First Step Rehab | 3 Ways to Start a Self-Care Routine

Last Updated: Dec 31st 2019

Reviewed by Brittany Polansky

We often times hear about the importance of self-care. There’s an enormous amount of resources out there such as self-help books, online communities, and articles just like this made to help you get out of a rut and live a more fulfilling life. Before starting a rehab program, it is important to invest some time into yourself. In other words, think about creating your own little self-help rehab. Keep reading to find out more about how you can incorporate healthy habits into your routine to improve your life.

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Starting With Self-Help

Self-help, also known as self-care, is any activity that we do intentionally in order to take care of our mental, emotional, and physical health. It sounds fairly simple, but it is often times overlooked. The importance of self-help goes far beyond just having a daily healthy routine. Good self-help is also key to improved mood and reduced anxiety. It’s also a major part of your ability to maintain healthy relationships. If you don’t treat yourself with love, you won’t be able to treat others with love.

However, when you focus on yourself what emerges is a person who is visibly vibrant and healthy. From this state of mind and being, relationships thrive, health is improved, life becomes more fulfilling and much more. Whether you’re seeking help for a mental health disorder or addiction, you must start with a foundation of your own “self-help rehab”. In other words, this post is dedicated to you. This is all about you and what you need to develop healthy habits that carry on into tomorrow.

By taking care of yourself, you are building the base of the house. You can decorate the interior all you want, but without a solid structure – the house is going to fall apart. Humans are the same way. We need to nurture ourselves before bringing others in. The ripple effect of this type of action, no matter how small or large, positively impacts your life immensely.

Benefits of Self-Help

If we’re already depleted by physical and emotional exhaustion, it’s much harder for us to tackle any additional stress.  Carving out time to focus on our well being sets us up for resilience. This is why it’s so important for us to create our own self-help rehab.

Taking time out to maintain self-care has several benefits:

  • It Affects Your Physical Health

Self-help can mean making it a habit to go on a brisk walk for 20 minutes a day or get a massage once a month. It could also mean cooking a healthy meal for yourself everyday. All of these actions have something in common: they’re good for you. Benefits could include anything from losing weight to physically feeling more energized. 

  • It Affects Your Emotional Health

Taking time out to care for yourself can remind you and others that you and your needs are important, too. Our emotional state is directly affected by the way we treat our bodies.

  • It Makes You a Better Friend, Spouse, Etc.

People who neglect their own needs and forget to nurture themselves put themselves at risk for deeper levels of unhappiness, low self-esteem, and feelings of resentment.

In addition, sometimes people who spend their time solely taking care of others can be at risk of getting burned out on all the giving, which makes it harder to care for others or themselves. Taking time to care for yourself regularly can make you a better caretaker for others.

  • It Gives You a Break from Stress

Your own version of self-help rehab gives you a mental vacation away from any stress you may be feeling. More often than not, you’ll find yourself to be in a much clearer headspace after.

In other words, it triggers your relaxation response and allows you to come back to your day-to-day  feeling refreshed and relaxed.

  • It Gives You “You” Time

While  people have varying degrees of introversion and extroversion, having some time alone is important for most people’s mental and emotional functioning.

When you’re relaxing on your own, it’s much easier to slip into a state of quiet meditation, enjoy some self-reflection, or let your problems work themselves out in the back of your mind, all while focusing on something more relaxing. 

To get from where you’re at now to where you want to be may seem a little overwhelming at first. We assure you that partaking in your own self- help rehab is a patient, loving process. Even small incremental changes build up over time and can create a lasting impact.

Goal-Setting

It all begins with coming up with a clear-set goal. You may be in a position where you’re a little confused on where to start or maybe you can vividly imagine what you would like your life to look like and how you’d like to feel. This segways into the next point: start by asking yourself how you want to feel. 

To help with this exercise use your five senses to imagine what this looks like for you. Really put yourself into that moment. Envision the things that would make you happy whether that be being healthy and fit or having long-lasting friendships – even better, dream big! Think about the different areas of your life and what you’d like to experience in each one.

Once you become clear on your goal or goals (changing your job, feeling more energized, finding a partner, eating more nutritious foods) make sure you have it written out and it also helps to acknowledge the reason why you want to achieve this. 

Self-Care Practices

Now it’s time to ask yourself a very important question. What self-care practices do you need to incorporate into your life that will help you achieve your goal? This is the fun part. Now, you get to think of all the creative ways you can incorporate new, healthy habits into your life. In ancient forms of medicine, any illness or discontentment is an indication of disharmony within the body, mind, and spirit. 

If you’re not treating your body well through food and exercise, your mental state will suffer. And if you’re mentally in a painful place, you put your body at risk by creating stress in your life. You learn to respond well to adversity and change when you nourish these different aspects of yourself. Here are some ideas of self-help practices for each expression:

Mind

  • Turn off and get away from technology for a few hours a day
  • Read a self-help book
  • Try meditation 
  • Start a new hobby
  • Surround yourself with good, interesting people
  • Go outside and be in nature

Body

  • Wake up earlier
  • Take a warm bath
  • Get a massage
  • Exercise
  • Start cooking healthy meals

Spirit

  • Laugh more
  • Go outside and be in nature
  • Create a list of what you’re grateful for
  • Find a mentor that you admire
  • Journal and keep track of your thoughts
  • Start partaking in random acts of kindness

Choose one or two from each expression; it can be something more related to your goal as well. Feel free to browse online for more ideas. Start with something fairly simple. If you overwhelm yourself at the start, you may feel a little discouraged.    

Ensuring Success

Think about finding someone to hold you accountable. It can be a friend, coworker or family member who will check-in with you to see how you are doing with your progress. Left to our own devices, it’s easy to let self-care practices fall to the wayside. However, if you have someone to hold you accountable, it’s easier to stick to the commitment you made and why.

Another helpful tip is to put everything into a calendar. Every night, plan out your schedule or simply review it for the next day. This should take a few quick minutes and it helps to mentally start preparing yourself for a good day, full of purpose.

Patience & Adaptability are Key

When thinking about all the changes you have to make in order to make your makeshift self-help rehab work, you may feel a little intimidated. Remember, it’s about the journey just as much as the end result. You may start a hobby you realize you don’t really like or maybe you’ll realize that you’re going to need to change the timing around in your new routine…That’s okay!

It’s really important to be patient with yourself and not give up when you miss a habit or get frustrated. Some days, weeks, months you’re going to feel better than you ever have. Then you may experience a setback because that’s life. However, the setbacks teach your enormously valuable lessons. They give you a different perspective on things and remind you to practice gratitude regardless of the situations in your life.

If you’re experiencing a bump in the road, whether that be because of a mental health condition or addiction, begin with some self-help rehab. Then let us guide you through the rest. We would love to be the ones to help you or a loved one on the road to betterment. Don’t hesitate to call us at (866) 319-6126 or contact us here.

Reviewed for Medical & Clinical Accuracy by Brittany Polansky

Brittany PolanskyBrittany has been working in behavioral health since 2012 and is a Primary Clinician at our facility. She is an LCSW and holds a master’s degree in social work. She has great experience with chemical dependency and co-occurring mental health diagnoses as well as various therapeutic techniques. Brittany is passionate about treating all clients with dignity and respect, and providing a safe environment where clients can begin their healing journey in recovery.