Self-care is essential to the recovery process. Taking care of yourself isn’t just meeting your physical needs, but your emotional and spiritual needs too. To have a successful recovery, it’s imperative to incorporate self-care practices into your daily life. Neglecting self-care can only worsen your mental health, which is why you need to prioritize your needs.
When You Neglect Your Needs
Taking care of yourself is incredibly essential because it can impact your mental health and long-term physical health. If your needs go neglected, you can experience higher amounts of stress, medical issues such as heart and lung problems, and a higher chance of emotional spiral. Putting your needs first and foremost is especially important in recovery because it’s easy to lose track of your goals as a sober person. If you have struggled with substance use, self-care might have included recovering from hangovers and withdrawals while completely ignoring your other needs, such as exercise, drinking enough water, and getting adequate sleep.
During recovery, you need to start good habits that focus on self-care. If you’re out of practice when it comes to keeping up with caring for yourself, it’ll take time to get used to. Once you start implementing self-care into your daily routine, it becomes that much easier.
Caring For Yourself
It can be hard to put yourself first, especially if self-care was never a priority growing up. You might not even know where to start. People have natural needs, such as sleep, food, water, and exercise. Along with those needs are emotional conditions such as security, support, and understanding. People might know that they need to exercise or eat enough, but they might forget that self-care isn’t just your physical needs.
It takes time to build self-care as a habit, but luckily it doesn’t need to be highly complicated. The important part is that you are aware of your needs and address them, allowing yourself to feel like a healthier person.
Taking Care of Your Body
Self-care isn’t necessarily just about taking a long bath or starting a skincare routine, though these are certain things you can include. Self-care for your body involves listening to its needs and then taking care of them, not by doing the bare minimum, but by giving your body the best you can provide.
Let’s take a look at your needs. Every day, you need to eat a well-balanced meal, stay hydrated, get plenty of sleep, and exercise. You might have been minimally satisfying some of these needs, either by eating some food that might not be well balanced or getting the bare minimum of sleep. Using self-care as a part of recovery, though, asks you to look at how you take care of your needs and what you can do to make yourself feel better.
Allowing for Bad Days
There will always be times when taking care of yourself is hard. These are the problematic mental health days when things feel too difficult. Taking it easy and allowing yourself to feel these uncomfortable emotions is a form of self-care in itself. Instead of hiding from the complex emotions, you feel them and sit with them, not letting them overtake you but allowing yourself instead to acknowledge that you don’t feel okay right now. Bad days give you a chance to emotionally care for yourself instead of expecting yourself to perform at your best.
How Self Care Helps With Recovery
Self-care is vital in recovery because those who have used substances most likely neglected their needs. This lifestyle created an endless cycle of feeling awful, self-medicating because you feel awful, and then feeling awful after self-medicating. Those with addiction might also not know the importance of self-care due to upbringing or toxic relationships in their life. They might have struggled to put themselves first over others, despite what it was doing to their mental and physical health.
Prioritizing self-care in recovery boosts your self-esteem, improves your mental health by alleviating symptoms of anxiety and depression, and can be a fantastic way to combat the adverse long-term effects of substance use. Eating well and exercising can reverse weight loss or gain from substance use. Sleep can help the brain repair damages done by substances, and focusing on emotional self-care can improve your mood and keep you from spiraling. Self-care can provide you with a sense of stability during a time when it’s the most essential, allowing you the space to heal without causing yourself more harm.
If you aren’t used to practicing self-care, it can feel awkward at first. Over time, you’ll get used to prioritizing self-care instead of neglecting your needs. It takes time to form a habit of practicing self-care, but once the pattern is solidified in your daily life, you’ll notice how much of a positive impact it makes on your overall mental and physical health.
Putting your needs first isn’t selfish. Instead, it’s self-loving, and no one can fault you for that. If you aren’t used to self-care, try making incremental changes and watch how your self-image and self-esteem improve. There are countless benefits to practicing self-care, which is why it’s so crucial to recovering. Find creative ways to incorporate self-care into your daily life and recovery practices. Recovery gives you this unique chance to start anew and reclaim your identity.
If you would like to learn more ways to practice self-care, call Villa Oasis San Diego today at (323) 739-8673.