In today’s fast-paced world, taking care of ourselves is often relegated to a quick breathing exercise in our cars before we have to do yet another thing on our to-do lists. However, self-care is vital to our mental and physical health. Putting aside time for ourselves is critical if we want to operate at our best. Self-care is also necessary to avoid burnout and possible relapse into old unhealthy behaviors. Self-care helps us function at our best and improves our relationships with others.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 24.8 million adults in 2018 reported struggling in at least one area of functioning. Difficulty in areas of functioning can lead to disability and the use of alcohol and/or other substances to cope. Bearing the risks involved with not taking care of yourself, the best way to begin a self-care routine is to take some much-needed personal time. Not taking time for yourself leads to burnout and subsequent health problems, which can lead to a relapse of substance use disorder (SUD).
4 Components to Successfully Set Aside Personal Time
There are some critical components to set aside personal time. You need to set boundaries, focus on your needs, accept your imperfections, and give yourself permission to take care of yourself. You have infinite worth and deserve to take time for yourself.
#1. Set Boundaries
While helping others and accepting help from others can be beneficial to your well-being, there are times when saying “no” is necessary. You need time to yourself as much as you need time with other people. There are times when you need to conserve your energy for your own needs instead of feeding into the needs of others. We only have so much energy and time, so we must use them wisely. We are called to be stewards and caretakers of our resources. We are our own resource, and this means we have to set boundaries.
Wise use of time requires boundaries — set boundaries for yourself as to how much time you give to events and other people. Also, you must set boundaries for others. Tell people who call you regularly if you do not want to be called before or after certain times of the day. Turn your phone to “Do Not Disturb.” Remind yourself your time is just as important as anyone else’s, and you deserve to spend your time on your needs and wants. While setting boundaries may seem selfish, having boundaries is critical to your well-being.
#2. Focus on Your Needs
We have physical and mental needs. Addressing these needs is critical to avoiding burnout. Take time to breathe, not necessarily as an exercise, but as a way to approach life. Give yourself the time and space to enjoy life and rest. We need sleep, good food, and fun. While you can enjoy food and have fun with others, you might need to examine if your time with others is spent caring for them or rejuvenating yourself. As humans, we need to recharge, and recharging requires time for ourselves. We often consider time for ourselves as an introverted practice; however, time for oneself is necessary for everyone. This time ensures we can focus on our needs and recharge.
#3. Accept Your Imperfections
Spending your recharge time evaluating what you could be doing or improving yourself is not recharging but draining yourself. Considering yourself negatively leads to weariness and depression, which could lead to relapse. Focus your time for self-care on accepting who you are and what you have to offer to others. Do not spend this precious time belittling yourself. You may be imperfect, but you are wonderfully made.
#4. Give Yourself Permission to Take Care of Yourself
So often, we believe ourselves to be unworthy to take time for ourselves. We belittle ourselves and say we have not earned the time off or do not deserve to have fun. We believe we do not have time to take a nap midafternoon. We always have too much to do. Assuming we are not worthy or do not have the time to take care of ourselves leads to burnout, which can lead to relapse. You deserve to take time to take care of yourself. However, to make your time the most beneficial and recharging, you must believe you deserve the time. You are valuable to the world and deserve to take the time to care for yourself. You need to believe in your value and permit yourself to practice self-care.
Things to Remember
Self-care is critical to helping you avoid burnout and relapse. You were not made to consistently take care of others. You were created to be beneficial to the world. Helping others requires you to put your own needs first. Just like you must put your own oxygen mask on before you can help others on an airplane, taking care of yourself first ensures your ability to care for others without losing yourself in the process.
Self-care should be an item on your daily or weekly to-do list. You are important to others, but to maintain your ability to assist others, you must help yourself first. At Renaissance Ranch, we recognize your value to others and want to ensure your well-being and your ability to self-care. We believe in the power of every individual to make a difference, but you must take care of yourself first and foremost. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction to alcohol and/or other substances, the time has come for you to consider your needs first. Renaissance Ranch offers support for every step of the recovery process, including detox and extending through sober living homes and aftercare support through our Band of Brothers network. You deserve to find healing from your substance use disorder. Contact Renaissance Ranch today by calling (801) 308-8898 and learn how we can help you find healing and the future you deserve.