Self-care is an absolute necessity for recovery from drug and alcohol addiction and/or a dual diagnosis issue. There are common misconceptions about self-care which get in the way of people practicing it honestly. Regular self-care is the way that we stay present in our recovery with our batteries charged and our minds settled.
Misconceptions About Self-Care
Luxuriating in a spa treatment, taking to retail therapy, taking a nap, watching a movie, cooking comfort food, indulging in a favorite treat- there are misconceptions about what self-care is. Self-care can be all of these things. Taking time out of the normal routine of our lives to take care of ourselves in the way that we benefit the most is helpful for our mental health. We need to take time to take care of ourselves the same way we need to take time to eat, drink water, and sleep. Self-care is also all of those things. Our self-care regimen can be as much about the special ways we take care of ourselves as it is the mundane, every day ways we take care of ourselves as well. We can make the tedious tasks we have to participate in part of our self-care, too. Paying our bills on time so we don’t fall into debt or deal with chronic stress is one way we can take care of ourselves. Filling up the gas in our cars before it gets dangerously low is self-care as well.
The greatest misconception about self-care is that it is a selfish act. There is a difference between selfishness and self-care. When we are selfish, we are being self-serving, only. Self-care is self-serving because what we are doing to take care of ourselves, takes care of ourselves. However, in taking care of ourselves we are simultaneously taking care of others and empowering ourselves to take care of others. Self-care helps us be less stressed which means we are less likely to be anywhere but the present moment. Not distracted with our stress and the many side effects of stress like irritability, for example, we are in a better position to be of service to other people- another essential for our recovery.
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