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When an individual or a family is seeking recovery from substance abuse or a co-occurring mental health concern, treatment is often at the forefront of their minds. Unsurprisingly, this is because professional guidance and support are necessary for establishing healing and sobriety. Alongside participation in professional treatment, however, it is crucial to understand that there are many other things that individuals can do to prioritize their well-being in their daily lives while working to sustain abstinence from maladaptive behaviors. Prioritizing self-care in recovery, for example, will work to not only strengthen dedication to recovery but also foster self-esteem and self-worth, necessary for sustaining success in sobriety. 

At CCM, we understand the critical role that self-care plays in the healing and recovery journey from substance use disorder (SUD), mental illness, and other forms of crises. Thus, we provide comprehensive concierge services not only to connect clients with treatment but also to connect clients with the knowledge, tools, and resources that they need to prioritize self-care in recovery. Remember, like participation in treatment and recovery, the prioritization of self-care is a family affair that helps build and sustain strong communication and healthy family dynamics for a lifetime to come. 

Understanding Self-Care

When an individual considers the concept of self-care, they may imagine having a spa day or going on a vacation. Contrary to these common misconceptions, self-care practices are well within an individual’s reach. Similarly, self-care is something that must be practiced daily to ensure that an individual is meeting their unique needs and taking breaks from the chaos and business of daily life. 

As stated by the International Journal of Nursing Sciences, self-care is defined as “The ability to care for oneself through awareness, self-control, and self-reliance in order to achieve, maintain, or promote optimal health and well-being.” Because self-care is such a broad concept, it can be helpful to address self-care by identifying various dimensions of wellness. 

In their publication titled Creating A Healthier Life: A Step-By-Step Guide to Wellness, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) addresses important ways that individuals with mental and behavioral health problems can effectively pursue happy, healthy, and worthwhile lives in recovery. They define wellness as being healthy in all eight dimensions of an individual’s life: emotional, physical, occupational, intellectual, financial, social, environmental, and spiritual. 

Further, each of these dimensions is interconnected; as one dimension of wellness changes and evolves, so will all others. SAMHSA also states, “[W]ellness is about how we live our lives and the joy and fulfillment and health we experience. Thus, to establish wellness in any one dimension, an individual must be able to effectively prioritize and implement self-care practices associated with each dimension. 

Why Is Self-Care in Recovery Important?

When an individual is actively engaging in substance abuse or another maladaptive behavior, they may believe they are doing so as a means of self-care when, instead, they are doing so due to a lack of self-care. Individuals engage in constant reflection in treatment and early recovery to determine the underlying causes of their concerning behavior, which must be addressed and overcome to effectively establish sobriety. While each individual’s rationale will be unique, many find that feelings of self-criticism, self-blame, guilt, and an overall lack of self-love seem to perpetuate their continued alcohol and drug use or other behavioral addictions. 

In this way, self-care in recovery is important because it can directly challenge complex and negative thinking patterns. Additionally, it can strengthen self-compassion and self-love, ensuring that individuals recognize that they are worthy of living happy and worthwhile lives in sobriety. Furthermore, in the grand scheme of things, self-care in recovery works to prevent relapse and sustain sobriety by providing opportunities for individuals to fully express and process their emotions while engaging in activities that bring them joy. 

It can be beneficial to consider some practices of self-care in recovery in reference to the eight dimensions of wellness mentioned above. Mindfulness practices, such as meditation, work to meet emotional, mental, spiritual, and environmental aspects of self-care by providing intimate time for individuals to focus their attention on the present moment. Not only do mindfulness practices help reduce rumination and anxiety but they also help those in recovery sit with their feelings without trying to change them. 

Continuing, self-care practices that can meet occupational wellness needs alongside emotional and mental wellness needs include working to achieve a healthy work-life balance, cleaning up one’s workspace, and taking short breaks throughout the work day. Meeting social self-care needs, on the other hand, may require deeper personalization of strategies, as some people lean into alone time while others may lean into social gatherings for energy and charge.  

Self-Care in Recovery: Implementing Strategies

For those looking to implement new strategies for self-care in recovery, it is important to remember that finding effective strategies to meet each dimension of wellness can take time. Remember to be patient with yourself while also being open to new strategies and practices. 

No matter where an individual stands on their journey to wellness and sobriety, we at CCM are here to help. We specialize in transforming families throughout every stage of the recovery process. Our use of personalized treatment and intervention services works to support and sustain recovery not only for the clients we serve but also for their families and communities at large. Moreover, implementing self-care strategies in daily life is necessary for all family members, as it works to foster lasting healing and recovery for all, together as a cohesive family unit. 

Self-care is an accumulation of practices and strategies used to promote wellness. While some may think that self-care practices tend solely to emotional needs, effective self-care practices should tend to one or a few of the eight dimensions of wellness: emotional, physical, occupational, intellectual, financial, social, environmental, and spiritual. Furthermore, in recovery, self-care practices help to strengthen self-worth and self-compassion and, in turn, work to sustain long-term sobriety by preventing relapse. If you or a loved one is seeking recovery, we at CCM can guide your healing journey. We provide comprehensive concierge services to individuals and families, connecting them with the most appropriate treatment and long-term wellness options. Learn more by calling (855) 467-3226 today.