Self-Care in Recovery
Being a sober mom is my greatest blessing, and it can also be my most challenging endeavor.
In all my years of motherhood, not once did I hear my children say, “Hey, Mom, why don’t you sit down and relax? Let me bring you a cup of tea!” Nor did Mary Poppins or Alice from The Brady Bunch ever appear at the door to help out.
The following are some quick self-care life saving tools I learned, which allowed me to take care of myself so I could take care of my kids.
- Most of our “To Do” lists are actually a list so long it would take five women to complete! Here is a solution: Take a sheet of paper and draw a line vertically down the middle to make two columns. On the left side, write: “For Me to Do Today”. On the right side write: “God to Do for Me Today”. Now, only the most necessary items—those that have to be done today or people will die—go in your “For Me” column. Everything else has to go in God’s column. You will notice that the items in God’s column frequently get done in ways you could never have imagined.
- Learn to laugh and try not to take life so serious. Watch some comedy, read funny books, hang out with funny people, get together with some girlfriends, and laugh until your belly hurts.
- Make a list of five things that rejuvenate your spirit. For me, it was bubble baths. Sometimes the day seemed so unbearable that I took what I call a “Double-Bubble Day”—two baths in one day. Continue doing this until it becomes a habit and a part of your regular routine.
- Find a creative outlet. At first I had no idea what I could even do creatively, but I asked myself what I had liked to do as a child. I remembered I enjoyed painting, dancing, and writing, so I started with those activities.
- Shake your booty and get out of the house to exercise. It’s no secret that exercise benefits the body and sharpens the mind. It relieves stress and helps to sweat toxins out of the body. Even short walks can relieve stress very quickly.
- Eat three healthy meals a day with two small high protein snacks in between. Chowing down a granola bar and a cup of coffee does not constitute a meal.
- Beg a friend to take your kids for an hour, and then move. Just kidding about moving, but perhaps you can get a babysitter or trade babysitting with a trusted friend.
- NAP, NAP, NAP—YES YOU CAN! The 20-minute nap became a lifesaver for me. (Thank you, Mom, for teaching me the art of napping!)
- Prayer and meditation. For some, this is difficult, so to make it simple I suggest you find a place where you feel peace. Maybe it’s at a church, in nature, or at a Twelve Step meeting.
All of this self-care was vital to my sanity and helped me be a mother who was present and loving towards my children. Taking care of myself was the key to not drinking one moment at a time.
Overall I have learned that radical self-care means treating myself with the utmost respect, compassion, and love. Most importantly, I learned I am a work in progress, and I thank God for the recovery slogan: “Progress, not perfection”.
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