Contrary to what some believe, self-love does not equate to selfishness. In fact, learning to love oneself is often a way to counter just that. After all, before you can fully love others, you must first learn how to fully love yourself.
In the midst of active addiction, love of self is typically completely lacking. The reasons may vary, but the reality is always the same—it is one of chronic self-sabotage. In other words, active addiction is a means of self-destruction, the exact opposite of self-love.
For these individuals, seeking help is the first and most vital step, and must be taken before making any other advances in self-preservation.
But, as we know, the journey doesn’t end there.
It is important for those in recovery to continue practicing self-love throughout their journey. This is key in preventing relapses, maintaining successful relationships and sustaining overall holistic health. And, as with everything in recovery, this is a practice that we can employ one day at a time.
Start loving yourself today with these 5 tips.
1. Get some rest.
Your physical, emotional, psychological and spiritual health all rely on rest, and plenty of it. Make sure you get a good night’s sleep (ideally 8 hours) or find time to nap in an effort to compensate for any sleep lost due to situations out of your control. Finding ways to relax—like taking a hot bath, going for a walk, or yoga and meditation—can also help contribute to a restful mind and body.
2. Take time for mental health.
Whether you can afford to take the day off completely—no school, no work, no appointments of any kind—and enjoy a mental health day, or simply find an hour to devote to doing nothing, it is completely necessary to take time to just let your mind unwind. Zoning out to music, watching a favorite movie or reading a book are all great options for “vegging out” and giving yourself a break from the stressors of everyday life.
3. Move around.
Exercise gets the blood flowing, stagnant energy moving and endorphins kicking in—all of which are vital to overall wellness. It keeps you physically healthy and typically makes you feel better about yourself, all while relieving stress and promoting relaxation. Additionally, exercise prevents and effectively helps reduce depression and provides a great distraction when and if cravings become an issue.
However, as with anything else, too much of a good thing is a bad thing. Distraction is a temporary fix, not a permanent solution, and so it’s important to remember that the purpose of exercising is to maintain holistic health as a practice of self-love, not self-destruction. If you’re reasoning is based on self-loathing or insecurities, be sure to address this with a helping professional. Exercise bulimia is a dangerous reality and should not be taken lightly.
4. Feed your body and mind.
Healthy food is vital for quality of life. Make time to prepare or have a healthy meal, at least three times a day, with healthy snacks throughout the day to maintain good physical and mental health.
Keep in mind that food for thought is also necessary, especially in regards to recovery. Employing daily affirmations, positive quotes and so on at the start or end of the day is a great way to feed the mind and nurture your inner self.
5. Be quiet.
Quiet time is something we needed as children, and that does not change when we become adults. Being quiet means turning off all background noise—no TV, radio, computer, video games. Nothing. Complete silence. Whether you choose to embrace the silence through the practice of meditation at a local yoga studio or decide to do so by simply sitting still in the environment of your own home, finding ways to press the mute button offers opportunities to sit with, face and lovingly embrace yourself.
All of these tips above don’t require too much effort. Sleeping and eating is something we are already doing, so employing the proper amount and method should be simple enough. However, if you’re feeling some internal resistance, that is rather normal. If self-love came naturally to us, addiction would have never been an issue.
Self-love is generally something we have to teach ourselves as adults. It requires us to be our own best parent—setting boundaries and instilling norms and expectations that we don’t always initially like. However, our need for self-love is a reality and one that you will find gets easier and more fulfilling as you move along.