Self care is one of the key factors in maintaining successful recovery from addictions. When we talk about self care, we often speak in terms of a “whole-person” approach, meaning mind, body and spirit. Through recovery support groups, those who are new to recovery learn how to care for their mind and spirit. In these groups, we address our resentments and character defects.
However, recovery support groups rarely address the factors necessary in taking care of one’s physical health. How we feel impacts our energy levels, how our minds function, and how we handle our emotions. It plays a huge part in how we handle the daily problems that arise in life. How we feel even influences our decision-making skills.
Physical health promotes good energy and focus.
Diet and exercise, lose weight, quit smoking, reduce caffeine and sugar…our doctor says this on every visit. We let it pass over our heads, or we try it for a few days and give up. Does it really work? Is it worth the sacrifice?
We may be skeptical at first. It’s important to remember that it may take weeks or months to see a difference in how we feel and improve our energy levels. The cells in our bodies regenerate in varying cycles, but slowly and gradually we will begin to look and feel better. The longer we adhere to a healthy lifestyle, the better we will feel. It may even take years, but in the long-run the effort is definitely worth it.
Feeling better and having more energy gives us a better ability to accomplish our daily goals. It means we are able to concentrate on any given task, and that our tasks will take less time to complete. It also means that we’ll do a better job, whether it be at work, caring for our families, or caring for ourselves.
Taking care of our bodies gives us greater pride in ourselves.
In active addiction, we often have lack self confidence and self esteem. We don’t take pride in our appearance or how we present ourselves to the world. We don’t value ourselves.
Step one to overcoming this is to make self care and physical appearance a priority. Changing how we present ourselves to the world can have a drastic impact on our value and self image. It will pave the way for increased self-confidence, value, and worthiness.
Our physical health impacts our emotional health.
There is a huge difference between how we handle life’s stresses when we’re feeling tired or sick versus when we feel well. Depression, anxiety, and stress are all intensified when we don’t feel physically well. In fact, pharmaceutical companies have produced numerous medications specifically targeting the physiological causes of depression and anxiety.
However, there is a huge amount of research that indicates that diet and exercise have a very positive impact on depression, anxiety, and mood disorders. And while medication may be a useful tool for addressing depression and anxiety, it is never best to rely on medication first, or medication alone. Some may find that medication isn’t necessary at all after implementing a healthier lifestyle and their bodies receive the proper nutrients and physical activity level.
Healthy minds and bodies make us more effective individuals.
In line with mitigating negative emotions and mood disorders, our brains need proper nutrients as well. Many of us may not struggle with depression or anxiety, but may benefit from a higher level of concentration and decision-making skills simply by improving our self care. When the brain receives the proper vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids, our memories improve, depression levels decrease, and intelligence can actually increase.
This translates to an increased ability to handle the stress of life. With more energy and improved decision-making skills, we’re equipped with what we need to address life’s problems as they arise. We make decisions out of sound, rational thinking rather than panic or emotions. We can have the confidence that we are making the best decisions to improve our lives.
Not just living longer, but more fulfilled lives.
We might seek a better quality of life for our loved ones, our children, or simply because we have a love for life. This is all the more reason to take care of bodies and give them what they need to thrive. For over 100 years science has shown a strong correlation between proper self care and living longer. At the top of the list is always what we put into our bodies and our physical activity level.
We want to be around for a long time to be a service and support to those around us. We want to see our grandchildren grow up and support them through their early years. We want to experience and enjoy life to its fullest for as long as we possibly can. Proper self care is a very important aspect of that.
Improving self care will improve the quality of our lives in recovery.
Self is about taking care of all aspects of ourselves – mind, body and spirit. Talk to a doctor and develop a plan to improve physical self care, not just mental and spiritual. Improve the quality of foods and ensure enough rest and exercise. Changing life habits can lead to a drastic improvement in moods, mental states, energy levels, and length of life. Proper self care will help us prevent relapse, and lead to long-term quality recovery after addiction.
For more information about The Recovery Academy and our structured sober living homes for men, give us a call at the number below.