If there is one lesson to be learned in treatment for substance use disorder, it is probably this: caring for yourself is one of the most important things you can do. Self-love is what brought you into treatment, got you through it, and what sustains you in recovery.
Because of Valentine’s Day, and perhaps because of the hope of the coming Spring warmup, February is often thought of as the month of love. It is a time when we feel we are renewed, usually past the worst of winter and looking forward to a bright and colorful world.
During this time, we can often feel expected to be romantic and amorous, to find a partner, go on dates, and spend time canoodling. But not all of us are on the same page. Some of us still need to learn to be happy being by ourselves.
So, during the month of February, it is equally important that we begin to learn how to practice loving ourselves. As we progress through recovery and learn new skills, we must remember not to neglect the skill of self-care.
Recovery is about relearning our life skills to benefit us in a sober life. A big part of this process is knowing that we do not need to define ourselves by our relationships. We have to learn to be okay with being alone before we can be okay with being with others.
If you are at this stage in your recovery, do not worry. We have the information you need to love and be accepting of yourself. After all, remember that you got treatment for yourself, not for anyone else. Your recovery is no different.
Self-Love and Recovery
If you are spending Valentine’s Day alone, you may want to consider having a plan. Having a plan and activities for yourself to do will help you to escape the pressures others put on the holiday.
Whatever plans you make, they should focus on supporting you with your well-being at the center of them. You can still make plans with others, but make sure the focus is on healing and caring for your spirit. Here are some ideas for activities for you:
- Choose a restful activity. Take a nap on the couch while listening to relaxing music or watching your favorite film. Eat your favorite snack. Remember that hobby that brings you inner peace? Do that today. Whatever it is, do something that relaxes you and cheers your spirit.
- Try journaling for a bit. Better yet, make a list. Write down the things about yourself that you love. Once you have written these down, say them out loud to yourself in a mirror. Affirm all the ways you are special, out loud and proud.
- Practice mindfulness. Unplug yourself from the world. No social media or online activity for you today. Instead, spend some time meditating. Turn on the yoga video or sign up for an in-person class. Hike on a trail and take in the scenic view. Whatever you do, find that inner peace and clear everything else out of your mind.
Self-care means different things to every person. Don’t think that you have to fit in a one-size-fits-all box of self-love. Caring for yourself is whatever activity brings you delight, inner peace, or happiness. Embrace those things and care about yourself!
The Importance of You This Valentine’s Day
Self-esteem is the feeling of worth you have in yourself. It comes from within each of us. But the way we know how much self-esteem someone else has is by observing the way each person treats themselves.
Self-care is directly related to your self-esteem. That is because your self-worth has to be built up, and like any structure, it needs to be maintained. Self-care is the way we keep our structure of self-esteem running and stable.
According to research, a good way to improve your self-esteem is through gratitude writing. Gratitude writing is when we write down the things we are grateful for. In self-care, this may involve writing a list of the accomplishments you are proud of.
In fact, you can show yourself your gratitude by taking out your journal and writing down all of the things you have done. Read them once you have finished. Whether you write a long or short list, it is impressive that you did all of that. Clap yourself on the back!
Falling in Self-Love with Yourself Again
A final thought: to have the energy to be kind and compassionate in the world, we all need to recharge our batteries sometimes. We do this by practicing self-care.
Whether you are journaling, meditating, exercising, or listening to music, February is a time to fall in love with yourself again. No matter what your Valentine’s Day plans are, remember to take some time out to focus on yourself.
As Valentine’s Day approaches once again, you probably feel a lot of pressure to focus on romance and love with a partner. But this romantic holiday can also focus on someone who deserves love too: you. February is not just a month to celebrate romantic love, it can also be a great month to celebrate the love you have for yourself. You can be proud of yourself and all that you have accomplished. As an alumnus of an addiction recovery program, you have accomplished a great deal with your life. During February, take some time to do things that take care of you. And when you need your brothers to rely on, call Renaissance Ranch at (801) 308-8898.