Today we share a piece from Adam Cook at Addiction Hub about how these seven self-care practices can help reduce relapse.
Understanding how addiction affects a person is critical to creating new behaviors that promote lasting recovery. Taking care of yourself is so important for balancing your mental, physical and emotional health. Here are 7 self-care practices you can integrate with your current recovery efforts to see better and longer lasting results:
It sounds simple, but talk therapy, also known as psychodynamic psychotherapy, can help you find solutions for difficulties in all areas of your life. Talk therapy can include techniques like cognitive behavioral therapy, a goal-oriented therapy approach that helps you tackle particular thought patterns and symptoms. If you’re already using talk therapy as part of your recovery process, regularly practice implementing the advice your therapist gives you.
You’ve probably got a small list of activities or hobbies in the back of your mind that you would like to start learning one day. It’s time to take that first step. A recent article about hobbies in the New York Times mentioned that getting into a new hobby can improve motivation, lower levels of depression and stress, increase productivity and jumpstart creativity. Hobbies get you out of your own head, set up new habits or interests, and implement strategies from therapy that change behavior in a lasting way.
Forgiving others makes it much easier to forgive yourself. It allows you to see the best in other people and better understand their perspective. Forgiveness can re-strengthen bonds that are affected by addiction, as well. You don’t need to be perfect in your forgiveness. Just start small by choosing two or three people that you’ll try to see differently. Forgiveness is a habit you can develop with time.
The concept of “forest-bathing” is based on spending time outdoors and enjoying the natural environment. Research has shown that getting outside regularly can reduce stress levels, improve immune function, and disrupt negative technological habits. Going outside can be a particularly useful self-care practice when urges are very strong because it can disrupt a train of thought and put you in a new physical space.
Recent research has shown that vigorous physical exercise is an addiction recovery supplement that has tons of benefits. It’s very low risk and can prevent relapse. If you already have a workout regimen, set some goals to take it up a couple notches. Maintaining physical health can also improve the benefits of working with a therapist because of the close connection between mental and physical health.
Some experts in the field of addiction research believe that changing diet might be an effective way to aid addiction recovery, and prevent high rates of relapse. In fact, the Director of the Grayken Center for Addiction at the Boston Medical Center mentioned that changing nutritional habits could help control cravings that are a part of addiction.
Changing your diet all at once can be difficult, so work on it progressively. Set a goal for the number of times that you eat out per week, or how many vegetables servings you’ll eat per day. Eating well can boost your energy and give you nutrients that are important for your body to heal itself.
A critical element of many major addiction recovery programs is their emphasis on service. Many of the benefits of therapy or other addiction recovery efforts are realized when you build social connections and help others find meaning that you are also looking for. Serving others can reduce destructive emotions or impulses that can trigger relapse. Service can create a social support network, as well.
Finding ways to take care of yourself on a regular basis can bring about major changes in behavior. You’ll gain power to persevere through challenges and deal with negative emotions that make recovery difficult.
Addiction recovery doesn’t happen in a single moment. Sustained efforts to build mental and physical health give you the strength needed to weather the storm of addiction.
Thank you, Adam, for sharing this important piece about how self-care can help prevent relapse.
Questions, thoughts, or feedback? Ready to contribute your story? Reach our team any time at [email protected].
About the author: Adam started AddictionHub.org after losing a friend to substance abuse and suicide. He is interested in helping people find the necessary resources to save their lives from addiction.
As always, if you have any questions or feedback as you're reading or processing, feel free to reach our team any time at [email protected].
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