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.
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 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.
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.
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.