During the transition from substance use to recovery, it’s important to prioritize your well-being. Treatment and sober support is important, but self-care is essential for an individual in recovery.
Completing an addiction treatment program is a big step - but when individuals try to navigate daily life and utilize tools taught in rehab, many feel addiction triggers lurk around every corner.
One of the most effective ways to avoid relapse triggers is to practice self-care and make yourself your top priority.
6 Ways To Practice Self-Care
It’s not necessary to run a marathon - but getting physical is important. Taking a short walk or a bike ride can be a good break in the day, and exercise releases “feel-good” endorphins and relieves stress. You might even find it fun to join a recreational sports league, try surfing, seek out an interesting hiking trail or participate in a daily yoga flow. The self-care activities you choose can be as simple or complex as you like.
2. Eat Healthy
How we eat affects so many key parts of our physical, mental and emotional health. Even if you have a healthy eating regimen during active addiction, some substances - specifically alcohol - stop your body from absorbing healthy nutrients from those foods.
Creating a simple meal plan will help stay on track with your nutrition during addiction recovery. It’s important to eat a balanced diet, reduce the amount of sugar and caffeine, and drink lots of water. It may also be helpful to meet with a dietitian or nutritionist to help determine specific dietary needs to find an achievable balanced lifestyle.
3. Get Sleep
Getting quality sleep is just as important as eating healthy and exercising, according to HealthLine. Our moods and our perception of the day are affected by sleep, and individuals are much more inclined to have a positive attitude the next day after sleeping well the night before. Setting and keeping a regular sleep pattern can be very beneficial, physically and emotionally.
Recovery is not always easy, and stress is a major cause for relapse. Find ways to relax and reduce stress: get a massage, practice breathing exercises, get physical and take a walk, or schedule some time for journaling, reflection, and meditation.
5. Find Support
Support can be a group or person an individual feels they can openly communicate about personal experiences. Because recovery can be a very uncomfortable and sensitive subject, building a social support network means finding people who may be able to offer trustworthy advice or have relatable experiences.
6. Set Boundaries
Setting healthy boundaries means making decisions aligned with your own goals and values. Being the best version of yourself enables you to better express yourself to others.
When you’re used to always being guided by what others want, saying ‘no’ might feel uncomfortable, selfish or even embarrassing. Do it anyway and remind yourself you have a right to self-care.
When you feel resentment or find yourself whining or complaining, you probably need to set a boundary. Listen to yourself, determine what you need to do or say, then communicate it confidently. You will start to see and feel a difference in your mental health when you start taking your own needs and feelings into account first.
It's normal for there to be growing pains and a learning curve - and setbacks are a part of the journey. Self-care during recovery will become second nature as you practice new habits.
If you or a loved one need help for an addiction or alcohol problem, call us at: (630) 402-0144.