The Importance of Self-Care for Families of Those Struggling with Addiction

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The Importance of Self-Care for Families of Those Struggling with Addiction

Having someone you love struggle with addiction is an incredibly difficult and painful experience. It is all the more difficult when that individual denies having a problem or refuses to get help. Family members may blame themselves or feel responsible for their loved one’s addiction. This is where the importance of self-care comes in.

Family members often devote lots of their time and energy to worrying about this individual and trying to convince them to get help. Over time, going through this can take a major toll on your mental health. It can lead to problems like anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. You may begin to feel a sense of hopelessness and dread.

Self-care can help combat each of these problems.

What the Importance of Self-Care Means

Some people have a skewed understanding of what self-care means. They hear the word “self” and immediately think selfish. But in reality, self-care is the opposite of being selfish. It is essentially doing whatever you need to do to care for your mental, emotional, and physical well-being.

Consider being on a flight and some sort of problem with the plane occurs. You will notice that the stewardesses will first put their own oxygen masks on before going around and helping others to put theirs on. They are not doing this to be selfish. Rather, they know that if they do not put their own mask on first, they may become physically unable to help others do the same.

It’s the same for caregivers or anyone who has a family member struggling with addiction. If you don’t learn to properly care for yourself, you won’t be able to care for the person who needs you – at least not to the best of your ability. It would be like trying to pour from a glass that is already empty.

Finding Out What Self-Care Looks Like to You

Self-care can be a little different depending on who you ask. The key is finding out what works most effectively for you and fits your needs. It’s important to start with the basics and go from there.

Regarding the importance of self-care, the basics involve doing what you need to do on a regular basis for good physical health. This includes getting enough sleep every night, eating nutritious meals each day, and staying hydrated. It also means making sure to fit some sort of physical exercise into your daily life. Exercise can actually really help with stress and make you feel better overall.

Practicing self-care also involves not canceling or postponing appointments that are important for your mental or physical health. For example, consider if you have a doctor’s appointment or therapy session coming up and then something happens with your loved one. Maybe they got into some sort of trouble or need a favor from you. If at all possible, it is important that you make your appointment first.

What Type of Self-Care Works for You?

The other aspect of self-care that is important to consider is what sort of activities rejuvenate you and make you happy. No matter how busy things get, it is important to continue to make time for those activities. This can help you protect your mental health and avoid burnout.

Self-Care Activities

Maybe your form of self-care is playing your favorite sport, creating art, or listening to music. Or maybe your form of self-care could be asking for help when you’re feeling overwhelmed or spending some time alone. Some other ideas of great self-care options include:

  • Reading a book
  • Watching your favorite television show
  • Spending some time out in nature
  • Taking a walk
  • Going to an exercise class
  • Practicing yoga or some other form of meditation
  • Journaling
  • Spending quality time with a loved one
  • Cooking a healthy meal for yourself
  • Taking a bike ride

Learning When It Is Time to Take a Step Back

You may reach a point in time when you’re feeling really drained and burnt out with the situation with your loved one. Maybe it has caused you a lot of stress and you feel like your pleas for them to get help are being ignored. If you’re feeling this way, it may mean that it is time for you to take a step back from the situation. This may mean putting some distance between yourself and your loved one so that you can focus on your own needs.

This isn’t a selfish thing to do and it doesn’t mean that you’ve given up on your loved one or lost hope that they can recover. It just means that you have to put yourself first for a while and need some time and space to do this. This can give you a chance to recharge and practice more self-care. You may even get a different perspective on the situation during your time away. It can really make all the difference.

You can’t help others unless you help yourself first. This is an important message that all of those who have family members struggling with addiction must learn. You have to take care of your own needs – mentally, physically, and emotionally. At the end of the day, only the person struggling can make the decision to get sober. You can not force them to make this decision. At The Kimberly Center, we have helped countless people take their lives back from addiction. If you or one of your loved ones is struggling with substance use disorder, we can help. Call our team at (855) 452-3683 today to learn more about our services.

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