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The term “self-care” is widely known and used today, and it may have lost some of its original meaning and value. It can be practiced during many different phases of life that can help with your overall well-being; it is especially beneficial to practice self-care in recovery. 

The first forms of self-care that may come to mind are bubble baths and a vacation. While these can definitely be forms of self-care, there are many other types of self-care that be beneficial for the long term. 

Working through the recovery process for substance use disorder (SUD) can be difficult. Due to this, it’s vital to have a consistent self-care routine in place. Here at West Coast Recovery Centers, we are here to help you during this process. 

What Is Self-Care Exactly?

At its core, self-care is looking out for your well-being, whether through going to therapy or consistently working out. While struggling with SUD, you may have neglected physical, mental, and spiritual self-care. This is why it becomes vital to prioritize self-care in recovery. 

Physical Self-Care

This form of self-care includes prioritizing certain activities that can help your physical well-being. Forms of physical self-care may include:

  • Regular exercise 
  • Massages 
  • Visiting a sauna
  • Keeping up with your hygiene 
  • Quality sleep every night 
  • Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet 

Mental Self-Care

This form of self-care is intended to help your mental well-being by prioritizing several different activities. Some ways you can practice mental self-care include:

  • Starting therapy 
  • Setting boundaries
  • Journaling 
  • Exercising regularly
  • Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet 
  • Reading a book 
  • Learning a new skill 
  • Finding a hobby

Maintaining a healthy diet can have many benefits to your mental health for many different reasons. One of the main reasons why the food you eat can impact your mental health is because of vitamin deficiencies and the quality of the food you are eating. 

Making sure to set boundaries with friends or family from your past can also be important. This is because you don’t want to constantly be around people who make the temptation to relapse even greater. The best way to set boundaries is through effective communication with your loved ones. You can start by explaining why it is hard to be around them and certain things they can do to make this process even easier for you. 

Spiritual Self-Care

This form of self-care is intended to improve your mental and physical health by prioritizing personal spiritual well-being. Some spiritual practices you can implement into your self-care routine include: 

  • Meditation 
  • Mindfulness 
  • Prayers

Spiritual self-care can help your overall well-being through mindfulness and prioritizing self-awareness. Self-awareness can help you monitor how you’re feeling during the recovery process. It’s important to reach out for help from family or a professional if you’re noticing behaviors from the past or if you’re struggling with your mental health. 

The Importance of Self-Care in Recovery

During recovery, you may find that one of the hardest parts is keeping your mind occupied to avoid the potential of relapsing. That is where self-care can come into play. By practicing different activities daily or weekly, you will be keeping yourself occupied during downtime. 

Prioritizing self-care in recovery can also help you create goals for yourself, providing a sense of accomplishment during your recovery. That feeling of accomplishment that you will feel from completing your goals can help you stay on track with your recovery goals as well. 

One other reason self-care in recovery is essential is that practicing self-care can make you feel better from the inside out. This will allow you to put your all into physical and mental recovery; the things you are working on outside of recovery are helping other aspects of your life. High levels of cortisol or stress can make the chance of relapse a lot higher. However, self-care is known to help lower levels of cortisol through different stress-relieving activities. 

Relapse Prevention

Relapse occurs in three stages. They are emotional relapse, physical relapse, and mental relapse. Watching out for the signs of relapse can help you avoid it.

#1. Emotional Relapse

This is the first stage in the potential for relapse. You may not be actively thinking about relapsing, but there are certain actions that might be setting you up for a relapse in the future. Some of the warning signs to look out for can include isolation, mood swings, and not asking for help from loved ones. 

#2. Mental Relapse

This is the second phase in the potential for relapse. It can include things such as cravings and thinking about the past, specifically places and people who you may have been around during the peak of your SUD. 

#3. Physical Relapse

This is the final stage of relapse, which is the act of breaking recovery. It’s very important to practice self-care and look out for the symptoms talked about above in the early stages to avoid the potential for relapse. There are many ways that you can avoid relapse through asking for help and self-reflection if you notice yourself falling back into old patterns. 

Self-care can have many different benefits for your physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. It can be especially beneficial during recovery from substance use disorder (SUD). Prioritizing self-care can help avoid the temptations of relapse during this uncertain time. It can also be especially important to lean on trusted family and friends or addiction professionals to assist you during recovery. The staff here at West Coast Recovery Centers are dedicated to helping you through personalized treatment plans and holistic care. We offer certain activities during treatment that can help you develop self-care practices during recovery, such as yoga and aftercare. For more information on our services, reach out today at (760) 492-6509

West Coast Recovery Centers ( 370135CP), Valid through July 31, 2025
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