Why Is Self-Care Important to Addiction Recovery?

self care and addiction recovery

What Is Self-Care?

Self-care is the practice of taking action to maintain or improve your physical, mental, and emotional health. It encompasses a wide range of activities, from basic self-maintenance tasks such as getting enough sleep and eating a healthy diet to more intentional practices such as meditation and therapy.

The Importance of Self-Care in Addiction Recovery

Self-care is important in addiction recovery because addiction is often a way of coping with stress, trauma, or other negative emotions. When an individual is in recovery, they may still feel the same stressors, but they no longer have the addictive behaviour to cope with it. Therefore, it is important to develop healthy coping mechanisms through self-care practices.

Prevention of Relapse

Self-care also plays an important role in preventing relapse. When an individual is in recovery, they may be more vulnerable to stress and triggers that can lead to relapse. By engaging in self-care activities, they can build resilience, reduce stress, and improve their overall well-being, which can help to protect them against relapse.

Improving Self-Esteem

Self-care can also help to improve self-esteem, which can be particularly important for individuals in recovery, who may have experienced feelings of shame or guilt related to their addiction. By engaging in self-care activities, individuals can feel better about themselves and their ability to overcome their addiction.

Self-Care Means Self-Control

Self-care is often portrayed as glamorous and luxurious, but the reality is that it can often be mundane and unglamorous. It's not always about relaxing at a spa or taking a yoga class, but rather it's about taking care of the basics such as getting enough sleep, eating well, and taking care of your physical and mental health. It's also about being kind to oneself and not being too hard on oneself. Sometimes self-care might be as simple as taking a shower, brushing your teeth, or doing laundry. It's important to remember that self-care doesn't have to be glamorous or expensive, it just needs to be something that makes you feel good and take good care of yourself.

Tips for Caring for Yourself in Addiction Recovery

Some examples of ways that you can actively prioritise your sobriety are by pursuing self-care activities. These recovery-focused activities may focus on personal development or growth, encourage you to find new ways to entertain yourself or emphasise being kind to yourself.

Self-care activities you could try in recovery include:

  • Make connections – Support groups, activity groups, or loved ones can help carry the load.
  • Stay mindful – Don’t run on autopilot, simply be in the moment, and focus on the now.
  • Get outside – Nature improves mood, reduces stress, and may fight depression.
  • Take time to be with yourself – Take time to check in with yourself and reflect.
  • Set healthy boundaries – Protect your sobriety.

When Self-Care Isn’t Enough

Self-care is essential for addiction recovery because it provides healthy coping mechanisms, prevention against relapse, and improves self-esteem, which all contribute to a successful and sustainable recovery journey. For a recovering addict, sobriety is self-care, and self-care can support your sobriety.

However, while self-care is important and can be a great practice for your mental health – and support your recovery – sometimes further help is needed. When you notice signs of poor self-care, deteriorating mental health, or the resurfacing of potentially triggering or detrimental habits – reach out for support. New Leaf Recovery is a rehab centre that is here to help in your addiction recovery journey when needed, contact us today for help and support or call us on 0300 999 0330.