Recovery is a lifelong process that involves changing your behaviors and thought patterns. Though you’ll get in the habit of practicing daily, the journey isn’t always easy. And while many treatment programs offer robust aftercare programs, you ultimately hold the success of your recovery in your hands. That’s why practicing self-care is so essential.

Because everyone is unique, the self-care habits you develop may be very different from what works for someone else – and that’s OK. However, some components of self-care apply equally well to almost anyone who is working to maintain long-term sobriety.

Physical Self-Care

Exercise: You don’t have to become a bodybuilder or a triathlete. Research shows just 30 minurtes of light-intensity exercise per day is enough to benefit your health. And, if you find an exercise you enjoy doing, you’ll be more likely to keep at it. Try out several different activities to find what works best for you.

Get Enough Sleep: Sleep affects every facet of your health, and the quality of your sleep is also essential for helping you maintain a positive outlook on life. While you sleep, your body restores itself to prepare for the next day. If you don’t sleep enough, you could be at higher risk for heart disease, diabetes and more.

Eat a Balanced Diet: In recovery, it may be tempting to swap old bad habits with new ones, such as eating junk food. However, eating well will give you more energy and promote a positive outlook on life.

Emotional and Social Self-Care

De-Stress: Recovery can be challenging, and an inability to relax can trigger a relapse. Get a massage, go for a long walk in the woods or just block off time for meditation or self-reflection. Though you can’t make work, family and daily responsibilities disappear completely, you can still schedule time for yourself.

Strike a Healthy Balance: In recovery, it can be easy to put all your eggs in one basket – whether it’s work, a person or even the practice of recovery itself. If you go to daily AA meetings, but you constantly feel overtaxed, are you really practicing successful self-care? Instead of becoming overly dependent on one or two aspects of your life, find a healthy equilibrium.

Find a Listening Ear: Many people find regular therapy sessions are incredibly helpful in self-care, especially in early recovery. For others, a caring friend or family member who is a good listener may be enough.

Find the Guidance You Need at Guardian Recovery Network

Self-care is a practice of understanding, accepting and loving yourself to promote a healthier mind-body connection. If you are seeking help for yourself or someone you care about, contact us anytime.