the importance of self-care - self-care isn't selfish sign

The importance of self-care

To say that life has been stressful this year is an understatement. Life as we know it has changed completely. We have been faced with social, financial, professional and spiritual restrictions. This has created a lot of additional stress for many of us and there really isn’t an end in sight. When life gets hectic and overwhelming, we can burn out from pushing ourselves too much without a break.  

This break is also referred to as “self-care.” We have all heard it, but how many of us actually take the time to practice self-care? Maybe you don’t really know what it is or why it is so important? May you are just constantly reminded that you need to be doing it?  

Self-care is important for everyone to maintain a healthy lifestyle. It is especially important for those on the pathway to recovery from alcohol or drug addiction. This is because practicing self-care promotes a clear and focused mind. It also allows you to focus on what truly matters: your sobriety.

The importance of self-care
With this in mind, let’s break things down: what is self-care? 

Simply put, self-care is putting yourself and your emotional, physical, psychological and spiritual health first. It is commonly said that if you are ever in an emergency on a plane you need to take the oxygen first, so that you are strong enough to help others that need assistance. This is the same as self-care. If you don’t take care of yourself properly on a regular basis, you cannot take care of those that look to you for love and support or be the best version of yourself. 

Now that we have a better understanding of what self-care actually is, why is it important that you actually do it? 

Many of us make the excuse that we are too busy with work or have too much going on at home to make time for ourselves. However, that just isn’t true. Everyone can and should practice self-care. Making time to work on yourself allows you to become a stronger, healthier and happier version of yourself. And let’s face it, who doesn’t want that? 

There are many examples of self-care. However, finding things that are enjoyable and important to you will make it easier to actually create the time for yourself and follow through with it. 

Emotional self-care:

Understanding and accepting your emotions is very important to avoid getting stuck in perpetual bad moods and allowing the anxiety that can come from the lack of understanding to take over. Allowing yourself to be happy, sad, scream, cry, whatever the feeling may be. Not only allows you to better understand the situation you are facing, it allows you to release the feeling out into the world and out of your mind. Practicing positive self-talk, journaling and speaking with a therapist are also great ways to give your emotional well-being the self-care it so greatly deserves allowing you to truly benefit from the all of the importance of self-care.  

Physical self-care:

Physical self-care can be a host of many things from exercising on a regular basis, ensuring you get the proper amount of sleep each night, eating healthy and increasing your water intake, to wearing your favourite outfit or pampering yourself. Any combination of these can put yourself in a much more positive mindset. 

Psychological self-care:

Learning when to ask for help is a very important step when taking care of your psychological self. When you take on more responsibility than you can handle, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. Asking for help, and ultimately saying “No,” when asked to take on something new, can lessen the burden on yourself. By making your psychological self-care a priority, you will notice you start to regain control in your life and your sense of confidence returning. 

Spiritual self-care:

What you do or do not believe when it comes to spirituality is not important when it comes to your spiritual self-care. Finding peace within yourself and who you are as a person is what matters most. Some options of what spiritual self-care can look like for you; meditation, prayer, forgiveness or volunteering for a cause that is important to you. 

Nobody said self-care is easy. This is why the more emphasis you put on it, the easier it will become. Soon it will become like second nature. Here at The Farm in Stouffville we emphasize the importance of self-care within our addiction rehabilitation program, as it has been seen to help set our patients up for success once they graduate and reintegrate back in their everyday life. If you have any questions regarding self-care and how it can benefit you on your journey to recovery, please contact us today. We are always happy to help. 

woman sitting on dock looking out over the water

Anxiety and Addiction

Throughout life, the majority of us will be affected by anxiety in one way or another. For some of us it is just a minor blip to our normal, everyday life. However, for others it can be all encompassing and quite literally take control of our lives, sometimes without us even knowing it. 

Most commonly, when experiencing anxiety someone may experience an elevated heart rate, irritability, restlessness, difficulty sleeping, lack of focus and/ or increased worry.  

For many, anxiety is a short-lived issue that can be dealt with through calming breathing exercises, yoga, talk therapy and making life changes to fix the problem being faced with. Though, for some, especially those struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, anxiety is a deep-rooted issue that needs to be dealt with before it takes over more of your life than it already has.

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) reports that people with a mental illness such as anxiety are twice as likely to have a substance use problem compared to the general population. More often than not, addiction is a result of someone suffering silently from anxiety, and not created by the addiction itself, as some would like to believe. 

