Self-Care (guest post)

Sunday 31 Jan, 2016, 11:56am by Mrs D 19 comments

We talk about self-care a lot here at Living Sober. It’s so ridiculously important. Right now for me it’s the end of the long summer school holidays, I’m tired and run down, haven’t had a lot of time to myself and my self-care has slipped. Not just physical things like diet, exercise, and sleep … but also emotional things like reading restorative books or listening to helpful podcasts or just trying to spend my days mindfully living (and not lost in my thoughts). Next Wednesday my boys go back to school and I know after that I’m going to up my self-care and  start to look after myself a little more. 

Getting sober is one of the the most wonderful, significant, and monumental acts of self-care you could possibly take … but  there have to be lots of little acts of self-care that follow it in order for us to stay living happily and calmly. Unfortunately – however – often us boozers are not the habit of treating ourselves kindly or putting ourselves first. @quietlydone wrote the most wonderful update about this very topic in the Members Feed the other day and with her permission I am reprinting it here. She not only brilliantly explains WHY self-care is so important.. she also has plenty of practical tips on what form your self-care could take.

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@quietlydone: I seem to be stuck in some rut reminding everyone in my replies about self-care so I figured I’d write a post about it and get it out of my system! Self-care is not selfish, self indulgent, or self centered. When I was in Oncology/Chemotherapy training we had to take a class on self-care, it was a totally foreign concept to me. Health care providers are at the complete opposite end of the continuum to self-care but, we were taught that if you don’t take good care of yourself you can’t care for others. The old ‘put your oxygen mask on first if the plane is crashing’ theory.

Getting sober is a massive undertaking. Addiction is nasty, it wants you to believe you are a bad person and gives you an excuse to self-destruct. Give yourself a pat on the back for striving to become a better person. Self-care can be part of building a solid foundation for recovery.

Try to notice and acknowledge all the things you do right. Self-care includes any intentional action you take to care for your physical, emotional, and mental health. It is not a one-and-done, it is the repetition of many tiny habits which add up to soothe you and make you feel better and stronger. It doesn’t have to cost anything.

Some examples are goofing off for five minutes, scratching off something on your to-do list, call and make that doctor or dentist appointment, write that thank you note, fix something that has been bugging you, the squeaky door, the missing button. Compliment yourself, find one or more things you admire about YOU. Go cloud watching, lie on your back, relax, and look at the sky. Do a mini-declutter get rid of or recycle three things. Make a small change to your diet, add an extra glass of water each day. Play your favorite song and sing and dance along. Watch a funny old movie, you know, the one you knew all the words to when you were younger. A warm Epsom salt bath after a long walk.

Self-care isn’t just a sober treat for reaching an important milestone. It helps you grow and keeps you away from self destructive behavior. Practicing self-care helps you heal, it builds you up and makes you stronger.

What are you doing to take care of yourself?

@quietlydone

19 comments

  1. @quietlydone great post, thank you. I do find I “know” when my self-care is slipping a little – the anxious thoughts come back, the wobbles about drinking (especially when I am tired or haven’t been eating well) and it’s great to start to know our triggers,

    However I do feel, for me, it has all become a little “routine” just at the the moment so taking your post on board and scheduling some “me-time” every day with a weekly treat to look forward to, whether it’s a day trip somewhere, or getting my hair/nails done, or even just tea & cake somewhere that is not home!!

    Thank you x

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  2. Watching the joy in my dog when I take him for an off leash walk at the park, getting my nails or hair done, going for a run and ordering in with a lovely group of girl friends. All things I’ve done in the last month.

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  3. Love this post @quietlydone! Xxx
    I have certainly benefited from your wonderful little reminders that self care is the key to success in sobriety!
    I think it was you who once told me to leave all my past feelings of guilt and shame behind me and focus on the positive things that I am doing right now! I have to admit that it has taken a lot of time and many “day 1′s” to finally “get it” but I have finally “got it”. I am looking at life with such positivity, no longer dwelling but looking for ways to make myself happy… & in turn my family are becoming happier too! I have realised that my happiness and well being are key to everyone else’s who rely upon me! Who knew! It’s a wonderful feeling!
    I am so grateful for Mrs D, for you @quietlydone and all the sober warriers who are a part of this amazing community!
    I, for one, would miss your regular affirmations that it’s good to take care of You! Much love. Erm xxx

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  4. Love it! Thanks @quietlydone. It’s good to be reminded that lots of little things can add up to self care. It’s a cliché but as a mum of 2 under 5s self+care definitely needs effort and intentional action! But luckily, as I no longer spend many hours of my life boozing and feeling crap, I have much more time for ME!

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    1. So glad you are taking care of yourself, I think it is especially important for moms with little ones. You are making huge positive changes for generations to come!

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  5. I am making iced biscuits with my son this morning. I never had the energy when drinking. Then he wrote in an assignment at school he loved cooking with me.

    Self-care for me means going to bed with a cup of herbal tea and reading novels. I love reading and never felt like I ‘deserved’ it (or any other treats for that matter) when I was drinking, because I hated myself so much.

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  6. I’ve chosen to stay home while my husband goes out with my step daughters and am using the time to be here, read some more of This Naked Mind, and writing a list of the reasons I choose not to have alcohol in my life.

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  7. Just STOP your brain in it’s tracks…. have a cup of tea, sit back in your chair, close your eyes and have a long slow inhale……… (oxygen, not pot.. although you can pretend you’ve got an invisible joint if you want)

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