Have you ever thought of addiction as a form of self-harm? The opposite of self-harm is self-care. The neglect of self-care may begin slowly but it can develop into self-destruction. In today’s busy and frantic world, everyone needs a self-care plan. Recovering individuals especially need self-care methods that counteract their engagement in self-harm through substance abuse for their long-term well-being.
The Big Deal About Self-Care
Self-care is probably the most ignored yet most necessary part of everyday life. Self-care is necessary because everyone experiences a certain level of stress every day that can accumulate to excessive and chronic stress. Many health professionals advocate for stress management as a critical life skill.
Self-care concerns your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. In this increasingly overstimulating world, you must build healthy habits and boundaries to buffer the impact of negative environmental, interpersonal, and situational factors. Essential lifestyle-related self-care is necessary to keep you in tune with your mind and body.
Most People Are Not Doing Enough Self-Care
There are many misconceptions about self-care. Some people believe it is synonymous with self-indulgence and therefore avoid it. This mentality seems altruistic, but it is often founded on low self-esteem. People with a sense of low self-worth may feel guilty for thinking they need to take a break or adequately care for themselves.
Self-care is different from self-indulgence—the latter is just a temporary, quick fix while the former is guided by a mind toward maintenance and overall well-being. It is introspective and individualized, not up for mass consumption. There is no set prescription or template for it. This may also be one reason many people do not know where to start when it comes to self-care.
Many Facets of Self-Care
Although the term “self-care” is widely used, it is more multifaceted and complex than most people understand it. There are at least six types of self-care: physical, emotional, mental, social, spiritual, and professional self-care.
For example, emotional and mental self-care are often considered the same. However emotional self-care has to do with how you connect and process emotions healthily, while mental self-care encompasses the healthy functioning of the mind and psyche.
Social self-care requires that you maintain and nurture relationships with others. Spending quality time with family and friends, making new friends, and joining regular sober social activities are aspects of social self-care. You do these to avoid isolation.
Another often-neglected aspect is professional self-care, which is comprised of ways to fulfill work responsibilities while maintaining work-life balance. These include not working overtime, socializing with coworkers, investing time in professional development, and setting boundaries in working relationships.
A Science-Proven Action Plan for Self-Care
Many self-care methods are backed by science. For example, spending time outdoors is beneficial to your physical and mental well-being. Whether you go for a walk or meditate in a green space, this method may bring greater life satisfaction and reduce mental distress.
Gratitude has also been proven to be a beneficial self-care method. You can practice gratitude by writing a thank-you note to friends, saying daily thankfulness prayers, or keeping a gratitude journal. Reminding yourself to show gratefulness to others in life also encourages emotional health.
Sensory movements such as playing music or dancing can help release emotional pain and stress. Finding time for artistic or creative activities can lighten up your spirit. Consider yourself a child again—children benefit greatly from sensory play because it helps get their bodies and minds in tune.
Listening to the Body and Treating It Well
If you take time to get in tune with your body, it will tell you what it needs. Whatever aspect of self-care you may have been neglecting can become clear when you listen carefully to your body. All aspects of self-care are interconnected, and sometimes fixing one requires challenging another.
Grounding yourself physically can be a great start to improving your overall wellness. Set some time for a pampering facial spa and massage to soothe the mind and muscles. Research shows that more physical contact can reduce stress and release feel-good hormones in the body. You will feel a better connection between the mind and the body.
Sometimes your body needs some physical cuddling with loved ones. Find family and friends who can offer your body this kind of comfort. Hugging can also smooth things in a challenging relationship. It’s a physical gesture of an internal, invisible making of peace.
Self-care also means that you schedule regular checkups with your healthcare providers. Skipping appointments or not working collaboratively with your doctor to monitor your physical health may be warning signs of insufficient self-care.
Evaluating Self-Care Basics
Recovering individuals who are making progress in maintaining sobriety may backslide on self-care basics, like getting enough sleep and organizing the home. For example, after a late night out with friends, catching up on enough sleep is a matter of personal responsibility.
Doing house chores to declutter and get things organized in the home also produce a calmer living environment. Your home should be stocked with nutritious foods and supplies to provide your body with a healthy baseline.
Recovery is a journey where can learn to love the person you are, increase self-esteem, and continue to grow strong in body and mind. If you are looking for a good addiction treatment center, consider one that believes in a strong emphasis on self-care techniques. Through one-on-one mentorship and support group meetings, you have the opportunity to learn self-care techniques that can impact you in the long term. At Laguna Shores Recovery, our experienced mental health professionals and compassionate staff know the value of peer support. We will walk alongside you or your loved one to offer support and guidance. Our alumni programs offer stellar aftercare and connect you with a lifelong community of fellow recovering individuals. Call us today to discover how you can be part of our community, as peer support is key to recovery. For more information, call 866-934-5276.