Did you know that relapse rates for substance use disorders are between 40-60%? That might sound very high, but relapse rates for hypertension and asthma are both 50-70%, which is even higher.
Just because you’ve relapsed doesn’t mean all progress is lost, as is evident with other chronic diseases. It’s only a little bump in the road to sobriety.
So, if you’re in recovery, you shouldn’t be so hard on yourself. Practicing self-love can be a good idea, as it can be a huge boost in overcoming addiction and feeling confident in yourself.
If you don’t know where to start, then don’t worry, in this article we’ll discuss how to practice self-love so you can be the best version of yourself.
It’s easy to get inside our own heads and think negatively about ourselves. We’re our own worst critics, after all.
But these negative thoughts can spiral and quickly become out of control. And they can certainly be something that drives addiction to come back.
If you find yourself thinking badly about yourself, and/or you’re getting stressed out, then it’s a good idea to practice mindfulness. These exercises can help ground you through techniques like controlled breathing and meditation.
In addition, mindfulness makes you live in the moment and accept yourself — flaws and all. Self-love during recovery is vital, so it’s worth taking a few extra minutes out of your days to practice mindfulness and learn to love yourself more.
On the note of mindfulness, you also need to learn to forgive yourself. Your past mistakes are exactly that: in the past.
There’s nothing you can do about them now, besides learn from them. It’s not very constructive to beat yourself up over them.
Learning self-compassion is a key step to self-love. Think about how you’d treat a friend and apply that to yourself. You deserve to be treated with respect, kindness, and love, just as you’d treat them.
So, if you’re hung up on past mistakes and/or face difficult situations in the present and future, remember to be kind to yourself and practice forgiveness. Only then can you move forward and make progress.
In addition to forgiving yourself, you should also take some time out of every day to compliment yourself in the mirror. Make it a point to list off 5 things you like about yourself.
It can feel silly at first, and you might not even be able to come up with anything at first. But it’ll become more and more natural, and the self-affirmations you say will stick throughout the day.
You’ll eventually see your self-worth and value through this act of self-love. This will, in turn, raise your self-esteem and confidence.
Pick Up a Hobby
Perhaps you never had time for hobbies before because you were consumed with addiction. But now that you’re in recovery, you have a lot more free time. So why not pick up a hobby you were interested in?
It’s daunting to start something new. But once you’ve mastered it and feel comfortable with it, the sense of achievement will be amazing.
Knowing that you can have a fulfilling life pursuing your passions can give you hard evidence that your addiction doesn’t define you. This can help free you from limiting and harmful thoughts that you can’t have a life without substances.
Make a Vision Board
Many people who are fresh into recovery can feel like they’re lost and aimless. Setting goals with a vision board can help keep you on track and focused on sobriety.
It’s important to fill your vision board with achievable goals. It’s ideal to break down bigger goals into smaller ones. That way, they’ll be easier to complete and with each thing you can check off your vision board, you’ll feel fantastic about yourself.
Set Boundaries with Your Social Circles
Setting boundaries is difficult for many people, even if they don’t have addiction issues. But as a result, this can wear them down, especially when they’re pressured into doing things they don’t want to do or enjoy.
Putting boundaries into place is actually a good way to practice self-compassion. These boundaries will allow you to focus on yourself better and not get exhausted trying to please everyone else.
So, whether it’s telling your friends “No” to partying or telling your boss that you’re willing to work on this project but not the next, you’ll protect yourself from burning out and relapsing.
One of the best ways to practice self-love is to exercise. Studies show that physical activity can influence your self-esteem both directly and indirectly, so only good can come from it.
First of all, when you exercise, your body produces endorphins. These are also known as “feel-good” hormones, and for good reason.
The body releases endorphins in several situations to help you deal with pain or stress. You also release endorphins when using certain substances.
Of course, you don’t want to go back to using to chase those feelings. But exercise is a fantastic alternative since your body will flush with endorphins, as you’re in “pain”.
Also, over time, your body will become fitter as you exercise more and more. When you see the progress you’ve made and all the hard work you’ve put in, you’ll be proud of who you are, and self-love will come more naturally.
Get More Sleep
Most people don’t get enough sleep; adults up to 60 years old should get at least 7 hours a night. If you’re guilty of burning the midnight oil, then it’s time to increase self-love in this area.
You are a worthy person who deserves to be well-rested and have a body that’s functional. Without enough sleep, that’s not possible.
While concentrating on work after rehab can be a good thing, don’t let your employer push you around. And you shouldn’t feel like you need to bend over backwards to keep your job either. Your health and wellness come first, and this is a great way to practice setting boundaries.
Self-love is recognizing that you’ve done a lot of work to improve yourself and rewarding yourself accordingly. It’s also recognizing that you’re stretched thin and need some relief as well.
For example, maybe you’ve successfully completed a project at work that would’ve been difficult to do in the past. Feel free to buy yourself a little treat, have a long bubble bath, etc., whatever you feel would make you happy (within reason, of course).
Taking a small moment to take care of yourself will let you recharge and give you the strength to conquer whatever else comes at you.
Join Support Groups
Unfortunately, even in today’s society, there’s a stigma surrounding addiction. So, while you’ve made a huge accomplishment by getting into recovery, you might feel shame about who you are, and this might prevent you from fully loving yourself.
An excellent way to overcome this stigma is to join support groups. These safe spaces allow you to speak about your personal experiences and acknowledge who you were before and embrace who you are now.
It can be difficult and even scary to speak in a group setting. But once you do, you’ll most likely find it to be a freeing experience. Considering this can help others in their journey to sobriety, this can give you a sense of achievement and self-love as well.
See a Therapist
Everyone can benefit from seeing a therapist, whether they have an addiction or not. We all go through difficult periods and events in our lives and having an outside perspective can help.
Self-love is acknowledging that you aren’t equipped to handle these things yourself and that you trust a professional to walk you through these hard thoughts. You can discuss past traumas, current struggles, and anything you feel is challenging or hindering your sobriety. Therapists aren’t there to judge you, so you’re in a safe space where you can discuss sensitive topics.
Just one session can make you feel as if a weight’s been lifted from your shoulders. And that is definitely a form of self-love and self-care you need in recovery.
Practicing Self-Love During Recovery Is Beneficial
Fighting your addiction and getting sober is a tough thing to do, so you should be proud of yourself. But just because you’ve found sobriety doesn’t necessarily mean it’s an easy road ahead of you.
By practicing self-love, those difficult steps to stay sober will be a little easier. With these healthy outlets, you’ll be able to relieve stress and tension, all without turning back to your substances of choice. And as a result, you can be proud of what you’ve achieved while recovering from addiction.
If you’d like to get help with recovery, then contact us today. We have substance use disorder treatment programs all throughout Texas.