Self-care and emotional support are terms that are often thrown around when it comes to recovery, healing, or any aspect on the spectrum of mental health. Understanding these terms becomes paramount in each of the processes and internalizing their purpose and practice can help smooth out the recovery process to however smooth it can realistically be. By defining emotional support and self-care and putting them into practice, together they create the framework for which recovery and healing as a whole can finally take place.
First, self-care. While it is easy enough to define this as “taking care of one’s self” (and that wouldn’t be technically wrong), what is important is the connotation that those two similar terms occupy. Taking care of one’s self can be seen as anything, such as eating healthy and putting on a mask if required to go into public. Self-care, then, takes on a more mental, internal, personal approach to the world at large and all the stresses that it contains. Self-care is about being able to step back, prioritizing happiness and kinship, a designed detachment from stresses, and most importantly: time.
Time to be one’s self without denying that which one wants to do from day to day; time to combat stresses by counter-measuring them with relieving activities; time to embrace and remind oneself of both sides of life — the stressful and anxiety-driven, as well as the relaxing and personal success, enjoyment, and freedom that in total make up both sides of the coin.
Emotional support, by definition, involves the presence of others. Both receiving and supplying emotional support are the basis by which relationships of all kinds are birthed and nurtured. Emotional support is experiencing empathy for another, providing a true, listening and internalizing ear to problems; even just daily stresses. Overall, emotional support is the instinct one feels when they are genuinely compassionate about another person and their well-being.
It is listening and understanding, the desire to distract someone else from their stressors while proving you know them well, and most importantly — it involves the forgiveness of a change in personality when times are rough, regardless of the source or reason. Emotional support means knowing your loved one is still themselves, even when acting against their own better judgement. It involves an intimate knowledge and understanding of another person.
The ability to know someone on a deep level and to experience the compassion required for emotional support is a unique aspect of being a human being. Self-care and emotional support are wholly intended to go hand in hand, as both serve a similar purpose in the healing process and in our daily lives. They provide the ability to detach and feel better about oneself without fear of judgement or social detriment. Self-care involves an internal acceptance of yourself, and emotional support provides the external other half of the same thing.
Together, creating one of the most important things for people — a community. This compassion that we experience is our minds telling us that this community is not just something we want, but according to Maslow’s pyramid, it’s a basic human need. People are communal beings, and isolation and solitude on an emotional level are primary gateways to a myriad of mental health issues and substance abuse issues.
Addressing both of these aspects on a regular basis is important, not just when someone is calling out for help, but in a daily sense. Sometimes, both of these things come very naturally to the point that we are not even aware that we are performing these tasks. Taking a break to get a cup of coffee before tackling the rest of a mountain of paperwork can be a form of self-care.
Getting a roommate’s favorite soda for them on the week’s grocery trip? That can be emotional support. However, when someone is suffering from an addiction or mental illness, these concepts can begin to be pushed out to make room for anxiety, depression, or alcohol and/or drugs to take center stage.
“Forgiveness of a change in personality,” as mentioned above, is quite possibly the most difficult, but also most powerful. The act of forgiveness is the penultimate display of compassion and love that one can give, regardless of the kind of relationship in question. As addiction or mental health begin to tear at the mind of the afflicted individual, their basic need for that support grows exponentially with their suffering.
The sense of community listed as a basic need for humans by Maslow can be a difficult thing to come across, but help in recovering from addiction and various associated issues is available. Creating a community of loved ones can aid in the process, but The Kimberly Center is ready to create that community from a professional standpoint. Offering a variety of treatment programs, such as sober living, outpatient, intensive outpatient, and ongoing care, our “do no harm” approach to addiction recovery ensures that emotional support and self-care are always on the front lines in the recovery process. The Kimberly Center is available through all stages of recovery and we adapt treatment to fit each individual’s needs, ultimately leading to a happier, healthier life. Contact us today at (855) 452-3683 to learn more about our holistic approach and how it can help.