Why it is important to prioritize self-care
It is so easy in the fast paced modern society that we live in to forget to stop, breath, and take care of ourselves. We can get so caught up in the daily goings on, the schedules, and the obligations that we completely neglect the fact that we are wearing ourselves thin and headed towards the wall.
I know that I am guilty of this and on any given day I can be frantically tending to any number of the responsibilities in my life when all of a sudden I realize that I haven’t eaten yet that day, or that I haven’t been to the gym in a week because I was too tired and stressed out. Or that it has been a while since I followed my morning ritual of positive daily affirmations. It is so easy to get lost in the busyness of life and forget that I need to take care of myself.
I notice in times like this, when I am neglecting my self-care, that the rest of my life suffers. I start to become more irritable as my patience runs out and I also notice that my connection with God begins to wane, because I have not been taking the time out of my day to stop and be with him.
So it is needless to say that the longer that I have stayed sober, the more I have realized just how important self-care is, not only for my sobriety, but for the rest of my life as well. It is important that I try to find a balance between meeting my obligations in life, while also taking care of myself.
When I am not too caught up in life and I am practicing self-care, everything just seems to be easier. I am better able to handle the challenges in my life and I am better able to enjoy the good things as well because I am not worrying about something else, and I am not suffering from the racing thoughts that come with not taking care of myself.
For me, self-care really has three components. It consists of taking care of myself spiritually, mentally, and physically. I have found that when all three of these are in harmony with each other, I experience peace and my sobriety feels stronger.
I have found that spiritual self-care really has to come first and foremost for me. I have to be sure that I take time out of my mornings to read my daily meditations, sit quietly for a little white, and pray, because without doing these things my days are usually terrible. Doing these three things helps to center me and get me ready for whatever the day throws out me and while I know that God is with me regardless of whether I pray or not, sitting with my higher power in the morning just gets me in the right frame of mind.
Whenever I get too busy meditation usually starts to take a back seat. I start to tell myself things like, “I’ll do it tomorrow, I’m too busy today” and after a little while of doing that I usually find that my thought life becomes unmanageable. My mind starts racing again to imagined scenarios and I start to become completely overwhelmed and angry. When this happens I know that it is time to check where I am out with my spiritual self-care and make adjusts where necessary.
It is also important that I take care of myself mentally and one of the things that I do in order to ensure this happens, is going to therapy. Therapy has been instrumental in my sobriety and I cannot really overstate its importance. I have received a lot out of the self-knowledge that I received from the Steps, but therapy helps me to connect the dots on things that I otherwise would miss. It allows me to meet with an objective third-party who can help me navigate my thought processes and break old associations and negative thought patterns.
Going to therapy in conjunction with regular attendance at AA meetings has done a wonder for my mental health and when I am keeping up with both of these things I feel more balanced and my emotions do not seem so out of whack.
Lastly, I have found that physical self-care is equally as important as mental and spiritual self-care. I have found that sometimes in recovery there is a greater emphasis placed on mental and spiritual well being and the physical is left behind, but it is important to be physically healthy in order to have a balanced life.
Doing some sort of physical exercise, not only makes me feel good physically, but it also makes me feel good mentally. Whenever I leave the gym or the yoga studio, I always have a different outlook on life and my problems just never seem to feel as big. I always notice that my thoughts slow down and I am able to better manage my emotions when I am consistently involved in some sort of physical exercise. Whether it is cardio or lifting weights, taking care of my body always makes me feel better.
Going along with this, I also notice when I have a healthy diet my life improves dramatically. A recent study showed that there is a strong correlation between diet and mental health and for myself this is apparent. When I am eating right and when I am supposed to eat, my overall well-being increases. I am not as quick to get angry or sad and I find that I am better able to deal life on life’s terms.
Finding the proper balance of self-care in my life is sometimes a struggle, but with persistence and continued effort it has certainly gotten easier. Sobriety to me isn’t just about staying sober, but it is about being the best person that I can possibly be. In order for me to do this I must be sure to take care of myself mentally, physically, and spiritually. When I am doing this my life improves and when I am not it is apparent to all those around me. So remember to take care of yourself no matter how busy your life gets.
Rose Lockinger is a passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.
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