Bigger Than Me – Episode 13 – Self-care in Recovery

This week Rocky and Bri get into the topic of self-care and recovery. A common misconception of what self-care is the, “Treat yo’self” idea that so many people use. Self-care is so much more than just treating yourself; it’s the small actions that we can do in our daily lives to improve the way we feel about ourselves. One small action that is commonly talked about is making your bed in the morning.

How is Making my bed Self-Care?

You often hear, “Messy bed, messy head.” It’s true. Rocky said, “If your body is your temple, what is your temple’s temple?” Cleaning your environment that you live in is one form of self-care. Make the space that you have whether it be a halfway house, your parent’s house, your apartment, make it a clean, comfortable space. The energy that a clean, comfortable home has will carry outside of the home.

Your environment is a reflection of where you’re at internally. The difference between coming home after a long stressful day to a messy house and a clean house is immense. Taking care of the area that you occupy is a way to take care of yourself. The little actions that we do throughout the day can either add or subtract from our peace of mind. Taking care of your environment by doing small activities like making your bed, can change the whole vibe of your space.

From Hating Yourself to Liking Yourself to Loving Yourself

Rocky points out that you have to make your process of self-care. It’s not something that will happen overnight. You have to stop beating yourself up long enough to realize the things that you like about yourself (step work is a great way to figure out what you like about yourself and the character defects you need to work on). When you realize what you do and don’t like about yourself, you can start focusing on working to strengthen the qualities that you like and getting rid of the qualities you don’t.

It all starts with being kind to yourself. We all know the answers to these questions, for example, how can you be kind to your body? Eat well, exercise regularly and be mindful of what you’re doing. Sure, that sounds easy but where do you start? More importantly, how do you start without beating yourself up along the way? Knowing the answers and taking the time to find the solution that works for you is a form of self-care.

Rocky makes the analogy of saying he has two days of eating well and then eats a slice of pizza and some cake that he can’t beat himself up over it. That’s not emotionally kind to yourself. Emotional kindness is a growth process. Even those that don’t have substance use disorders, often aren’t the nicest to themselves. With emotional kindness it’s progress, not perfection, you have to find what works for you.

“I know I’m going to fall short; I’m going to try my best still knowing that I’m going to fall short…but not use the knowledge that I’m going to fall short as a basis for doing whatever I want.” Rocky made that excellent point because to fall short; you have to put some effort into what you’re trying to accomplish in the first place.

Rocky also talks about a chart that has our mind, body, emotions, and spirit in it. We have to be kind in all of these aspects to ourselves. They all work together to for us to be balanced nd to grow and take care of ourselves.

The Idiot, and The Genius

Comparable to the devil and the angel on your shoulder, everyone has two voices in their head. The one that speaks with logic and reason, and the idiot who screams everything first, loudest and it’s usually a terrible idea that in the past, we would have acted upon. Spiritual practices can give us the ability to help differentiate between the idiot for purely entertainment purposes and the split second to not act on those thoughts.

Spirituality takes up a significant portion of recovery. It is one of the main roadblocks that we must get through to grow in our recovery. Prayer and meditation are two of the significant components of recovery. That also allows for us to be kind to ourselves spiritually. When we have a connection with a God of our understanding, it feeds our spirit and will enable us to grow in that area.

Meditation is also something that is highly suggested in recovery and is a healthy practice for everyday life. These practices help us to not go straight from an urge to action. They can get us from the urge to thought to action, not a reaction.

What ways can you be kind to yourself? Make a plan that you can stick to; you just have to start. It doesn’t matter where you start, as long as you do. Meet yourself where you are, be patient and kind to yourself along the way.