Practicing Self-Love in Recovery
How you feel about yourself will impact your mental health and ongoing recovery. The majority of people diagnosed with substance use disorder (SUD) have low self-esteem or lack self-confidence. Younger individuals who misuse substances are more likely to suffer from low self-worth. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reported that “low self-esteem may be a crucial factor in substance use among adolescents.” Choosing to care for your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being is one way to overcome self-doubts and low self-esteem. Anyone can improve how they feel about themselves by practicing regular self-love and self-care.
What is Self-Love?
The way you think about yourself will influence how you react to others and your circumstances. Choosing to love yourself is not always easy. You might feel fear, guilt, shame, or regret about past actions that brought you to where you are today but carrying around those negative feelings about yourself can decrease the effectiveness of treatment. The famous Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Jung, once said, “the most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.”
Self-love involves caring for and loving all aspects of yourself and taking actions to ensure your mental and physical health. Self-esteem, self-awareness, and self-confidence are all affected by your ability to love and care for yourself and your needs. You can overcome a fear of self-acceptance by recognizing that you cannot change the past. However, you can control what you do right now, today, and in the future. You can learn to love all parts of yourself.
The Mental and Physical Health Benefits of Self-Love
Self-love can improve self-esteem, which plays a significant role in mental and physical health. According to the Virginia Department of Health, “research shows that high levels of self-acceptance can also lead to less focus on negative aspects of oneself and a higher likelihood of engaging in acts of self-love.” Some known benefits of high self-esteem and self-acceptance include:
Greater stress tolerance
Less risk of developing mental health disorders
Decreased symptoms related to anxiety and depression
6 Ways You Can Practice Self-Love Every Day
Everyone is different, and what you find comforting might be uncomfortable for someone else. If you are new to self-love, trying several methods and finding the one that works best for you can be helpful. Most people do multiple things every day to practice self-acceptance and self-care.
#1. List positive things about yourself. Self-acceptance is an essential part of learning how to love and appreciate all aspects of yourself. One way to do this is by making a list of things you like about how you look, act, think, and behave. When you feel bad about yourself, look at that list, and remember that you deserve to be loved.
#2. Do not compare yourself to other people. Self-care includes not comparing your failures and achievements to those of the people around you. Everyone is unique, and no one responds to situations in the same way. Your recovery will be different from the examples you see around you, and that is okay.
#3. Celebrate your successes and accept praise from others. You have value, and learning to accept your positive qualities can increase self-confidence. Every day you can choose to celebrate a goal you have achieved or something positive about yourself. If other people give you compliments, accept them and remind yourself that you deserve to be appreciated.
#4. Take care of your body and mind. How you spend your time will impact your physical and emotional well-being. Several excellent ways to practice self-love include getting plenty of restful sleep, eating regular nutritional meals, and choosing to focus on healthy activities or hobbies that bring you joy.
#5. Join a supportive community of peers. Social connections are essential to ongoing recovery. Sometimes it is easier to accept and love yourself if you have a supportive community that recognizes your worth and potential.
#6. Make self-love rituals or routines that incorporate self-care. You have taken the first steps toward building a sober life. You get to choose how that looks, and one thing you can do to facilitate self-love is to create little rituals or routines that celebrate you. For example, when you achieve a personal, recovery, or professional goal, you can do something special like eating out or buying something nice.
You Deserve to Feel Loved and Appreciated
Practicing self-love allows you to find a healthy way to accept all parts of yourself because it forces you to change how you think about your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. You deserve to feel valued and respected for being yourself. No one should have to “earn” the right to feel loved. Every time you reinforce self-love, you will be overwriting past negative thoughts. Each day is a new opportunity to start again and treat yourself better.
No matter where you are in your recovery journey, it is never too late to start taking care of your emotional health. How you talk and think about yourself can affect your behavior during and after rehabilitation treatment. No one should have to go through life feeling unworthy or negative about themselves. You can make new choices in how you treat yourself and approach self-care. Every day is an opportunity to be kinder and more patient with yourself. We can help you move forward and heal from the trauma of SUD. The dedicated team at California Care Detox and Treatment provides a wide range of services, including essential skill development, where you can learn how to recognize your own emotional needs and find healthy ways to address them. To learn more about our facility and the services we offer at California Care Detox and Treatment, call us today at (949) 281-0632.