We hear this term “self-care” a lot in recovery from both mental health disorders and substance use disorders. We have to learn how to participate in self-care. Self-care is important. Having a healthy self-care practice means we are able to self-soothe and make time for taking care of ourselves. Self-care also means that we have learned about our personal wants and needs. We can overexert ourselves sometimes. Forgetfully, we take our new found strengths and run with them. Our disabilities are no longer debilitating and we are liberated to live life more fully again. We can do too much. Self-care is a nonjudgmental, and proactively not self centered way to make time for taking care of ourselves in exactly the way we need to.
Self-care can be hard to do. Shame, guilt, and self-loathing make a pretty decent argument in our minds when we think about doing something for self-care. We might tell ourselves we don’t deserve it, we aren’t worth it, we haven’t earned it, or we’re pathetic for needing it. Ouch! Such moments more than others require a little extra self-love and self-compassion.
Each person’s self-care regimen will be different. Finding and developing your unique methods for self-care is part of the journey of recovery. Try these suggestions for guiding your way to being a self-care specialist.
First, remind yourself it’s OK to practice self-care and that it’s good for you. Second, ask yourself what it would take for you to completely enjoy time you spend with yourself. Do you need pampering? Would you like to work on a relationship or part of your relationship with yourself? Would self-care involve spending time on a favorite hobbies, activity, or exercise? Spend self-care time with yourself. Try to put down your phone, stay off of social media, and even out of contact with people for even just one hour. You aren’t isolating, but taking necessary time to reboot. Validate yourself. It would be nice if we could get a gold star for every difficult thing we did in recovery from mental health and substance use disorders. Buy your own sticker set and pat yourself on the back. This journey is completely yours. Own it and be proud!
Avalon By The Sea offers premier primary diagnosis treatment for psychiatric disorders as well as dual diagnosis and co-occurring issues. For a confidential assessment and more information on our programs of treatment call 1-855-464-8492.