The Definition and Benefits of Self-Care
When endeavoring to define the term “self-care”, it may seem like a no-brainer; however, once we apply this concept to addiction recovery, it becomes a bit more complicated. Each person’s substance abuse history is unique and thus, their immediate and ongoing therapy will be unique as well. It’s important to define what self-care techniques work for us early on so we can immediately begin to integrate them into our post-treatment lives. Once we identify which self-care techniques work best for us, we acquire more tools in our recovery arsenal to sustain sobriety and avoid relapse. It’s just one more way to insulate us from a setback.
All things being equal, self care is defined as any intentional action we take to promote and improve our own physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health. When we apply this concept to addiction care, it gets tied to the development of our emotional strength and confidence. It’s important to approach our self-care regimens with the knowledge that our physical and mental health is largely connected. What we eat, how treat our bodies and our levels of fitness are all cornerstones of self-care. There are, however, some other more targeted methods from which we may benefit.
Meditation – Ten minutes of silent meditation in the morning can drastically alter the trajectory of our day. It can help us align our priorities so we don’t get overwhelmed. It can help lower our blood pressure and better equip us to handle the pressures of day-to-day life.
Alternative Pain Management Techniques – Pain is a common part of the withdrawal process and it can often last for months or even years after detox. Therapies like massage, acupuncture and other holistic techniques can help us alleviate the intensity of chronic pain without the use of addictive opioids.
Ongoing Psychotherapy – Not only is continued therapy a critical element of self-care; it’s also a cornerstone of most of our post-treatment recovery plans. As helpful as treatment is, we often only begin to scratch the psychological surface during our time in rehab. The reality is that we are always on a journey of personal growth, and we should take every opportunity to gain heightened self-awareness.
Self-care is a powerful weapon against the onset of relapse. How we choose to practice this concept in our everyday lives is different for all of us; but it’s important that we figure it out sooner rather than later.