This is the first part of a three part blog series about self-care. Stay tuned for the second part, The Science Behind Self-Care.
Self-care is an instrumental part to our overall well-being. This is true no matter where you’re at in life or what you’re doing. The fact that it’s turning into a buzzword doesn’t make it any less important (same goes for mindfulness). Making a point to ensure that self-care is something that gets put into your daily routine is an investment worth making. Why? I’m glad you asked!
Self-care and sobriety
While going through the sobriety process (remember, it’s a process of healing), it becomes even more essential to both take care of and give back to yourself. You may feel deprived when you’re no longer seeking the solace of alcohol, not knowing what to do with the emotions you’re feeling. If you don’t have the greatest relationship with yourself to begin with, alcohol may have provided a way for you to ignore that – numbing yourself to soften the blow of being alone with your thoughts (I’ve been there, it’s not fun).
As the name suggests, self-care allows you to feel cared for. This can be a strange feeling for a lot of people at first, it was very foreign for me to feel as though I was even worth caring for, let alone actually doing it. Despite my discomfort, I went forward in my self-care practice and got used to feeling cared for and being the one to take charge of that, as opposed to waiting for someone else to see me flailing around in my own mind wishing someone would come along and give me some attention. I’m still not completely comfortable with it, and I do let my self-care slide from time to time (I’m only human, just like you), which is actually when my cravings to drink come around again. The science behind all of this is pretty interesting, but I’ll explain that in part two of this series.
Why you should make self-care a habit
Making self-care a habit is the easiest way to instill it into your brain that you’re worth caring about, you are cared about, and you won’t forget to do it. The time you spend taking care of yourself shouldn’t be viewed as a waste of time, it should be valued – just like your well-being should be valued. You’re probably thinking, “I hardly have time to get everything I have to do in my daily life done as it is, how am I going to find time for this self-care stuff? Why does it really matter?” I hear you. It’s very counter-intuitive but the more breaks we take, the more our productivity increases, as well as the more our stress levels are lowered (which means we can take on what we’re up against in a more levelheaded fashion without feeling like we’re free-falling, grabbing at the air for something to hold onto). While those articles primarily focus on taking breaks throughout the workday, the principles in play also hold true no matter if you’re a stay at home parent, unemployed, retired, a student, or want to apply it for the times when you’re not at work. If you want to get the most benefits out of self-care, then make a habit out of it. I’ll go over ways in which you can develop a self-care routine and examples of what that might include in the third part of this series.
When it comes down to why anyone should make self-care part of their daily lives, it’s fairly simple. You’re going to be with yourself longer than you’re going to be with anyone else, so why not spend the time you’re with yourself in a caring, nurturing way rather than in an abusive, neglectful way? Would you treat someone else the same way you’re treating yourself? Probably not.
Beyond how you’re going to feel when you’re taking care of yourself, others will notice and those who care about you will be happy to see you taking the initiative to care for yourself. People who love you will love that you love yourself.
You are worth giving back to yourself. You are worth health and happiness. You are worth spending time doing things that make you feel good. You are worth investing in. That’s what self-care is all about and that’s why it’s so important!