Everyone always talks about how important self-care is, so why do so many of us in recovery “rest on our laurels,” as they say, when it comes to treating our mind, body, and spirit well?
When we’re in active addiction, our disease commonly takes over our lives, often leading to neglect. This means that things like our health, fitness, diet, personal hygiene, mental health and more can get placed on the back burner. Sometimes these things aren’t even given a second thought.
Getting clean doesn’t only require giving up drugs, alcohol, and other compulsive behaviors, but it usually means a complete lifestyle change. Since self-care is generally one of the first things to go down the tubes when active addiction kicks in, it’s more important than ever to start introducing healthy habits back into our lives when we do get clean.
Healthy habits also lead to a more stable mind, better coping strategies, and fewer unhealthy cravings.
Here are some self-care tips to help make your recovery journey a smoother one:
- Maintain a healthy diet. Proper nutrition is one of the keys to a healthy mind, body, and spirit. Not only does a healthy diet help you to maintain a healthy weight and keep things like your blood sugar levels stable, but it actually contributes to your overall mood. Eating well improves your metabolism so that you have more energy, helps keep your hormones in balance, and can even raise serotonin and dopamine levels. The best part? It’s all done naturally, so there’s no need for the chemical high.
- Exercise. Much like eating well, exercise can help keep our hormones, metabolism, and things like dopamine and serotonin levels in check. This doesn’t mean you have to spend all of your money on a gym membership. Having a good fitness routine can mean going for regular jogs, hikes, bicycle rides, and swims, among other things. Yoga and dance are other great ways to move your body. Taking care of your body with exercise will give you the natural high that you’ve historically craved from drugs, alcohol, or other unhealthy compulsions.
- Practice mindfulness. Stay mindful of your bodily sensations, mood swings, or any other triggers that crop up that could lead to a relapse. Not that relapse is always the inevitable end of the road, but you want to enjoy your recovery, right? Adopting a mindfulness practice through things like yoga and meditation helps you observe your emotions, address potential triggers, and redirect your thoughts before sinking into depression or being overcome by anxiety. And, of course, one of the benefits here is that you’ll happen to be at less risk of a relapse.
- Make time for fun and relaxation. Don’t ever underestimate the importance of fun and relaxation in recovery. Learning how to enjoy life and chill out without drugs, alcohol, or other unhealthy coping strategies is the ultimate freedom, and it’s well within reach, too. If you’re historically used to doing things like attending parties, weddings, sporting events, and other social gatherings while drunk or high, then this might take some getting used to. Once you’ve spent some time in recovery, however, you’ll likely start to discover that life can be just as much fun without drugs or alcohol, particularly if you start to build up a network of friends and contacts in recovery. And the best part? You’ll bypass the hangover entirely. Oh, and you’ll save money one booze, powders, and pills, too.
- Get plenty of sleep. The importance of a good night’s sleep cannot be stressed enough. Lack of proper sleep can have a negative impact on your mood and your mental health, and can make focusing on recovery very challenging. Poor sleep also impacts the immune system, our metabolism, and causes unhealthy food cravings, among other things. All of these can negatively impact our mood and for reasons addressed already, can potentially have an impact on our recovery and if we’re not careful, can lead to relapse.
- Be creative. Make time to exercise the right side of your brain. Creativity allows you to be innovative – to create your own ideas and make your own decisions. Creativity gives you the opportunity to create something where there was nothing before. Our creativity is so often stifled, but it’s one of the most empowering traits we can access because it’s part of what makes us uniquely us. And creativity can mean anything – it doesn’t mean you need to paint Rembrandt-quality masterpieces or compose an opus that the likes of Beethoven and Chopin would’ve been proud of. If you’re a painter or a musician, then go for it. But maybe you just like to cook or bake and get a little creative with your ingredients. Or perhaps you like to write poems, or arrange flowers. Whatever it is, carving out regular time for creativity is another great serotonin and dopamine booster that can really help your mood and keep drug or alcohol cravings at bay.
At the end of the day, good self-care will enhance your clean time tenfold, and it’s one of the most important aspects in recovery, leading to improved health and a better overall wellbeing.
Kembali Recovery Center can help
If you or someone you love is struggling with drugs, alcohol, or other compulsive behaviors, Kembali Recovery Center can help. Contact us today to learn more about our 28 day treatment program.