Many people struggle with the concept of self-care, because they believe that it makes them selfish, but there is a big difference between self-care and selfishness. For instance, flight attendants tell you to put your own mask on first before assisting others, and social workers will tell you to take care of yourself so you have the stamina to care for your family. These messages point out the fact that we have to make ourselves a priority to have the physical and emotional strength to help others, which is particularly true for people who are committed to overcoming addiction.
Many universities guide students who are living independently for the first time, and those publications can also help people in addiction recovery. The University of Kentucky’s publication, So What is Self-Care?, discusses self-care as the following range of behaviors:
- Physical – If your body is not properly maintained, then you can suffer from numerous health issues. It is important to eat healthy foods on a regular schedule, get daily exercise, adhere to a sleep pattern and seek medical advice when needed. For people in recovery, physical health must be a priority, because it has already withstood considerable damage due to addiction.
- Emotional – Some people find journaling to be an effective tool for health, because it allows them to relieve some of the tension and keep track of their emotional status over a period of time. Other people find meditation and other relaxing activities helpful for emotional equilibrium. Of course, if you think you struggle with emotional issues, then seek help from a trained counselor.
- Social – Another aspect of self-care is engaging socially with people who support your recovery. Get involved in new activities, engage in volunteer work and explore hobbies that can open your eyes, mind and heart to an array of enjoyable events.
Notice that these suggestions are constructive and healthy, which is the key to self-care. You must engage constructive, healthy behaviors that allow your body, mind and spirit to flourish.
Keep Recovery as Your Top Focus
The most important reason to keep recovery as your top focus is to reduce the chances of relapse. In his article, 8 Ways to Prevent Relapse, Dr. Samuel Adams, a psychotherapist, identifies the following ways to avoid relapse:
- Be proactive and positive
- Practice willpower
- Live in the moment
- Stay in therapy
- Have patience
- Take care of your physical health
- Avoid being around alcohol and drugs
- Realize that your symptoms are normal
While many of these suggestions are similar to the self-care suggestions, the focus here is on self-empowerment. Each idea inheres that you are in control and that you must give yourself permission to make prioritize sobriety. These suggestions also create environments in which you understand that your feelings are normal and expected.
Relapse Prevention Plans
One of the best ways to keep recovery a top focus is by creating a relapse prevention plan. Create a plan that matches your personality and one with which you are totally comfortable. For help accomplishing this task, an online nursing program in Wyoming has a simple form, Relapse Prevention Plan, that provides the following topics for you to consider:
- By writing the plan down, you have entered into a contract with yourself to adhere to the plan when you are at riskIf you are at risk for relapse, then this list provides the exact actions you are going to take, a key part of the plan. When you feel cravings, you may not be thinking clearly, but you do not have to think with a plan in hand, because you can simply refer to it for guidance.
- The plan also includes a list of people and their contact information. Be sure to have several people in your support network so you can call many helpers in the event that one person is unavailable.To reinforce your commitment to your sobriety, identify the consequences of your substance abuse
- The plan also includes the signs, triggers and stressors that may lead to relapse, so you should take action should one or more of them occur
- You also include the activities that you can engage when you think you are at risk, which means you can distract yourself in a healthy way
- Finally, the plan describes the specific action you are to take should you relapse
Have several copies of your written plan to keep your recovery as your top focus. These copies create a safety net for you with detailed instructions when you are at risk.
Learn More About Recovery
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