Self-care is an important part of addiction recovery. In a way, you could say that everything you do as part of your recovery plan is a form of self-care. It includes going to the gym, eating right, getting plenty of sleep, taking time to relax, spending time with friends and family, and anything else that helps keep you focused and functional in the face of life’s challenges. Unfortunately, there are often not enough hours in the day to do every important thing. If you’re trying to balance the commitments of work, family, and recovery, you might feel tempted short yourself in an effort to meet your other responsibilities. However, in the long run, this will only make life harder. Sacrificing self-care is one of the early signs of trouble for anyone recovering from addiction. Staying on course means making time for self-care. Here are some tips for doing that when you’re busy.
Identify your priorities.
First, you have to realize that if you aren’t taking care of yourself, you can’t take care of others. You can’t take care of your family or meet your responsibilities at work if you’re not mentally and emotionally well or if you slide into relapse. If you’re going to chop down a tree, start by sharpening your ax.
Next, identify which aspects of self-care benefit you most. Maybe in a perfect world where you always have plenty of time, you could do all the things that contribute to your mental, physical, and emotional health. In reality, you’ll have to commit to doing a few of the most important things and do the other things when you can. We’re all different and we need different forms of self-care to function. For example, you might identify adequate sleep, regular exercise, and weekly appointments with your therapist as your absolute necessities. Be sure to make time for those.
When you’ve identified your priorities, make sure to actually schedule them and stick to your schedule, barring emergency. If something is on your schedule, that means you can’t schedule a meeting for the same time or get your hair cut or whatever because you already have a priority item scheduled. What’s more, scheduling something is a great way to actually follow through on a healthy behavior. When you know something is important but don’t have a set time to do it, you are likely to keep putting it off. Putting it on your schedule makes it feel real and you are more likely to follow through.
Identify time wasters.
Finally, free up time for self-care by eliminating junk from your day. A big one for most people is social media. It’s easy to check Facebook or Instagram “real quick” and end up wasting half an hour that could be spent on other things. If you start tracking your screen time, you’ll probably be shocked by how much time you waste. There are other ways we waste time too. For example, if you sit in traffic for an hour on your way home from work, you might consider hitting a nearby gym, a 12-step meeting, or something else related to recovery while traffic clears, then have shorter trip home.
Recovering from addiction is about more than just abstaining from drugs and alcohol; it’s also about creating a healthy, fulfilling life. At Tree House Recovery of Portland, Oregon, we help men with substance use disorders rebuild themselves physically, mentally, and emotionally. Call us today at (503) 850-2474 to learn more about our holistic addiction treatment program.