The Importance of Self-Care
Some of our most toxic limiting beliefs related to our addictions and mental health revolve around self-care. We believe it to be selfish. We consider it extraneous. We think of self-care as a luxury we can’t afford, financially or in terms of time. We think we can’t afford to buy ourselves nice things, so we never give ourselves even small gifts. We can’t afford to take time away from our busy schedules, so we never give ourselves any time for solitude. The truth is, the importance of self-care cannot be stressed enough. When we don’t give to ourselves, we have less to give others. When we don’t care for ourselves, we make it impossible to have the energy necessary to cope with always caring for other people.
The old saying that we ‘can’t pour from an empty cup’ might be even more true when it comes to addiction. Our addictive patterns and cycles deplete us of energy and motivation. They rob us of our hope and our will to live. They make us depressed, anxious, sad and afraid. We feel exhausted and drained. We struggle to want to go on living, let alone caring for ourselves. This is precisely why self-care is so important. We have to replenish our inner resources, the reserves of inner strength and resilience that our addictions deplete. We have to find ways to rejuvenate and reenergize ourselves. We can’t possibly hope to be caring and nurturing with other people when we don’t do the same for ourselves. If we’re always giving to other people and never giving to ourselves, it eventually catches up with us. We run ourselves into the ground. Our mental, emotional and physical health suffer. We hit rock bottom. We’re hospitalized for exhaustion, depression or what we sometimes refer to us a nervous breakdown. We simply can’t sustain our energetic output without also replenishing ourselves. Our bodies and minds give out on us. They can’t withstand the sheer amount of pressure, the extreme stress, the colossal weight of everything we pile on top of them.
When we don’t make time for self-care, we often also engage in other self-defeating habits that harm us and hold us back. We’re dealing with an underlying belief that we don’t deserve happiness or goodness in life. We burden ourselves by believing destructive, limiting beliefs, both about ourselves and about self-care. We see ourselves as unworthy and undeserving of love. We see self-care as a vanity. We use our addictions as our coping mechanisms rather than finding healthy ways to take care of ourselves. We think we don’t deserve to enjoy ourselves, to relax or to have fun, so we deprive ourselves of pleasure in our everyday lives. We never let other people give us gifts. We reject their offers to help us. Sometimes our aversion to self-care is accompanied by a fierce sense of independence that tells us that relying on other people makes us weak or inadequate, so we don’t let people support us, even in small ways.
Self-care is an act of self-love. Oftentimes our addictions are based upon and fueled by our self-hate and insecurity. Why else would we be so adamantly against caring for ourselves? Why else would we prioritize everything and everyone in our lives above our own well-being? Why else would we feel so undeserving of happiness? Many of us are grappling with self-hatred because of the traumas we’ve experienced. We self-identify with the bad things that have happened to us, thinking that we are somehow inadequate and inferior to other people because of them. We stop valuing ourselves. We see ourselves in harsh, self-deprecating ways. We create our self-image out of so much insecurity that it is no longer an accurate reflection of who we truly are. Our self-perception is riddled with self-doubt. We lack confidence in ourselves. We suffer from painfully low self-esteem. We constantly compare ourselves to other people and are filled with envy and competitiveness. Self-care and commitment to healing are the solution.
Self-care is not necessarily going on extravagant vacations, spending a lot of money, or buying ourselves things we can’t afford. Self-care can be as simple as making time for a two-minute meditation practice in the morning before we start our hectic days, or a hot bath before bed. It can be giving yourself permission to read something for enjoyment that is not work-related. It can mean delegating tasks to family members instead of always trying to take everything on ourselves without any help. It can mean hiring a parent’s assistant for those extra busy times or those extra piles of laundry we can never seem to keep up with. It can be hiring a babysitter or taking a friend up on their offer to sit with the kids and letting ourselves have a much-needed date night with our partner.
Everything we do that gives us even a little bit of relaxation, enjoyment or pleasure works wonders for our exhaustion, anxiety and depression, and dangerously high stress levels. We feel rejuvenated, replenished, reenergized and reinvigorated. We feel calmer and more at ease. Every time we spend quality time with ourselves, where we are focused on just being with ourselves rather than accomplishing anything, we feel more connected to ourselves and therefore happier and more at peace. Our self-care does not have to make our lives harder or busier. It is not a waste of time. In fact, the more we meditate, for example, the better we’re able to concentrate on any given task, saving us time and effort in the long run. The happier we are, the less stressful our to-do list, the better able we are to cope with the many demands of our lives.
Self-care is healing. It is self-love. It is rebuilding our self-worth. Make time for self-care – your whole life will thank you for it!
At The Beach House, our mission is to provide the resources and environments that help people recover from their addiction and stay on the path of sobriety. Call or Text (310) 564-2761 today for more information.