When people think about recovery from addiction, they don’t often think of healing through relaxation. It may never occur to people, in general, to think of relaxation as being part of the self-care work of recovery. It is a journey to figure out what keeps people feeling healthy, sober, and clean. It requires self-awareness to find ways to live free from harmful habits that kept them locked inside addiction. Relaxation is key to finding healing for body, mind, and spirit.
Many people in recovery struggle with poor self-care of their mental and physical bodies. This leads to self-destructive habits that may harm others, as well. They may believe they have no choice but to destroy themselves because they put off their needs for so long. Learning about self-care is more than just taking a bath and brushing one’s teeth. It’s about honoring what the body and mind need and listening to that call. The presence of difficult feelings may make it harder to listen to this call, but a combination of a good night’s sleep and time to focus on self-care. This acronym is helpful for people practicing self-care for the first time:
- H: hungry
- A: angry
- L: lonely
- T: tired
When these are present, people may not feel that good but at least they can identify what the feelings are and how to prioritize ways to feel better.
These ways to relax take time to develop and requires an open mind to see how to do them in a way that works for that individual. Some suggested methods of relaxation won’t work for everyone, so it is a matter of settling on different ways to relax that work for the individual:
- Mindfulness: relaxing the mind and helping to alter how the brain sees reality for the moment by focusing on breath that stops the brain from thinking too much and quiets the body
- Yoga: traditional practice incorporating meditation, breath, and specific body postures to direct the body’s energy. Addiction takes a person out of their body and prevents them from connecting with who they are so this can help them relax
- Exercise: finding an exercise that creates space for the mind and body as well as stimulates positive brain activity. An exercise that brings blood flow to the body will help but also determining what type of exercise and with whom will be helpful, as well
Healing looks different for everybody. Some will like mindfulness, while others will not relax unless they are doing something. It is important to know how a person’s individual mind and body relax best and utilize those in self-care routines. Creating space to relax will help stabilize mood and keep away from major shifts which may hurt a person’s sense of wellbeing. Increased benefits also include better sleep, improved mood, and other positive health effects for the heart, mind, and body, which is very important. The more space the better for everyday health in recovery.
A Step in the Right Direction understands how difficult it is to do self-care when you feel like you are bombarded by so much at first in rehab. Rehab will be time for a reset and refocus so you can get your energy strong for the journey ahead. For more information about sober living programs for men and women as well as recovery programs, call (877) 377-3702.