03 Oct 2017
self care in recovery

Taking Care of Ourselves in Recovery

Taking Care of Ourselves in Recovery

When people get sober or are recovering from a mental health disorder they may attend twelve-step meetings, support groups, or psychotherapy. Although these things are incredibly useful to many, it may be beneficial to add in other ways we can take care of ourselves. If we are to recover, we need to treat ourselves as a whole and not just address individual parts of our experience.

Essential Oils

Although often viewed negatively as a form of alternative medicine, there are many essential oils for alcoholism and addiction. There has been much research on lavender, frankincense, clary sage, and more essential oils. Although it may seem silly to some, there is true power in utilizing essential oils.

You can dilute some oils, consume others, or use a diffuser to fill the room with a calming aroma. Essential oils can help with a number of things in recovery, such as brain function, relaxation, and meditation. We take care of ourselves in so many ways, but rarely take the time to care for our sense of smell and wellbeing that can come from aromas.

Meditation and Mindfulness

Meditation and mindfulness practice can be extremely helpful in recovery. From helping to deal with morning anxiety to clarifying our deeper intentions, meditation can make a huge difference in our recovery. There are even places that specifically offer guided meditations for people in recovery.

Meditation and mindfulness practice are helpful because they help us care for ourselves in a new way. We take care of ourselves by not putting drugs in our systems or taking esteemable actions, but we forget about this piece of training the mind. In mindfulness practice, we care for the mind by training it to be present without judgement, and this is a beautiful practice for our recovery.

healthy eating in recoveryExercise and Nutrition

Recovery isn’t just about not putting drugs into our system. We have to learn to take care of our minds and bodies in other ways. Eating well in recovery can bring both physical and mental benefits, and exercise can greatly benefit our mental health as well.




In recovery, we need to take care of our whole selves. By consuming food that nurtures our minds and body, we can cultivate a life in recovery of health and focus. Exercise can help us remain healthy both mentally and physically, and this is an aspect of our life which we must address if we wish to address the whole of our experience.

Social Engagement

One part of our recovery that is important is engaging with a community. This may be a community like a twelve-step fellowship, a therapy group, or maybe just supportive loved ones. There area many benefits of finding a community in recovery, and there’s a reason that support groups are so common in mental health and addiction treatment.

By spending time with others, we take care of the part of ourselves that enjoys connecting with people. Even if we are relatively introverted, we are social creatures. Connection helps us learn from others, build social skills, feel supported, and engage our minds and hearts in a new way. This doesn’t mean we have to be around people all the time, but we can make an effort to engage with others and connect.

Rest and Self-Care

One piece that we may forget about is stopping and resting. We often get in the habit of going, and forget to pause and take care of ourselves. In recovery, we have to do what we need to to take care of ourselves. Sometimes this means pausing and taking a nap, while sometimes this may mean treating ourselves to a special spa day. There’s a difference between being overindulgent or lazy and taking care of ourselves!

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