We talk about self-care a lot here at Living Sober. It’s so ridiculously important. Right now for me it’s the end of the long summer school holidays, I’m tired and run down, haven’t had a lot of time to myself and my self-care has slipped. Not just physical things like diet, exercise, and sleep … but also emotional things like reading restorative books or listening to helpful podcasts or just trying to spend my days mindfully living (and not lost in my thoughts). Next Wednesday my boys go back to school and I know after that I’m going to up my self-care and start to look after myself a little more.
Getting sober is one of the the most wonderful, significant, and monumental acts of self-care you could possibly take … but there have to be lots of little acts of self-care that follow it in order for us to stay living happily and calmly. Unfortunately – however – often us boozers are not the habit of treating ourselves kindly or putting ourselves first. @quietlydone wrote the most wonderful update about this very topic in the Members Feed the other day and with her permission I am reprinting it here. She not only brilliantly explains WHY self-care is so important.. she also has plenty of practical tips on what form your self-care could take.
@quietlydone: I seem to be stuck in some rut reminding everyone in my replies about self-care so I figured I’d write a post about it and get it out of my system! Self-care is not selfish, self indulgent, or self centered. When I was in Oncology/Chemotherapy training we had to take a class on self-care, it was a totally foreign concept to me. Health care providers are at the complete opposite end of the continuum to self-care but, we were taught that if you don’t take good care of yourself you can’t care for others. The old ‘put your oxygen mask on first if the plane is crashing’ theory.
Getting sober is a massive undertaking. Addiction is nasty, it wants you to believe you are a bad person and gives you an excuse to self-destruct. Give yourself a pat on the back for striving to become a better person. Self-care can be part of building a solid foundation for recovery.
Try to notice and acknowledge all the things you do right. Self-care includes any intentional action you take to care for your physical, emotional, and mental health. It is not a one-and-done, it is the repetition of many tiny habits which add up to soothe you and make you feel better and stronger. It doesn’t have to cost anything.
Some examples are goofing off for five minutes, scratching off something on your to-do list, call and make that doctor or dentist appointment, write that thank you note, fix something that has been bugging you, the squeaky door, the missing button. Compliment yourself, find one or more things you admire about YOU. Go cloud watching, lie on your back, relax, and look at the sky. Do a mini-declutter get rid of or recycle three things. Make a small change to your diet, add an extra glass of water each day. Play your favorite song and sing and dance along. Watch a funny old movie, you know, the one you knew all the words to when you were younger. A warm Epsom salt bath after a long walk.
Self-care isn’t just a sober treat for reaching an important milestone. It helps you grow and keeps you away from self destructive behavior. Practicing self-care helps you heal, it builds you up and makes you stronger.
What are you doing to take care of yourself?