Why Self-Care Matters In Mental Health And Recovery

If you are in a recovery program, you know how close addiction can be tied to mental health. You may even have realized that unresolved mental health issues are at the root of your own battle with substance abuse. What you may not realize just yet, however, is just how important self-care can be for managing your emotional well-being. In fact, self-care could be one of the keys to overcoming your addiction.

Why Self-Care is Essential…

As women, we tend to take better care of others than we do of ourselves, but this can have dire consequences on our mental health. The National Alliance on Mental Illness makes it clear that self-care is absolutely critical for caregivers, as well as anyone who is looking to maintain control over their lives.

If you struggle with guilt regarding your self-care, try looking at it like putting on your own oxygen mask so you can help others with theirs. In addiction recovery, self-care becomes even more important for overcoming stressors and triggers that can lead to relapse. So now that you now why self-care is so important, here are some ways you can fit more of it into your routine.

Eat Healthier Foods

You may already know that healthy eating can be essential for your recovery, but did you know that certain healthy foods can also be helpful for boosting mental health? Including more bananas, beans, beets, carrots and avocados in your diet can help you fight feelings of depression. So for some simple self-care, add these wholesome foods to your grocery list.

Create Financial Stability

Many people use alcohol and drugs to cope with financial stress. Stress from rent and bills can cause you to seek these substances for some emotional relief, but that relief is never permanent. As Forbes explains, addiction can make money problems worse, so it’s important to focus on cleaning up your finances while you are in recovery. If you own a home and also owe some debts, refinancing can provide the extra cash you need to reduce the stress of these debts.

Nurture Social Connections

Recovering from addiction is your responsibility, but that doesn’t mean you have to go it completely alone. Humans are social creatures by nature, which means that we need regular social interaction to stay healthy. Without these crucial social connections, you may be more likely to experience feelings of anxiety, depression and hopelessness. On the other hand, it’s also important to learn how to say “no” in order to maintain healthy boundaries with others.

Get More Physical Activity

If you want a healthy way to stay connected to friends, you should ask them to be your workout buddy. That’s because staying physically active is one of the most effective ways to manage your stress levels and your mental health. Consistency is more important than intensity, so you don’t need to exercise too hard or too long to get health-boosting benefits.

Make Time for Mindfulness

If you’ve been researching self-care, you’ve likely come across mentions of mindfulness. Mindfulness involves simple practices that help you live in the moment, which can be powerful tools for reducing stress, anxiety, depression and OCD. Mindfulness may even relieve feelings of chronic pain and has been shown to have promising results for those who are in recovery.

Recovering from addiction requires a holistic approach, tending your body and mind at the same time. Because self-care is so important for your mental health, it could even be the key to your success in recovery. So don’t think of self-care as just an option—start thinking of it as a priority.


About The Author: This post is courtesy of Dylan Wallace. Wallace started his passion project, PreventionConnect.org, to offer those in addiction recovery an online support community to help them get and stay well. In addition to providing peer counseling services for fellow recovering addicts, he spends most of his free time creating abstract art.