Making Time for Yourself: A List of Self-Care Ideas To Try Today
When was the last time you made a self-care routine? Self-care is an important part of wellness. It can help you feel more grounded, reduce stress, and leave you feeling energized. Life can be stressful, and when you’re battling an addiction, small stressors can be triggering, especially if you’re not on solid footing on any particular day.
Self-care is part of self-love and a great way to create a healthy relationship with yourself. But what does self-care really mean?
What Does Self-Care Mean?
You will get many different answers if you ask people what self-care means. For some, it’s getting a manicure. For others, it’s finally making that dreaded dentist appointment they’ve been avoiding.
Self-care means different things to different people. Ultimately, self-care is a necessary part of overall wellness, and self-care should feel like a gift you’re giving yourself — rather than a chore.
Self-care should help you feel calm and energized rather than leave you feeling like you checked a box for something you should do. The best self-care is the kind you look forward to! You should still make that dentist appointment, but maybe reconsider if that energizes you — unless going to the dentist truly brings you joy!
When recovering from addiction, self-care is a critical part of your comeback story. It’s easy to have a setback and start the self-shame game. If you find yourself doing this — full stop!
Self-compassion is critical to recovery from addiction. Try countering negative thoughts by pausing and, instead, engaging in some self-care. Let’s talk about different kinds of self-care.
Categories of Self-Care
Self-care can fall into various categories. You may not immediately recognize some areas as self-care, but keep in mind that self-care includes ways of taking care of yourself that leave you feeling calm and energized.
Below are some categories of self-care:
Mental — Being mindful and knowing what does and does not create mental health
Physical — Getting exercise and minding sleeping needs
Social — Connecting with people who support you and make you feel happy
Emotional — Acknowledging and protecting your feelings
Spiritual — Doing things that make you feel connected and give your life meaning
Environmental — Creating and maintaining spaces that are calming and not triggering
Recreational — Doing things outside work or school that feel fun, such as a new hobby
What Are Some Self-Care Ideas To Try?
Let’s dive into a list of self-care activities you can try today!
Use the Word “No”
There is something very empowering about saying “no,” whether something is not in our best interest or we just aren’t feeling it. This comes in handy on your journey toward sobriety.
Using the word “no” is part of self-care. It may be hard to do at first, especially if you’re a people pleaser, but if you practice saying “no,” you’ll get good at it. One self-care tip for saying “no” is to imagine what you’re saying “yes” to — self-value, confidence, and sobriety.
Saying “no” is about setting boundaries, and this is self-care.
Commit to Daily Routines
Daily routines can be a great way to start your day. Self-care can be the simple act of committing to getting up at sunrise as part of your morning routine.
Other daily routines can include an evening skincare routine or making a cup of tea with honey as soon as you get home. Committing to daily routines can be meaningful rituals of self-care.
Some scents can be calming, and essential oils can improve your mood and decrease cravings from substance abuse. Aromatherapy has even been associated with easing symptoms of Post-Acute Withdrawal System (PAWS), which can cause brain fog.
Essential oils can also alleviate symptoms of nausea, sometimes associated with withdrawal. Scents such as lavender, lemon, and ginger can help ease symptoms and bring you a sense of calm.
Connect to Support Systems
Self-care includes connecting with positive people. This can be spending time with loved ones or people who support our goals. Sometimes, it can be hard for family and friends to understand addiction, no matter how good their intentions are.
Self-care can be making the decision to join a community engaged in sobriety, like Sober Sidekick. Connecting with people who understand can (and will) make all the difference.
Is laughter self-care? Yep! Sometimes, laughter truly is the best medicine, but it does more than relieve stress. Laughter is an immune booster, and it increases endorphins.
You’ll go through highs and lows when battling addiction. Sometimes you may feel depressed, and getting sober can affect your emotional health.
You can be super-serious about getting sober without taking yourself too seriously. Call up your funniest friend who gives you a giant belly laugh, or pop some corn and turn on your favorite comedy. Lighten up a bit — and laugh. You’re doing great!
Do you feel better when things are organized? For some, the act of organizing and decluttering the space where they live makes them feel calm and in control of their life.
If this resonates with you, the next time you feel anxious, take time to straighten up. You’re in control of your life, and sometimes tidying up your space is an act of self-care.
Consider an activity that brings out your inner creative! Everyone is creative in some shape or form. Getting creative is a great way to express yourself, and it’s also a great mental distraction when you’re having cravings.
Pick up a coloring book, start a new hobby, like painting, or write a poem or short story. There are lots of ways to use creativity. Tapping into your creative self can be the self-care that you need.
Maybe picking up a paintbrush isn’t your thing. Have you tried getting creative in the kitchen? Even if you’ve never boiled an egg, with free resources on the internet, you can start cooking.
Cooking is also a great way to make nourishing recipes that feed and heal your body as you get sober.
DIY Spa Day
We can’t all afford a fancy spa where we lounge in plush robes, waiting for a facial, but we can create our own DIY spa day at home. Whether you rent a room or reside in a small mansion, you can create a spa-like environment.
Grab a fragrance diffuser, give yourself a pedicure, or do a hydrating face mask. It may feel indulgent if you’re not used to self-care, but you’ll get used to it — and you’re worth it!
At times, we need a little inspiration to get us through the week, the day, or maybe the hour. Self-care can be listening to a podcast about getting sober or the latest true crime show.
If you need a little inspiration, grab a weighted blanket, and download an audiobook, podcast, or your favorite music playlist. Finding what inspires you nurtures your self-care.
When you think of meditating, do you roll your eyes imagining someone sitting for 30 minutes with their legs crossed? Meditation can be that, but it can also be ducking into a bathroom stall at work for five minutes, staying in the present moment, and taking deep breaths.
Meditation can happen while you’re driving or perched on a rock in the park, breathing fresh air. It’s about quieting the mind and creating calm. It’s a great example of self-care that can take a half hour or a few minutes. Give it a try!
Social Media Detox
Self-care can be more about what you don’t do than what you do. That’s right! One example is scrolling through social media.
For some, social media is fun and enjoyable, but for many, it creates negativity and gives a false sense that everyone else has it all together. Spoiler alert — most of them don’t.
If social media gives you anxiety or makes you feel inadequate, consider a temporary social media detox and remove apps from your phone, or just dial it back a bit. Don’t feel guilty about blocking people in the name of self-care and mental health.
Self-care can mean putting a stop to things, or people, that make you feel anxious. It takes seconds to hit unfollow!
Self-care is anything that helps you take an active role in your health, well-being, and happiness. This list of self-care ideas is just a start. Pay attention to how people, activities, and places make you feel, and try implementing one or more self-care ideas into your daily life as part of your path to sobriety.
Get additional support today. Download the Sober Sidekick app, and join a community of over 150,000 people who are getting sober together!
Benefits of Aromatherapy in Addiction Recovery | American Addiction Centers
Therapeutic Benefits of Laughter in Mental Health: A Theoretical Review | JSTOR
Creativity and mental health: A profile of writers and musicians | PMC