedule and routine, avoiding caffeine after 3pm, ditching the cell phone, and enjoying a warm bath before bed.
- Self-pampering. There is a real need to keep stress at a minimum in early recovery, so include some massage therapy, a yoga class, or a day at the spa to reduce stress and rejuvenate and restore overall wellbeing.
2. Emotional Wellbeing. Practice the new habits learned in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), where negative thoughts and behaviors are replaced with productive, positive ones. Keep a check on your emotional wellbeing by continuing to get outpatient counseling for issues that pop up which could be triggering. Practice mindfulness throughout the day, keeping yourself in the moment and processing feelings in real time. Reintroduce yourself to your passions, be they music, art, live theater, crafting, or volunteering at a local charity.
3. Spiritual Wellbeing. Nurture your personal spiritual self by spending time in prayer, meditation, or solo walks in nature. Attend a church service or join a worship group or spirituality-based book club. Feeling connected to a higher power or God, or oneness with the universe all serve the inherent need we humans have to be a part of something much greater than ourselves. Keeping a gratitude journal is an excellent way to acknowledge daily blessings and to document spiritual growth.
4. Mental Stimulation. People thrive on intellectual stimulation, whether it be by playing board games, reading a classic novel, learning a new job skill, going back to college for a degree or advanced degree, or learning how to knit. By stimulating your brain you will engage in widening your knowledge base while avoiding boredom and mental stagnation.
5. Social Relationships. Relationships are often damaged during addiction. In recovery, why not restore the relationships worth keeping by nurturing them back to health while creating new meaningful relationships within your new sober lifestyle sphere. Recovery groups offer opportunities to make new friends with people also committed to recovery.
6. Practical Needs. While in recovery it is common to neglect the dentist or annual physical exam. Practical self-care involves taking care of routine needs that will help you maintain good health and hygiene, to make improvements, deep-clean or de-clutter your living environment, and to address financial budgeting and bill-paying routines. As boring as this type of self-care may sound, by addressing the practical needs in life you will experience less stress and feel more focused and organized.
Phoenix Rising Behavioral Orange County Outpatient Addiction Treatment
Phoenix Rising Behavioral is a leading outpatient provider of effective addiction treatment located in South Orange County, California. Woven throughout the treatment program and continuing care program at Phoenix Rising is the importance of self-care in recovery. Seen as a critical aspect of post-treatment success, our clinicians emphasize the significance of taking care of all aspects of self, including body, mind, and spirit, as clients progress in their new life in recovery. For more information about our outpatient treatment program and sober living resources, please contact Phoenix Rising today at (877) 299-5694.