Self-care should be a priority for anyone who values their health and wellness, but a lifestyle of drug and alcohol abuse leaves no room for such things. During active addiction, addicts forego even the most basic of needs like food and sleep in order to keep using. As a result, the physical, mental, and spiritual health of these individuals deteriorates, leaving nothing but a shell of the person they used to be.
As a result, former drug and alcohol addicts must exert extra effort to make sure they are taking care of their physical, mental, and spiritual health in recovery. It may take a lot of work to develop a healthy routine, but time spend in rehab and sober living is the perfect opportunity to do this.
What is Self-Care?
Psych Central defines self-care as “any activity that we do deliberately in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health.”1 Although this sounds simple, it’s actually very easy to neglect these basic activities in our everyday lives. One of the best ways to prioritize self-care is to develop healthy daily habits that we commit to on a long-term basis. Eventually, this becomes a routine and the routine becomes a lifestyle.
Why is Self-Care Important in Addiction Recovery?
When we neglect basic self-care activities, our lives tend to lack balance. Not only do we find ourselves struggling to maintain our own health and happiness, but we also have trouble caring for others.
Individuals who have recently completed drug rehab or who are enrolled in a sober living program typically lack a healthy routine because the majority of their free time in the past was spent using drugs and alcohol. Although it takes time and practice to establish a lifestyle of self-care, addicts in recovery must learn how to prioritize their physical, mental, and spiritual well-being so they can maintain abstinence from addictive substances and find peace and fulfillment in a life of sobriety.
9 Ways to Practice Self-Care While Enrolled in Sober Living
If you’re currently enrolled in a transitional living program or you’re considering it, here are a few key things you can do each day to establish a healthy routine as you transition into your new life of sobriety.
- Exercise regularly
Physical exercise not only produces endorphins and makes you feel happier, but it’s also a great way to maintain your physical fitness and weight. During your active addiction, drugs and alcohol most likely took a serious toll on your physical health, but even just walking 30 minutes each day can help you begin to repair some of that damage. Other great physical activities for sober living residents include recovery yoga, community sports leagues, or biking at local parks and trails.
- Set goals for yourself
Goal-setting helps provide a sense of purpose in a challenging and transitional time of life. Sober living programs can help residents set personal and recovery goals and provide accountability to encourage personal growth. Whether it’s getting a job, sticking with a 12-step program, or making amends with loved ones, setting personal goals will help you develop a healthy routine and stay focused on your recovery.
- Sleep 7 to 8 hours each night
Most adults need seven to eight hours of sleep each night to be fully rested. Getting enough sleep each night reduces stress and sickness, improves decision-making skills and focus, and makes it easier to communicate and get along with others.2
- Maintain a healthy diet
Eating a nutritious diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and other essential nutrients has many benefits for people in recovery. Sober living residents who prioritize a healthy diet will decrease their risk of relapse, replenish lost nutrients from previous substance abuse, and have more energy to accomplish their daily tasks. Maintaining a healthy diet can even improve your mood, concentration, and focus.
- Make time for friends and fun
Another great way to practice self-care while enrolled in a transitional living program is to make time for fun. Although sober living programs aren’t nearly as structured as inpatient rehab programs, residents still have to attend support group meetings, attend IOP (if they are enrolled), go to work or volunteer, and keep their living spaces clean and tidy, among many other responsibilities. These things can easily become overwhelming if you don’t balance it out with things you enjoy. Whether it’s playing a game of basketball with some friends or going for a hike at the nearby nature preserve, make sure you do something enjoyable every single day.
- Keep a journal
Journaling may not be for everyone, but even if you’re not a stellar writer, it can be a great way to track your recovery progress, keep records of your feelings, and keep tabs on your emotional health. Your counselor or therapist may even encourage you to journal daily as part of your recovery programming.
Sober living residents who volunteer on a regular basis are not only doing something good for someone else, but they’re also investing in themselves. Volunteer activities can improve mood, decrease depression and anxiety, increase self-esteem, improve quality of life, and provide opportunities to connect with others.
During drug rehab, you most likely learned how to meditate and practiced it each day. It’s a great idea to continue this practice while enrolled in a sober living program and even after you move back home or into a place of your own. Meditation not only reduces stress and increases self-awareness, but it can also help you achieve a sense of calm and peace regardless of what is going on around you.3 This may be particularly helpful during times when you’re struggling to stay sober.
- Stay involved in a 12-step program
Transitional housing programs are designed to help recovering addicts make the gradual adjustment from a life of addiction into a life of sobriety. This process can be very challenging, and a person is often most successful when they have a support system in place. Recovery programs like AA or NA are excellent resources for people in recovery, as they provide additional accountability, support, and opportunities to build healthy relationships with other people in recovery.
There are plenty of other ways to practice self-care, but these are just nine simple ways sober living residents can begin developing a healthy personal routine in addiction recovery.
To learn more about how our transitional housing programs and recovery support services can help you maintain a life of sobriety, call Eudaimonia Recovery Homes today.