Caring for your mind and body is essential when overcoming a substance use disorder. By cultivating stable personal health, you can position yourself to best overcome the challenges that recovery presents. Because the challenges of recovery are unique, self-care for those overcoming substance use disorders can look a bit unique as well. The following steps and considerations address areas of physical, social, and emotional health that will allow you to become your best, strongest self.
Creating a strong social network of those who are willing to support you on your journey of recovery is a great way to gain momentum for your social and mental health. This may be accomplished through finding a support group to create conversations about shared experiences.
While social time is important, it is just as important to take the time for yourself in a healthy way. By taking time every week to sit with yourself and be alone – whether it be a bath, a drive alone in the car, or watching an episode of your favorite tv show – you give yourself the space to unwind, release stress, and recharge in a way that is positive and constructive.
Just Say No
A crucial part to self-care for any person is the ability to say “No”. For a person on their recovery journey, this is especially true. Setting boundaries to avoid exposure to stressful or triggering situations or people may be hard at first. Start by offering alternatives, for example, suggesting meeting a friend for coffee instead of out at a restaurant. As you get more comfortable saying no, you’ll gain more respect from your friends and yourself.
There are three major components to health that translate to a happy and fulfilling lifestyle: physical, emotional, and mental. A great rule of thumb is that, on top of enough sleep and a healthy diet, try to choose one activity from each category to complete every day to feel your best all-around. If you’re having trouble with coming up with activities to do, choose from our list until you feel comfortable creating your routine yourself.
- Go for a 30 minute walk
- Dance along to your favorite album
- Try Yoga or Dynamic stretching
- Get into weight lifting
- Walk your dog – or, become a dog walker and earn some extra bucks
- Try a guided meditation from the internet
- Start a gratitude journal—or any journal
- Start an art or home-improvement project
- Take a long shower or bath
- Do deep breathing exercises
- Call an old (or new) friend
- Meet a friend for coffee
- Shoot a text to someone you haven’t seen in a while
- Visit a parent, guardian, or older family member
- Join an exercise class or another group hobby
Stabilizing your physical, mental, and social health is a crucial step in taking back control over your life. By remaining consistent and diligent, you can point yourself toward a healthy, happy, and substance-free lifestyle.