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The Importance of Self-Care in Recovery

It’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind of our days. It always points back to stress. Between work, family obligations, and other commitments, it can feel like there’s not enough time for everything that needs to be done. Or that we are being pulled in a million different directions.

When we’re feeling burned out or stressed out, one thing to consider is taking a break from everything for a little while. Whether you use this moment of peace as an opportunity to read the latest bestseller or curl up watching favorite series; making sure we take this time is essential to our overall health and wellness.

Activities such as these are considered self-care and can be used to help you maintain your mental and physical health, especially during difficult or stressful times. In this article, we’ll talk about:

Having Work Boundaries is Self-Care

Self-Care Barriers in Recovery

Positive Self-Care Activities

Developing a Routine

Consistency is Key


Having Work Boundaries is Self-Care

Most of us spend the majority of our days at work in order to make a living. We can easily get caught up in the day-to-day stress and lose sight of our well-being. My personal experience of this would be me getting stressed at work, drinking at night as a de-stressor from work, then stressing again at work. Repeating the cycle until mental breakdown occurs. Good times.

With that said, the work grind can become too much and we can be moments away from total burnout mode. This can typically happen because we stop taking care of ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally. Some aspect of wellness is lacking and begins to create a snowball effect of stress, bleeding into other areas of one’s life.

Workplace culture, busyness, taking work home, lack of self-worth, and lack of planning were all self-care barriers found in a study done by BMC Palliat Care. We become so busy focusing on other people and tasks, that we forget to focus on ourselves. Establishing and maintaining boundaries between home and the workplace is considered an effective self-care strategy. (Mills, 2018).

Self-Care Barriers in Recovery

No motivation, Fear of seeming weak, lack of awareness of one’s own needs, putting others first, feeling guilty, and not feeling worthy are all reasons why a person would avoid self-care (KimreyHi, 2021). Over the past few years, society has begun to pay more attention to just how important mental health truly is.

We need to continue pushing forward in action against the mental health stigma. By creating education around mental health and self-care routines, we are taking steps towards eliminating the stigma surrounding it.

Let’s work together to create a culture that makes it okay for people to seek help without feeling judged or shamed into thinking they’re weak. It takes strength and courage to ask for help, so let’s reward these actions with empowerment and support.

Fear of Self-Indulgence

Many people can feel that caring for themselves is the same as being self-indulgent or self-centered. Also, people with substance use disorders often become so focused on others’ needs at the expense of their own that they forget to make time for themselves. In recovery, it is important to put yourself first every now and then. In fact, prioritizing your needs will probably help you be a better friend or family member because you’ll have more energy and patience to deal with others’ problems. It’s vital for your well-being and the people in your life will benefit from it too.

Learn to Forgive Yourself

Many people in recovery are very hard on themselves. They are perfectionists but this doesn’t serve any purpose in a long-term goal. Mistakes are bound to be made. Recovery is working to change years of bad habits, and we’re only human. Ask yourself, are you letting guilt or shame stop you from taking some time to relax?

Stress Management: Learn How to Relax

The next time you feel yourself getting stressed out, stop and take a few deep breaths. If you’re in the middle of an activity, decide whether it is worth stressing about or if you can put it aside for later. Do some stretching or take a walk. In times of overwhelming stress, consider using a relaxation technique like yoga or meditation to cope with unpleasant feelings.

Developing a Routine

It’s not easy to make self-care a priority. You just have to take the time and be patient with yourself as you try new things.

Grab your calendar or planner – set aside some time every day or week to take care of yourself. It could be 15 minutes in bed early morning while drinking tea, taking an evening bath while reading a magazine, reading in the park daily after work, meeting up each weekend with friends or family members who are supportive, etc., but you need to do something every day that helps replenish your mind-body system. Without this time for yourself, you will be more prone to stress, burnout, and mental illness.

Positive Self-Care Activities

Every recovering person has their own personal physical, mental and spiritual needs. It’s up to you to decide what activities are necessary for your well-being. Self-care routines include physical activities such as exercising, eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, and taking time for yourself to rest, renew and process things.

If you’re feeling emotionally overwhelmed, it can be difficult to find the motivation to engage in self-care processes. Research suggests that along with self-care rituals like eating well and exercising you can tap into your resilience by doing something rejuvenating (Scott, 2021).

For others, it’s as simple as taking a walk every day and making sure to eat healthy meals. Many people find physical activities like running, walking, or yoga to be beneficial to their mental and emotional health. Spiritual and psychological needs may include meditation, attending support group meetings, finding time for hobbies, spending quiet time alone or with friends, or getting professional help if you’re struggling with anxiety or depression.

Some simpler options would be to enjoy spending time in nature, watching a good movie, or learning something new. Our membership platform is a great free resource for learning new tools for mindfulness, recovery, and more. Another free resource is Coursera’s “The Science of Well-Being,” a course created by Yale psychology professor Laurie Santos, PhD, and touted as “Yale’s most popular class ever.” (Clay, 2020). The important thing is to keep an open mind and try new things until you discover what works for you and makes you feel your best.

The Key is Consistency

In order for self-care practices to become routine, they must be consistent and frequent. You don’t have to spend hours every day on self-care activities, but you should do something that helps you rest, relax and rejuvenate at least once a day. Over time, your self-care activities will become habits – which is great because new positive habits are some of the best gifts to give yourself in recovery.

Addiction is often associated with poor coping skills. Work on developing healthy ways to manage stress, anxiety, and anger. When you are feeling overwhelmed by negative emotions, take a few minutes to do something relaxing or distracting. Prioritize your own needs in order to build the strength necessary for living life in recovery.

Self-care is important for your mental and physical health. It’s not selfish, but necessary to take time out of the day to care for yourself. You might find that all it takes is spending time in nature or watching a good movie. The key is consistency with self-care activities so they become habits. Don’t forget about taking deep breaths when you feel stressed!


Self-care is an essential component of self-improvement and self-healing. That’s because self-care helps you maintain a healthy balance between work and relaxation, body and mind, selflessness, and self-love. The key to incorporating self-care into your life is consistency with the activities that make you feel good – whatever those may be for you. You don’t have to spend hours every day on these practices as long as they happen at least once per day! If all this sounds intimidating or if you want help figuring out what will bring about positive change in your life, let us know! Our team is ready to partner with you and co-create a recovery plan that works for you. Join us on the platform!


Clay, R. A. (2020, July). Self-care has never been more important. Monitor on Psychology51(5).

Elizabeth Scott, PhD. “5 Self-Care Practices for Every Area of Your Life.” Verywell Mind, Verywell Mind, 29 July 2021,

KimreyHi, Lisa. “Barriers to Self-Care & How to Deal with Them.” My Life Nurse, 17 Aug. 2021,

Mills, J., Wand, T., & Fraser, J. A. (2018). Exploring the meaning and practice of self-care among palliative care nurses and doctors: a qualitative study. BMC palliative care17(1), 63.