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Self-Care is an Important Part of Recovery

People in recovery often feel overwhelmed and stressed. Some of this stress is just the normal cycle of life, while other types of stress and problems may be a result of your addiction. You can’t fix anything (especially yourself!) overnight. A lot of people try to “do it all” when they first get clean, without realizing that they’re spreading themselves thin. Stress, and being overwhelmed in general, are not good for people with substance abuse disorders. Learning how to cope with stress and painful emotions is essential in all phases of recovery. Self-care is an essential tool that many people use to help them stay focused.

What is Self-Care?

Self-care is a term that’s used to describe a behavior that is healthy and helps you relax or rejuvenate. For many people, there are hobbies that they want to resume. Indulging in reading a book or going for a long walk are both excellent examples of self-care.

Self-care is up to each individual. What works for your sponsor may not help you at all. Obviously, if you find reading stressful, cracking open a book won’t help you decompress. If you’re not sure what enables you to relax, there are a lot of options that can help you. It’s time to explore some fun methods of self-care you might not have considered yet.

10 Suggestions for Self-Care

If you’re not sure where to start with self-care, here are ten different ideas to try out. Take what you need and leave the rest!

  1. Going for a long walk (or jog). A nature walk might be just the thing that helps you clear your head. Or, you may enjoy seeing the sights and sounds of the city.
  2. Take a long shower or bath. If you live with others, make sure you set aside a time that allows everyone to get what they need. Consider getting a shower radio to help lift your spirits.
  3. Take your dog to the park. If you are lucky enough to have a furry friend, there’s nothing better to cheer your mood than watching him have fun outdoors.
  4. Write in a journal. Use journaling as a way to “get it all out” and let it be as messy and angry as you want. Nobody is going to read it.
  5. Join an amateur team. If you live in or near a city, there are kickball, softball, and soccer games that adults gather to play every week. Commit to a team and enjoy companionship as well as sport.
  6. Take a class. Many people enjoy learning to cook, sew, or draw. It’s never too late to learn, and your local community center might have something great to check out.
  7. Join a book club. Every month, you will need to take time to read your book, and you’ll probably have some fun making new friends.
  8. Get your hair cut. While it sounds simple, getting a new “look” or feeling “fresh” can help you with your self-esteem, and it’s almost always a fun experience.
  9. Allow yourself a day of rest. This may mean binge-watching Netflix or simply laying around the house. Take some time off to enjoy yourself. Then get to a meeting the same evening.
  10. Get some form of exercise every week, whether it’s yoga, surfing, jogging, or aerobics. Regular exercise decreases levels of stress and anxiety by generating serotonin (a feel-good chemical).

Taking care of yourself may seem like a difficult thing to do, but once you start practicing self-care, you’ll find that life is less overwhelming. Take the time for yourself whenever you need it, and practice self-care when you’re feeling tired or stressed. You’ll find that life is more comfortable when you’ve learned to cope with your stress healthily.

Getting Help

Do you or somebody that you know need help with alcohol or drugs? Recovery is possible! The first step is reaching out for help. Give us a 100% confidential phone call at US (949) 279-1376 or MX (612) 153-5726 to learn about our compassionate and holistic recovery programs.



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Hi! I’m Melissa Stailey, a freelance writer that loves to cook. I live and work in Washington, DC.