Many times in life, you may have been conditioned to think that putting yourself first is selfish. This could not be further from the truth. Putting yourself first means showing that you respect yourself, love yourself, and value your own self-worth.
It is true that we live in a society where putting yourself first can be seen as a lack of focus on others. But you must love yourself to love others. Your cup must be overflowing before you can give others a drink.
Entering treatment and recovery for substance use or mental health can leave many feelings of guilt and shame. While we may justify these feelings to ourselves as normal and natural, we also need to understand that they may be misplaced.
Entering rehabilitation for substance use or mental health should be an empowering moment. It is the moment when we begin to take back control of our lives from the dastardly thing that dominated us before.
We may not realize it when we enter a treatment center, but we need to begin practicing self-care. One of the most important things we can do for ourselves is to take the time to focus on our own needs and learn to prioritize our health.
A big part of prioritizing ourselves is knowing how to read our own needs. Understanding the triggers for anxiety and stress and implementing interventions to face and quell these issues can be a big step in prioritizing self-care.
Why You Should Be Putting Yourself First
It would be natural to ask why focusing on oneself is not a selfish act. After all, in our fast-paced world where everything seems to move at the speed of light, taking a few moments to meditate can seem positively extravagant.
Therein lies part of the answer. When everything moves at a mile a minute, we have a hard time finding moments to recharge. This can leave the batteries of our souls drained. When we don’t have the spiritual energy for ourselves, there is no way we can lend it to others.
Putting ourselves first allows us to recharge ourselves and give our spirits that boost. When we give ourselves the spiritual energy we need, we can in turn unleash that energy to our world and help others whose batteries are going low.
It is like our grandmothers always told us: you need to stop and smell the roses. Life goes by so quickly. It is a blessing to stop and enjoy moments with the little things that matter.
The Importance of Self Care
Self-care is especially important when you are seeking treatment for substance use or mental health. Treatment is itself a form of self-care. When you seek treatment, you are deciding to prioritize your physical, mental, and spiritual health.
A treatment program can help to build some of those coping mechanisms that can build self-care routines. Daily reflections, mindfulness techniques, and even therapeutic counseling are all ways we can prioritize our mental health.
Practicing self-care is one of the five rules of recovery. And the last rule is especially important: Don’t bend the rules. Self-care is one of the most important practices you can implement in your treatment and recovery.
Helping Yourself So You Can Be There for Others
We already mentioned that some people may try to deter you from practicing self-care by claiming it is selfish. But those who love you and care about you know that putting yourself first is a good thing to do.
Instead of allowing people to engage in toxic behavior, try to keep positivity at the forefront of your thoughts. Find some good company, and you will come to understand that good people will prioritize your needs as well.
How Putting Yourself First Is an Act of Love
Self-care is not just about recharging your batteries, although that is a big part of it. The root of self-love is about re-discovering the strength you have within yourself.
When our physical, emotional, and spiritual energy wanes, we feel weak. It may leave us feeling that we may never have been as strong as we thought we were. But that is not true. Just like we have to work out our physical muscles to stay strong, we must also exercise our energy to keep it strong.
One way we can do this is by engaging in groups where we have open support systems. Being around like-minded people can give us that extra boost we need.
What Happens When You Start Putting Yourself First
When you start putting yourself first, you will see changes in your body and mindset. Physical exercise increases your physical strength. Mindfulness increases your mental fortitude.
You see your outlook change when you practice good physical and mental habits. You may experience:
- Better physical health and better sleep quality
- Decreases in feelings of anxiety and stress, and a lower chance of depression
- Less need for medical and mental health interventions
Moving to a Self-Care Mindset
Feeling stress and anxiety is natural. We all have moments when the world seems overwhelming. What is important is having the self-care coping skills to fight back and maximize our recovery.
Keeping a self-care mindset is crucial. Know what to look for: feelings of stress and anxiety, trouble sleeping, low energy, increasing health problems, headaches, and stomach ailments.
More importantly, keep practicing good self-care. Take care of your body, because physical health is important. Take the time to relax and connect with others socially. Look for positive news and ideas, and above all else, seek help from your care team when needed.
When you are in the early days of treatment and as you continue toward recovery, putting yourself first is one of the most important things you can do. Putting yourself first means that you are prioritizing self-care, and in doing so, you are ensuring that you are physically and emotionally prepared to take care of yourself and the people around you. Recharging your mental and spiritual batteries increases your strength of spirit, but it takes slowing down and letting yourself relax. When you are in treatment with Renaissance Ranch, your spiritual and mental health are prioritized as much as your physical health. Here you can gain the tools you need to prioritize self-care. Call (801) 308-8898 today.