Self-care is an important recovery tool. Engaging in self-care is an appropriate and healthy way to bolster physical and psychological well-being. During the dark winter months which include the stressful holiday season, uncomfortable feelings or situations can easily threaten emotional stability and potentially trigger relapse.
Self-care has been defined as providing adequate attention to one’s own physical and psychological wellness (Beauchamp & Childress, 2001). Engaging in self-care has been described as an “ethical imperative” (Norcross & Barnett, 2008) and is part of the American Psychological Association’s ethics code.
The recovery community values additional support during this stressful period. Recovery Ways is an important part of that support network. The team at Recovery Ways recently offered a seven-week course of community outreach and support groups via Zoom with specialized expert Recovery Ways facilitators. The last meeting of the series was facilitated by clinical therapist Kelsie Rook who started the session by chatting with participants about their current relationship with self-care.
Kelsie explained the five dimensions of self-care, all of which are major dimensions of addiction treatment: psychological, emotional, social, physical, and spiritual.
Psychological and emotional regulation includes giving attention to things that are within our control while tempering reactions to things beyond our control. It is important to be mindful of stress and also to recognize personal strengths. Emotional challenges can be counteracted with tools such as positive affirmations and breathing exercises.
Social connections have significantly changed since March 2020 because of the ongoing COVID pandemic. Social distancing does not have to mean social isolation. “You can still use a variety of online tools to stay connected,” said Rook. And, of course, the Recovery Ways Holiday Support Series is a robust opportunity to reach out and connect with peers in recovery. “You could also still meet outside and take walks together, just make sure you observe the 6-feet rule.”
Goals in the physical arena should be consistent and realistic. Don’t immediately attempt a marathon if you’re out of shape! Build up your strength one day at a time. Rook also emphasized the importance of healthy nutrition and sleep hygiene.
The spiritual dimension of self-care includes making time for meditation, prayer, reflection, and time in nature. Rook encouraged participants to set (realistic) self-care goals for the new year and pursue them diligently. She finished the session by introducing several mobile apps that support self-care. These include the meditation apps Calm and Headspace, the habit tracker Strides, and the journaling app Grateful.
We hope you are staying healthy in the new year and beyond. If you, a family member, or a friend are struggling with addiction and/or mental health, Recovery Ways wants to help. We are dually licensed to treat mental health disorders and addiction. Our admissions coordinators can recommend a plan of action, suggest an interventionist, or speak with your loved one. For more information, please call us at (888) 988-5217.