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Prerequisites for Self-Care 101

Self-care is something that’s always talked about but rarely do people actually apply it to their lives. This journey of life has a lot of blind twists and turns and knowing that all you have to do is look back in your life and you can know exactly what I’m talking about. Knowing that it’s safe to say that you can predict that the future will have very similar obstacles and challenges. Now if you’re coming from a place that you’re dealing with of yourself or someone else’s addictions, mental illness, traumas, past traumas, current traumas or any type of grief and loss, not only is self-care something that is needed but I would go so far to say that it is required for your survival. And I’m not just saying like life and death stuff – sometimes it is life and death – but I’m talking about survival and sanity, the ability to navigate through those tough times. And the more you’ve experienced them, the more self-care is needed. 


Before you create a regimen of self-care for yourself, there are some basic prerequisites you may want to take a look at.

1. Identify What Your Needs Are

When dealing with self-care you have to identify what your needs are and the best way I can explain something like this is you want to look at your total well-being. What is our total well-being? It’s our body, it’s our emotions, it’s our mind, it’s our thoughts, and you want to look inward and do some type of an assessment, some type of a diagnosis. For example, if you take your car to a garage or the mechanic’s shop right before they take all our money they do like a diagnostic check and in that diagnostic check they’re going to find out what’s right, what’s wrong, lights, that kind of stuff and then they can tell you what the plan of action is. See, without the diagnostic test you don’t know what you got to work on. 


So this evaluation to identify your needs is kind of like a self-imposed diagnostic check. So you want to look at your physical body, you want to look at what hurts, what doesn’t hurt, you want to look at the inside of your body, like your bloodwork, you want to look at your physical appearance of your body, you want to take a look at all this stuff and just see what’s right, what’s wrong, what needs a little bit more attention, what type of engine lights are on, just for identification purposes. 


You want to do the same for your emotions – you want to see how you’re processing emotions, what kind of emotions you have, are they primarily depressed, are they primarily anxious, are they primarily sad, are they primarily full of fear, you want to identify those emotions. Then you want to look at your thought processes – do you ruminate on thoughts, are you obsessed about a certain thing, are you having just negative pessimistic thoughts, are you just having surface level thoughts, and the whole point of identification of all that, the whole point of assessing all that is to see what needs to be addressed. And you’ll see when you’re doing self-care, because without it where do you start? And some of you might say it’s all of it, man, I need all of that. Well, that just shows you got a lot of self-care to do. It just shows that that’s where you are and that’s okay. There’s nothing wrong with saying “I checked 37 boxes.” You got 37 boxes to work on and the beauty of it is we don’t have to work on all of them at the same time.

2. Make Time For Yourself

The first thing that people tell me when talking about self-care and going through all the different things I’m going to talk about is, “I don’t have time for that. I gotta wake up, I got kids to deal with, I got work to deal with, I have errands to run, I have family members to go visit, I don’t have time for self-care, I don’t buy that, I don’t believe that, and I can’t cosign that.” Are there some days that we objectively have a hard time finding time because it’s just a one-off day or a two-off day that just everything’s slammed? Yes, that can happen – if that’s happening all the time you are just not prioritizing yourself. You are saying yes to way too many things, you’re agreeing to do way too many things at your own cost. 


All human beings, the homeless gentleman or woman that’s walking in the street right now, and the billionaire on top of some billion dollar mountain, they both got 24 hours in a day. And if you think that billionaire on a billion dollar mountain has a lot of free time you’re out of your mind – those people are the busiest people on this planet.

Time is not this thing that some people have more and you have less of. Time is a straight prioritization thing. It’s a straight prioritization thing you create, you carve, you develop pockets of time to make for yourself, to implement self-care.

And the more I talk about this the more you’re going to realize that I’m not asking for hours a day. I might be asking for 30 minutes in the daytime, 30 minutes at nighttime. If you can’t carve that for yourself you’re not trying because I promise you, if you sat down and really hour by hour wrote down your day, hour by hour, not in just one of your days – an entire week including the weekends – you will be very very shocked and surprised of how much time is actually available for self-care. Now what happens is people say, “Oh but I did so much. I’m so tired. I just need to unwind.” Now you know so many people spend so much of their time just unwinding when we really got to recharge. And don’t get me wrong we’ll talk about unwinding – there’s a time and place for it but it’s not the primary self-care tactic – it’s one of the self-care tactics.

