Breaking Bad Habits: 5 Self-Care Tips for Men in Addiction Recovery
There’s a commonly accepted myth that self-care is exclusively for women. However, needing taking time to check-in and tend to your needs isn’t feminine or masculine. It is human. In fact, engaging in self-care is an essential action step for many looking to improve their mental and physical wellbeing. Practicing mindfulness and establishing a routine are critical parts of improving self, especially for men struggling to form healthy habits.
Unhealthy behaviors are easy to fall prey to, especially if you’re prone to self-indulging. Poor dietary habits, physical inactivity, and substance abuse are common plights setting men back in their day-to-day lives. In particular, men facing addiction and subsequent recovery are prone to poor mental and physical health, which means self-care is critical in overcoming substance abuse and reforming healthy habits.
Unfortunately, men struggling with substance abuse are less likely than women to seek help, process and express their emotions, and connect with others for support. Men are also more likely to relapse, which means self-care will be a critical resource when evading triggers and temptations. When you’re kind and caring with yourself, you’re less likely to engage in risky behavior and more likely to return to recovery after falling away.
Mindfulness is the practice of being present, aware, and grounded to recognize your thoughts and emotions in the current moment. For men who have repressed their feelings or unworked trauma, mindfulness allows them to process challenging emotions and explore feelings judgment-free. Grounding yourself in the moment and accepting emotions that pass through is a way to continue moving forward and process sensations associated with addiction.
Establish A Routine
A consistent routine can provide a sense of control and stability, both critical in addiction recovery. By establishing daily patterns and tasks, you can ease stress and anxiety, accomplish daily tasks, and evade temptation. Too much free, unstructured time can lead to boredom and relapse of unhealthy or risky behaviors, especially in isolation. Even when you feel the recovery process is behind you, a dependable routine compatible with your body’s natural rhythm will help you function and improve your overall wellbeing.
Connect With Others
Norms around masculinity have led men to bottle up their emotions and isolate themselves from others, causing them to form unhealthy coping mechanisms, like substance abuse and emotional outbursts. As a result, suicide rates for males are significantly higher than females, and mental health complications ravage men globally.
However, one of the simplest and most effective ways to seek emotional support is reaching out to friends and family. In some cases, you may need to find a new circle of peers committed to sobriety. However, engaging with a strong support network of loved ones will improve self-esteem and keep you motivated and optimistic about recovery.
Set Boundaries And Stick To Them
Addiction recovery requires boundary setting to avoid triggers and setbacks in your progress. Let your non-sober friends know you’ve committed to sobriety and plan to steer clear of people who heavily use substances. Adhering to your boundaries will keep you moving forward on the path of recovery and lead to new relationships with other like-minded people dedicated to sobriety.
It’s not uncommon to hear active people say they achieve a high when exercising due to the release of feel-good, stress-relieving endorphins that come with moving your body. When negative emotions run high during recovery, regular exercise is essential for improving mental health and continuing sobriety. Being physically active allows you to see your progress and boost your sense of self-worth.
Whether you wish to train for a marathon or go on neighborhood walks, regularly getting your heart rate up is essential to living a healthier and more fulfilling life and staying on the path to recovery.
Although recovery is a challenging process, no matter how you spin it, there are ways to decrease uncomfortable feelings, adverse reactions, and periods of doubt. By engaging in consistent self-care and sticking to a routine, you’ll be out of recovery and on your way to life-long sobriety.
- Written by James Hills
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