10 Simple Self-Care Tips for Addicts in Recovery
Addiction recovery can be an intense, frightening process. But that doesn’t mean that you have to let it consume you. There are ways to support your recovery, making the recovery process as smooth and manageable as possible. Though it won’t make it easy, it will make it more likely that you will succeed in the long-term at sobriety.
And as simple as these tips may seem, they can make a world of a difference in your recovery. If you’re not sure whether or not these self-care practices can actually make a difference, just give them a try for one whole week. At the end of the week, see how you feel. If you feel good, then keep going with them. And if they’re too stressful, then see how you can adapt it to fit in with your life.
Cut Yourself A Break
First things first, give yourself a break. Do the best that you can, as you can. Sometimes you will not have the response to a situation you had hoped for and sometimes the cravings will be so strong that you can’t imagine another moment of sobriety. Sometimes you’ll resent these practices and doubt they help you at all! All of it is okay and totally normal. Just keep taking it one step at a time and practice self compassion.
Meet Your Basic Needs, First
It’s not too easy to worry about self-actualization and higher level thinking if you don’t have your most basic needs met first. Before you start worrying about your temper and your intimate relationships (though those are important too), check in with yourself to see if you’re taking care of some of your most basic needs. This includes things like food, shelter, safety, a place to sleep, and a place to maintain hygiene. After all, if you can’t meet even your most basic needs, how can you come into your more complex needs with your best self?
Write In A Journal Daily
It’s no secret that keeping a journal is good for your mental health. Not only that, but it’s also something that you can do anytime, anywhere, for no cost at all. Start making it a daily habit to jot down your thoughts, your fears, or your list of things you’re grateful for to start seeing a shift in your overall mental health and clarity.
Give Meditation A Try, Really
Just like journaling is great for your mental health, so is meditation. (It’s also free, too) A daily meditation practice can increase happiness, decrease anxiety, and improve your ability to focus. As if these reasons alone aren’t enough to motivate you to start giving it a try, meditation also helps with the recovery process as well. Don’t feel as if you need to meditate in silence for hours on end, though. Just five minutes a day of any type of mindfulness exercise will make the same changes in your brain as an intense hours-long practice might do, just in smaller gains. So give it a try right to see how it can support your recovery.
Move Your Body
Daily exercise is known to improve health and wellness, so it’s no surprise that this would make it to the self-care list. But that doesn’t mean that you need to start running marathons and joining the most expensive and trendiest gym in your neighborhood. Instead, just get outside and move your body a bit. This could mean an evening walk around the neighborhood or a bike ride to a nearby park. It doesn’t have to be strenuous or fitness related. Instead, focus on getting fresh blood flow to the different areas of your body, such as your brain and muscles.
Nourish Your Body
When your body is functioning at its best, it’s a lot easier to resist cravings. Nourishing your body with fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, and plenty of water will give you the energy and clarity you need to move through your recovery. It won’t solve any of your problems but it just might give your the boost you need to get through the problems yourself.
Give Yourself A Daily Digital Detox
Technology has done awe-inspiring things for us, there’s no doubt about that. But it’s also short-circuiting our brains, feeding it too much stimulation for too much time of each day. To help give your brain a break, and a chance to recover from all that stimulation, give yourself a digital detox for at least an hour each day. That might be a good time to practice mindfulness or go for a walk (or both!). Your body and brain will thank you.
Connect With Other People
Addiction recovery can sometimes feel lonely as you begin to distance yourself from certain friends who might understand what you’re going through (aka, other addicts). But that doesn’t mean that you have to live in isolation or be lonely throughout the process. Connect with loved ones or join a recovery community to surround yourself with a support network. An intensive-outpatient is especially helpful because it offers you tools like group counseling and personal treatment that might otherwise be difficult to find.
Get Restful Sleep
A well-rested mind and body are better prepared to get through the day. It’s really that simple. If you’re feeling exhausted when you wake up, it’s especially difficult to get through all of the tasks that you set out to do for the day. Try making a bedtime ritual that helps you fall into a deep and restful sleep. You can do this by blocking out any light or sounds that might disturb you during sleep and running a diffuser with a relaxing essential oil like lavender. By giving your body time to rest each night, you’re more likely to get through the day and one step closer to your goals.
Don’t Forget To Play
A life that you don’t enjoy makes it a lot harder to get through the tasks that you absolutely must do but do not want to do. So make your life worth living! Get outside and play, whether it’s at a park or with your friends. Do something (sober) that makes you feel happy, makes you laugh, and makes you want to do it again. The more that you have to look forward to each day, the easier it is to get through the day.
Medically Reviewed: September 25, 2019
All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.