The Importance of Self Care in Recovery

Recovery is a lifelong process. Self-care is important throughout that process to foster growth in areas of self-awareness and to prevent relapse. Self-help in recovery includes care for the whole person: physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional.

Physical Self Care

Exercise is important for good general health and as part of self-care and relapse prevention. Choose whatever form of physical exercise you enjoy and can perform consistently. This could include a variety of activities such as walking, practicing yoga, improving your golf game, or swimming. Eating a proper diet — one that is nutritionally sound and can stabilize mood and reduce drug cravings — is critical. Drinking plenty of water and ensuring proper sleep also help you maintain a healthy, drug-free lifestyle over the long term.

Mental Self Care

When you’re in recovery, you sometimes tend to have negative thoughts. However, long-term recovery is dependent upon focusing on the positive. Smile and laugh often. Find something positive in every experience. Count your blessings and practice the spiritual discipline of gratitude. Surround yourself with positive, nonanxious people who will help you remain positive and grounded. Learn to accept criticism in a positive way. This can be done by:

  • Taking a moment to breathe before responding to criticism
  • Remain open-minded so you can really hear the criticism
  • Remember that criticism may not be about you. Sometimes the one criticizing is reacting to his or her own bad day.
  • Learn to sort constructive criticism from destructive. Learn from the constructive and disregard the rest.
  • Reply or just let it go. Either way, don’t dwell on what you’ve heard.

Spiritual Self Care

Spiritual practices can be linked to a particular faith tradition, such as Christianity or Islam. However, they don’t have to be; many people find ways to connect with spiritual practices without connecting with formal religion. Experiment to discover your own personal beliefs and what will best nurture your own spirituality. For some people, this is a regular meditation time; for others it is travel. Some will be nurtured by self-exploration practices, such as journaling. Others will find that the regular practice of a religion nurtures their soul.

Emotional Self Care

When you’re in recovery, you may be flooded with emotions that you have repressed during the years you were drinking or using other drugs. This can be scary. Much of your success in recovery will depend upon being able to manage these emotions appropriately. Guilt, shame, and anger can be particularly challenging. Learning to forgive yourself and to forgive others will help master these emotions. Positive emotional care also includes:

  • Taking time to relax and recharge
  • Practice journaling and other techniques for self-reflection
  • Accept responsibility for your own actions but not for the actions of others.
  • Let go of things you cannot control
  • Be aware of over-critical self-talk

Need Help With Your Recovery? Contact The Renaissance Recovery Center

Remember that you aren’t alone in recovery. A good alcohol and drug rehabilitation program provides aftercare and other specialized services for positive self-help in recovery. The program can help you deal with everything from shame issues to the need to learn effective meditation practices to faith-based recovery. Give us a call today.

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