(Me as a clown several years ago, photo taken by Harold Jarboe)
An important part of working toward, and maintaining recovery is self care. It is a way to nourish the soul. I was raised in a Christian household where we learned to put others needs and wants first. To consider our own wants was considered selfish. It took me awhile, but I gradually learned to put myself and my needs first and not feel guilty about it. There are sayings that explain the importance of our putting ourselves first:
“You cannot serve from an empty vessel.”
If the plane is crashing, you put on your oxygen mask first, before you try and put on someone else’s…because you can’t help someone else if you pass out and suffocate.
So, first…consider the things your soul needs to stay well. For me, I have always enjoyed being creative and listening to music. I keep a small supply of colored pens, construction paper, an adult coloring book, and a journal in easy reach to satisfy the creative side of me.
Laughter is also a big factor in my healing. I have learned to not take life so seriously. I love to laugh. I try and laugh, even when I don’t feel like it. Why? Because laughter protects us from the damaging effects of stress and also causes positive physical changes in our bodies. According to an article on Help Guide.org, “laughter is a powerful antidote to stress, pain, and conflict. Nothing works faster or more dependably to bring your mind and body back into balance than a good laugh. Humor lightens your burdens, inspires hopes, connects you to others, and keeps you grounded, focused, and alert (http://www.helpguide.org/articles/emotional-health/laughter-is-the-best-medicine.htm). Therefore, laughter is the best medicine and it is also a way to help others. I laugh and I make others laugh. 🙂
Other ways to take care of yourself is to eat healthy, stay active, get a good night’s sleep, relaxation, and having a support system (http://www.recovery.org/9-steps-to-building-a-self-care-plan-in-recovery/). Let us not forget setting boundaries and letting go of (or distancing ourselves from) toxic relationships, including family (https://www.hazelden.org/web/public/hff30728.page).
These are some of the things I have used and still use to maintain recovery. What are a few things that you have found beneficial? What do you enjoy doing?