Recovering from addiction is a battle you fight your whole life, no matter what the addiction is. It’s an especially hard struggle when you are first getting into recovery. One of the biggest struggles for new recovering addicts is how to self-care; when one is used to self-medicating with drugs, alcohol, or food, it can be difficult to find new ways to self-care when encountering common triggers that can lead to relapse — like emotional situations, stressful environments, and physical pain. So let’s look at some things that can help with self-care when in recovery.
Getting yourself into a good daily routine with important self-care elements woven in will help you to stay strong in your recovery. Here are some routine and self-care tips to get you through each day:
For some in recovery, waking up to face the day can induce dread and anxiety, and in turn an urge to numb those feelings. Establishing a morning routine can give you something to focus on and get your day started right.
Start by just getting to the bathroom and brushing your teeth. It seems a simple action, but it’s doing your whole body good. Oral hygiene is actually intricately connected to body health, and taking good care of your teeth can help prevent certain diseases, such as cardiovascular disease.
Next, take some time to sit down, have a cup of coffee and a healthy breakfast. A healthy breakfast filled with whole foods will nourish your body and fuel you for the day. You can also use this time to prepare mentally for the day — perhaps even ask yourself a simple question like “who do you need to be today?”
Days can feel so long when you are in recovery. And the workday can make them even more stressful while you battle regressive thoughts.
One tip for getting through the day is writing down all of your successes. This is an important act of self-care because when we struggle, we tend to only focus on negative thoughts and setbacks. By writing down your successes, no matter how small or seemingly irrelevant, you can help train yourself to think more positively.
You might also look into joining an exercise class. Classes like pilates and yoga are great low-impact guided exercises that will help you to be more aware and in tune with your body. Adding yoga or pilates either to your daily or weekly routine will give you the focus you need to stay present while also being great for your body and health.
While many in recovery struggle in the morning due to the fear of facing the day, many others struggle most at night, when they are left to dark silence and lonely thoughts. Some originally turned to their addiction to help with anxiety-induced insomnia. So facing the thought of falling asleep without the help of a substance can be stumbling block towards relapse.
For those who struggle at night, finding a nightly routine that works for you is of utmost importance. There are many ways people wind down at night before bed. Finding what is right for you is going to help fight those night-time demons.
Consider taking a hot bath or shower before bedtime. The hot water will help your body regulate temperature changes in your body that signal that it’s time for sleep. Plus, a hot bath with bubbles or a bath bomb is a simple self-care act that feels luxurious.
Also, try drinking a cup of calming herbal tea while winding down for bed. One tea most noted for its sleep-inducing powers is chamomile tea. It also has many other beneficial properties, such as boosting immunity, relieving stress, and ridding toxins from your body — just to name a few.
Recovery is a lifelong battle. It’s something that those with past addictions will always have to be diligent to maintain. But with self-care routines to help get through the various difficult parts of the day, staying in recovery is entirely possible.
Avery T. Phillips is a freelance human being with too much to say. She loves nature and examining human interactions with the world. Comment or tweet her @a_taylorian with any questions or suggestions.