3. Prioritize Your Sleep

Adults are so obsessed with the sleeping patterns of their children – I mean infants just run your world, they do whatever the hell they want to do, right? So we’re not talking about infants but when kids get a little bit older parents are so obsessed with bedtime they’re just like if they don’t sleep they’re going to be little monsters. If they don’t sleep they’re gonna be tired in the morning, they have to sleep at this time. Adults are obsessed about the sleeping times of children until they become adults themselves. Then you’re just like, “Nah it’s okay, I could just watch that next show. I could just go to sleep a couple hours later, I can just make up for it in the morning with an extra few shots of espresso in my coffee. We are no different than children. 


I used to struggle with this years ago because of workaholism. I would go to sleep routinely around 12 o’clock in the morning and wake up around five, 6 o’clock every single day, and it was just because I couldn’t stop working and couldn’t stop learning and going to school and doing all that kind of stuff. I grew out of that in the past couple years and sleep is so important. I mean I got like a tracker that makes sure that I’m sleeping optimized and I look at my sleep scores and I look at all that kind of stuff because the sharper I am in the daytime is a direct result of the type of rest I got the night before. And it’s not just one for one every night – it’s the same way sometimes you can sleep well and still be tired the next day because of life, but over the course of 365 days you’ll have way more productive days if you actually sleep. 


Why is this even more important for people like you that are going through first hand or second hand the addiction or the mental illness or the grief and loss and all that kind of stuff? Because your sleep is seriously disrupted. The quality of sleep you have is disrupted, the type of sleep you have is disrupted. I mean, how many parents sleep with a phone on their chest because they’re waiting for the ambulance to call and say they got their kid overdosed? A lot of people. It’s kind of like if your sleep has been disrupted for so many years because of addiction – it’s the equivalent of someone going into an ER room with just shattered legs and femurs and all that kind of stuff from a motorcycle accident. And the doctor says your recovery is going to take six months – eight months – a year – you can’t walk for this amount of time, like it’s so severe because the fractures are so much, the rest deficiency in a lot of family members is so severe because the poor quality of sleep that you’ve gotten for so many years that you have to sleep. And you’re like what if I sleep and something happens? I don’t know, I can’t promise that for you and if it does I’m sorry, but if it doesn’t at least you start to get some rest back, and it’s your responsibility to do so. 


I know a lot of people have hard time sleeping and they’re like “I’ve always had a hard time sleeping and the reason is they go back to their childhood and they come from dysfunctional homes and chaotic homes and people yelling and screaming, all that kind of stuff like that and they couldn’t sleep, and they’ve never addressed it all and now they just think they’re a person that can’t sleep. All these things have root causes. Sometimes people stress so much – they’re worriers – they think about the future, the future, the future, the future. They lay in bed and they can’t sleep. There’s ways to combat all that stuff.

Call Buckeye Recovery Today!

Are you in recovery but not making progress? Recovery is not only possible but attainable, and it all begins with reaching out for assistance. By addressing both addiction and mental health issues, individuals can break free from the cycle of despair and embark on a path to a healthier, more fulfilling life. Contact Buckeye Recovery Network today and initiate your journey to recovery and improved mental health. Our dedicated team of professionals is here to guide and support you every step of the way.

Today is going to be the best day of your life.

Kelsey Gearhart

Director of Business Development

Kelsey carries multiple years of experience working in the substance abuse and mental health treatment field. Her passion for this field comes from her personally knowing recovery from addiction.

Prior to Buckeye she held titles of Recovery Coach, Operations Director, and Admissions Director. Kelsey was brought on at Buckeye Recovery as the Director of Business Development. She has a passion for ensuring every individual gets the help that they need, and does so by developing relationships with other providers.

Kelsey also oversees our women’s sober living environments – The Chadwick House for Women. She is committed to creating a safe, nurturing, and conducive environment for all women that walk through the doors of Chadwick.