Social Stigma

Unfortunately, even in 2020 there still is a social stigma around seeking help for mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. CAMH also states that 40 per cent of respondents to a 2016 survey agreed to have had experienced feelings of anxiety or depression, but never sought medical help for it. 

Self-medicating your anxiety

These misconceptions can lead to self-medicating in an attempt to mask their problem. Though initially this may alleviate some of the pain caused by the anxiety, it does not solve the initial problem, and only creates a larger one over time – a dependance to the substance used. This vicious circle results in the body building a tolerance to the drug of choice, be it prescription pills, illicit drugs or alcohol, and many times adding different types of stronger substances to avoid the feelings of anxiety. 

Self-medicating is all about avoidance. Avoiding the feeling of doubt and pain caused by whatever set off the feelings of anxiety in the first place. 

This ‘coping mechanism’ is neither beneficial short or long-term. It creates both an overwhelming addiction as well as for many, a financial crisis because of the high costs of illicit drugs and prescription medication. On top of this, as people continue down this path, overdose, hospitalization, jail or even death can occur if something doesn’t change. 

If you feel a friend or loved one is experiencing any of these anxiety and addiction related issues, your first step should be to contact a rehabilitation centre such as The Farm. We employ experts in the field that can help you address these concerns and create a plan to help your loved one with both their addiction as well as coping with anxiety issues.

Understanding Self-Harm

Are you a victim of self-harm?

What is Self-Harm?

Self-harm, also known as self-injury, or self-mutilation occurs when someone intentionally harms themselves as a way of expressing or dealing with emotional distress and pain.

Examples of self-harm include:

  • Cutting yourself with a razor blade, knife, or other sharp object;
  • Hitting yourself or banging your head;
  • Punching or throwing yourself against walls or other hard objects;
  • Burning yourself with cigarettes, matches, candles, or hot water;
  • Pulling out your hair;
  • Poking objects into body openings;
  • Swallowing poisonous substances or inedible objects;
  • Intentionally preventing wounds from healing.

Self-harm can also include less obvious ways of hurting yourself like binge drinking, taking drugs, having unsafe sex, or committing illegal acts.

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Coping with Stress in the Workplace

Stress in the workplace

47% of working Canadians consider stress in the workplace to be the most stressful part of daily life.  Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety

Not all stress is bad. A little stress can help you stay focused, energetic, and able to meet new challenges in the workplace. But when stress becomes persistent and exceeds your ability to cope, it can interfere with your productivity and performance, and be harmful to your physical and emotional health.

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Eating Disorders

Understanding Eating Disorders

What are Eating Disorders?

Eating disorders are serious mental health illnesses defined by abnormal eating habits that can have a profoundly negative affect a person’s physical and psychological health.

People with eating disorders become obsessed with food and their body weight.  Whether the eating disorder manifests as eating too little, or too much, individuals with eating disorders use their preoccupation with food to create a sense of control over their lives, and to distract themselves from the painful emotions that are at the root of the condition.

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Natural Depression Treatments

Treat your depression naturally

Depression is one of the most common mental health illnesses in Canada.  According to the Ministry for Health and Long-Term Care, an estimated 1 in 4 Canadians will experience a degree of depression serious enough to require treatment at some time in their life.

Depression can take many forms, and it’s important to make the distinction between clinical depression and situational depression.  Clinical depression is a medical diagnosis of acute depression often caused by a chemical imbalance. Treatment requires regular therapy with a certified professional and in most cases prescription intervention.  Situational depression is caused by our reaction to external stress factors.  Symptoms are mild or moderate compared to clinical depression and can usually be managed with talk therapy and natural treatment methods.

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What is Codependency?

What is codependency?

Codependency can be defined as a pattern of behaviour in which one person’s self-esteem and self-worth is dependent on the approval of another person.  The codependent feels worthless unless they’re making sacrifices for their enabler, and the enabler gets satisfaction from having their every need met.  It’s a dysfunctional relationship of enmeshment built on manipulation, control, and fear.

Research suggests that codependency typically develops in childhood as a response to neglect or emotional and physical abuse by a parent or caretaker. The child learns that their needs are unimportant; that to remain quiet avoids conflicts; and that by sacrificing their own needs they will win approval and love.

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