In recovery, you’ll learn a lot about yourself. Everyone has stress, and you may feel your stress more vividly when you’re living without the use of alcohol or drugs. Stress is a natural reaction to feeling overwhelmed or having many challenges at once. One way to practice coping with stress is self-care.
What is Self-Care?
Self-care is a way that you can take some time for yourself doing something that gives you pleasure or provides stress relief. (Of course, if any activity causes you harm in the process, it’s probably not self-care.) It should help you reduce your stress. Self-care activities should last at least fifteen minutes – it’s important to give yourself time to relax.
Many people practice some form of self-care every day to help them cope with stress. Here’s a list of ten great ways to practice self-care. Take what you need and leave the rest.
Ways to Practice Self-Care:
- Write in a journal. Take some time every day to let your mind run free. Write about your worries, hopes , and fears. Or, write about what you did last night. The point of this type of self-care is that it helps your mind problem-solve. Writing in a journal may be especially helpful at the beginning of the day or the end of the day. At the beginning of the day, you can write about your hopes and goals. At the end, you can process your feelings about the day you’ve had.
- Bake goodies. Okay, so this may remind you of your favorite aunt or grandma, but cooking is fun and helps relieve a lot of stress. Many people who suffer from anxiety find that cooking helps them relax. Bonus: you can take your brownies or muffins to a 12-step meeting to share.
- Go for a walk or a run. Endorphins are the feel-good chemicals that help our body and mind feel better, physically reducing the effects of stress on the body. Exercise releases these chemicals. This is good for the body, mind and spirit.
- Take a long bath. Do it however you choose, but give yourself enough time to relax.
- Read a book. Many people who become addicted to substances once loved to read. Why not take a trip to the book store and explore some new authors or subjects? Research has shown that reading for 30 minutes can reduce stress.
- Take up yoga. Many people find that the stretches and postures in yoga help them feel calmer and more relaxed.
- Make art. Whether it’s painting, drawing, or sculpting, there’s an artist inside everyone. Many people love to paint because they find it soothing. If you have the resources, you could even sign up for an art class.
- Meditate. Find a good spot in nature or in a quiet room to practice meditiation daily. Some people find mindfulness meditations helpful. Others enjoy a more traditional route to peacefulness. Search Youtube or another video website to learn more about meditations you can try.
- Play with your dog or cat. Experts in psycholohy have found that playing and petting a furry companion actually reduces stress levels. But you have to give your pet about 15 minutes attention to make it worth it for you or them.
- Learn something new. There are thousands of free classes online that teach new skills, from professional writing to meditation. Enroll in a class online (some even have certificates) and spend thirty or so minutes pursuing it in a day.
These are just a few ideas to help you understand what self-care is all about. It’s important that you enjoy your self-care activities and they don’t feel like a chore. Explore new hobbies when you have time, and try to practice self-care every day.
Getting Help for Addiction
Addiction, also called substance use disorder, is a disease that is treatable. The first step to recovery is getting help. We offer both detox and treatment programs to fit every individual’s needs. Give us a call at 1-888-959-3277.