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When overcoming addiction and other mental health issues, a person needs to take care of themselves. If an individual isn’t in a good place physically and mentally, they’re creating unnecessary hurdles in their journey. This is why self-care in recovery is so important. Without taking a few basic steps, achieving wellness becomes much harder than it needs to be.

Transformations at Mending Fences has spent years helping people overcome addiction and mental health disorders. We’ve seen what works and what doesn’t. We also know that even the most effective treatments can falter without self-care in recovery. This guide is meant to help in this process regardless of where you are in your recovery journey.

Contact Mending Fences today to learn how you can increase your chances of success.

Why Is Self-Care in Recovery So Important?

There is no instruction manual for recovery that works for everyone. That’s because abiding by a series of steps will not result in healing. Recovery requires a positive mindset, and without that, all the resources in the world will not help you persevere. Whether you’re trying to overcome addiction or improve your emotional health, a lack of mental well-being will stand in your way.

If you don’t focus on self-care in recovery, you leave yourself vulnerable to unhealthy emotions. This detracts from your motivation, mood and concentration. In turn, it becomes more difficult to stay in a positive headspace or deal with addiction cravings. When you focus on self-care, these issues become less burdensome. This also often leads to other healthy decisions.

One of the most important things you can remember is that self-care is not selfish. This is a common misconception that’s managed to ingrain itself in our heads. For instance, one-third of Americans feel guilty when they take time for themselves. Unfortunately, this leads to less than 40 percent of people practicing self-care. When you’re in recovery, this simply isn’t an option.

Tips for Self-Care During Recovery

Many people see self-care as nothing more than pampering oneself physically. In reality, this process also involves being kind to ourselves and focusing on mental wellness. This is why no approach to self-care in recovery should focus on just physical or mental well-being. Without one, you cannot have the other.

The following tips focus on helping you achieve both of these. Whether you’re dealing with seemingly minor anxiety or are in the aftercare stage of addiction recovery, these strategies will prove invaluable. While they won’t replace things like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or prescription medications, they can provide a fighting chance for getting better.

  • Positive self-talk: Creating a positive inner monolog can do great things for your mental health. Stay optimistic and encourage yourself. Tell yourself it’s okay to look on the bright side and be ready to pick yourself up if you ever experience a setback.
  • Get any exercise: Thirty minutes of exercise a day can change everything for your physical and mental health. Keep in mind that even short lengths of exercise are better than nothing. Take a few minutes several times throughout the day if necessary.
  • Download relaxation apps: They say there’s an app for everything and it seems self-care in recovery is no different. Head over to your phone’s app store and search “relaxation apps.” You’ll be surprised at how many options there are.
  • Make time for loved ones: Whether you’re trying to stay sober for Thanksgiving or just have a healthy week, the people you love are your best resource. Make time for friends and family who are supportive of your recovery.
  • Practice gratitude: Everyone experiences stress in their lives, but no matter what, there is always something to be grateful for. Don’t feel guilty about recognizing the good in your life. Practice gratitude for the things that make living more enjoyable.
  • Learn something new: Does your job have a skills training program? Is YouTube loaded with instructional videos of something you’ve always been interested in? Taking time to learn something new can put you in a great headspace.
  • Don’t be afraid to reach out: Self-care in recovery doesn’t always come down to what you can do on your own. At times, seeking professional help is the appropriate response. There’s no shame in this and it can do wonders for your physical and mental health.

These are just a few of the best strategies for self-care in recovery, but you don’t have to stop here. Delve deeper into the countless resources available online. And if you do think you’d benefit from professional help, take a moment to contact us today. You can also visit our Mental Health Resources page to find more tools for your journey to recovery.

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Making a Self-Care Plan for Recovery

Acknowledging that self-care is important for recovery is a powerful step. Of course, resolving to take such steps is even more beneficial. If you don’t create a focused plan, however, you’ll minimize your chances of success. Studies have found that writing down plans — something we focus on in the following tips — increases your chance of success by 42 percent.

Follow these steps for self-care in recovery and you’ll be well on your way to physical and mental well-being.

1. Review Current Habits

Everyone already has ways that they cope with life and this is true for those in recovery as well. Some individuals do healthy things — such as going on long walks. Others overindulge with alcohol or other problem behaviors.

Regardless of how you currently deal with the stresses of life, take an honest inventory of your actions. Identifying these behaviors — both positive and negative — will help to remove harmful habits and reinforce positive ones.

2. Identify Unique Needs for Self-Care in Recovery

Being successful with self-care in recovery means taking all your needs into account. We’ve touched on physical and mental needs already, but what about emotional and professional needs? These are all integral to your well-being.

While these are the most common areas, though, they won’t necessarily apply to everyone. The real goal is to identify the significant areas of your life and then write down your unique needs in each of these areas.

This simple step will help identify the needs you’re already meeting and begin to work on those you aren’t.

3. Jot Down Ideas for Activities

Once you’ve recognized your unique needs, it’s time to identify the self-care activities that will help you meet them. Ask yourself some of the following questions to get started:

  • What activities make me happy?
  • What makes me feel at peace?
  • What has helped me cope in the past?
  • What energizes me?

Consider some of the activities we discussed in the previous section when answering these questions. Self-care during recovery isn’t something you have to figure out on your own.

4. Create a Schedule That Includes Activities

Once you’ve got activities in mind, it’s time to get them on a schedule. Start by identifying when you’ll partake in each activity. For instance, eating healthy should be an everyday goal. Having dinner with a loved one or taking an acting class, however, can happen less frequently.

Now that you’ve got frequency down, you need to find pockets of time to fit in these activities. Don’t go into this with an “I’ll fit them in some time during today” attitude. This primes you for failure. Pick a specific time and when that time arrives, make yourself engage in self-care.

5. Get Rid of Barriers

No one finds immediate and uninterrupted success with their plan for self-care in recovery. You’re going to encounter hurdles in the process. That’s okay. The important thing is to overcome each of these hurdles. Unfortunately, they come in many forms.

The harmful coping mechanisms discussed earlier are a major hurdle. Replacing these with healthy activities is essential. You may also run into issues that prevent you from engaging in self-care. Take active measures to ensure they don’t continue to interfere.

Seek Help When Self-Care in Recovery Isn’t Enough

No matter what mental health issue a person is dealing with, self-care is an effective way of improving outcomes. For many people, taking these proactive steps can help deal with the issues in their lives. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. In many instances, seeking help is the logical next step after learning self-care in recovery.

Transformations at Mending Fences provides a wide array of therapeutic offerings. Our licensed professionals work directly with each client to create a customized treatment plan individualized to their needs. The importance of self-care in recovery cannot be overstated, but successful rehabilitation often requires professional guidance.

Contact us today to learn how our programs can help you get back on track.