Nurturing self-love is vitally important during addiction recovery, especially because addiction can leave you with feelings of low self-worth and low self-esteem. Moreover, self-love can give you that boost in motivation you need to change your life for the better. Choosing to love yourself in recovery can be an incredibly hard choice—even a courageous one—but doing so will ultimately help you heal and progress as you navigate the early stages of recovery. Here are some ways that you can find and cultivate self-love in your recovery from addiction.
Practice personal hygiene.
Addiction can take priority in a person’s life to the point that everyday things like showering and brushing teeth seem almost insurmountable. So while it may sound simple, a little self-care in personal hygiene can go a long way. Putting extra care into your personal hygiene can help you break the addiction cycle, and it can help you grow in self-love as you care for yourself.
Eat a well-rounded diet.
You can also consider eating nutritiously a form of self-love. Rather than giving into cravings that will only harm your physical health in the long run, strive to fill your body with the nutrients that it truly needs at this time of healing. A diet that is rich in whole grains, protein, and fruits and vegetables will improve how you feel both physically and psychologically.
There is a reason that yoga is so often promoted as a way to find stronger emotional balance and mental stamina in life. Yoga allows you to spend time drawing your focus away from everyday stresses, and you can use the time you spend meditating to focus on positive thinking. Yoga is also very much about the individual; even in a group setting, you are encouraged to focus on what your body can and can’t do, without comparison to the people around you. Yoga encourages you to embrace yourself for who you are, limitations and all.
Even if you decide that yoga isn’t for you, it’s important to find forms of exercise that you will enjoy doing on a regular basis. Regular exercise can give you a “natural high,” distract you from cravings, and leave you with an increased sense of well-being. Activities like swimming, jogging, weight lifting, and cycling are all great for strengthening the body, and your level of activity can always be tailored to what your body is capable of doing.
Practice positive affirmation.
Addiction also has a way of stirring up negative emotions and negative self-talk. Positive affirmations can help you see the reality behind those lies that addiction has been telling you. There are a number of ways you can practice positive affirmation; you might write a list of your strengths and positive qualities in a journal, say positive things about yourself in a mirror, or repeat a positive thought as you meditate. When you do catch yourself thinking or vocalizing a negative thought about yourself, try reshaping it as a positive thought. If the thought was, “I am bad at coping with stress,” for example, you might instead say, “I am learning how to cope with stress as I progress through recovery.”