When mental health distress, such as addiction, becomes a factor in your life, your symptoms may quickly lead to self-neglect and self-destruction. Once you enter recovery, self-care becomes an essential factor in sustaining sobriety and having long-term recovery success.
Successful recovery helps you approach adversity from healthier perspectives while teaching you to prioritize your self-worth. There are many routes to consider when discussing self-care. Therefore, it is essential to approach the topic from various perspectives.
Types of Self-Care
Generally, there are four main categories of self-care. These include emotional, physical, psychological, and spiritual health. Every type of health overlaps with another, so it is important to understand how to approach self-care from different angles.
#1. Emotional health addresses your emotional needs. It is important that you allow yourself to feel genuine emotions fully to process and work through them. Caring for your body also does wonders for your emotional health. Allow yourself to lean into your support systems, especially during times of heightened emotions. Be gentle with yourself and others and acknowledge that everyone is doing the best that they can. Recognizing and expressing your feelings as they surface is one of the best things you can do for your emotional health. Common emotions that you might experience throughout your day might include sadness, fear, anger, overwhelm, and joy. Notice when these emotions surface and why.
#2. Physical health involves how you fuel your body, how much sleep you get at night, and how often you engage in physical activity. Caring for your physical health means eating a balanced and nutritious diet while staying hydrated. Hydration alone does wonders for your physical and mental wellness, as it draws out toxins from your body. While it is important to stay active, physical health also involves knowing and honoring when your body needs rest.
#3. Psychological health addresses how you relate to your sense of self, such as your ability to reduce stress or declutter your mind. Mental health is one of the more challenging categories to balance, especially because most live busy lives. To enhance your overall wellbeing and to cope with inevitable stress, it is important that you identify and utilize healthy coping mechanisms and give yourself time to relax. Without dedicating time to your mental health, you are more likely to experience prolonged stress which contributes to various chronic mental conditions.
#4. Spiritual health involves finding a deeper sense of meaning and purpose in our lives through connection with ourselves and others. For some, spiritual health might mean going to church or praying. For others, spiritual health might involve meditation or a walk in nature. Spiritual self-care does not have to be religious, although it may be for many. To engage in spiritual self-care, you may want to reflect on who you are now vs. who you would like to be. Address your strengths and weaknesses and give yourself an outline of the person you would like to become.
How To Prioritize Self-Care
Now that you understand the different ways to address self-care, you can dedicate time and effort to contribute to your personal self-care needs. If you feel one specific area of health is feeling less developed than the others, start by setting aside intentional time to work on that area of health. For example, if you feel like you lack self-care in spiritual health, you may want to practice mindfulness techniques to connect you to your higher self. If you lack physical energy, you might want to try a new form of exercise to increase your energy and endurance. Over time, you will find that you can contribute different intensities of self-care to your health needs and recognize deficiencies more quickly.
Prioritizing self-care means prioritizing your personal and individual needs. At certain ages, you might feel compelled to compare yourselves to your friends or siblings, thinking that certain needs may label us as weak. It is essential to note that we all have needs, and we must do what we need to do to address them and work through them.
Here are some questions to consider when evaluating your self-care needs:
- What helps me when I feel like I need to cry? (emotional)
- What are some healthy foods that give me good feelings of energy? (physical)
- How long do I need to sleep to feel fully rested? (physical)
- Who can I lean on for support when I can’t seem to think straight? (mental/emotional)
- What was my last argument about, and how can I handle a similar situation better in the future? (spiritual/mental)
Self-care is one of the most important elements when establishing long-term recovery success and fostering overall wellbeing. When it comes to addressing health needs, it is essential to view self-care from multiple perspectives. The four common categories of health include emotional, physical, psychological, and spiritual. Each health category will have specific needs that differ from person to person, as health needs concern personal life experiences. When learning how to prioritize self-care and health needs, it is important that you recognize what categories of health need more attention in your own life so that you can respond effectively. Clearfork Academy is a Christ-centered community that offers a unique substance use rehab experience for teenage boys. We believe that it is necessary to address self-care from multiple perspectives to establish long-term sobriety and recovery. To find out more about our treatment experience and programs, give us a call today at (866) 650-5212