If you are one of the many individuals who has participated in a 12-Step program, you may be familiar with the phrase, “Just for Today.” Many times in early sobriety, we can only commit to staying sober for the next hour. That hour builds into a habit, and then, many times, we can commit to staying sober for the next 24 hours. We take our sobriety one hour, one 24-hour period at a time, slowly and carefully reconstructing a life worth living.
Self-care is a recovery habit that we may struggle with at particularly stressful points in our life. In these times, it is essential to prioritize our self-care, even if it is only for this hour. By choosing to focus on just one act of self-care, just for today, we can slowly and carefully build a self-care practice that aids our long-term sobriety.
“Just for Today”
The phrase “Just for Today” can be applied to numerous aspects of your life outside of sobriety, and that is one of the beautiful benefits of living the 12 Steps. In taking a “Just for Today” approach to self-care – committing to one act of self-care during the next 24-hour period – we allow ourselves to work with more manageable pieces. The small bits and pieces of self-care accumulate, day after day, and in due time we are left with a manageable self-care routine that supports our sober lifestyle.
Know Your Self-Care
When self-care is spoken of, it’s common to only scratch the surface of the types of self-care available. Most commonly, we think of the obvious:
- Physical: like taking a shower and brushing your teeth
- Mental: such as talking to a therapist or friend
While those are two necessary parts of care in our lives, if we are only filling our physical and mental cups our wells will eventually run dry. If we are to maintain a sober living life, we must look at all areas of our self-care with honesty and compassion. Have you been neglecting your emotional, sensory, and spiritual needs?
Those seemingly small but important areas of our health commonly take a backseat in our busy lives. But, in giving ourselves one act of self-care, just for today, we can begin to realign ourselves.
Five Areas of Self-Care
With more and more people choosing to work at home post-pandemic, we must be proactive about getting up and stretching our bodies. Setting a timer to stretch or take walking breaks throughout the day can not only benefit your physical health but your mental and emotional too. Taking a walk in the evenings outside (weather permitting) and ensuring an adequate bedtime are both beneficial and beginner friendly.
Take a “brain break” at work or school to doodle, work on a word puzzle or listen to a meditation. Try putting technology on airplane mode for a designated period of time (ensure to alert caregivers or loved ones if they are used to being able to contact you at all times that this is time allotted for your self-care). If you need to process and problem-solve, make sure to do so with a therapist or safe loved one.
See if you can connect with your inner child or adolescent through finger painting or playing at a park. Journaling is a wonderful way to provide space for your emotions. If you aren’t comfortable free-writing, there are guided journals available in bookstores and online. Guided journals are wonderful for beginners but also for seasoned writers who wish to dive deeper.
A change of environment or scenery (especially if you work indoors or go to school) can positively impact your mood. Deep compression with a weighted blanket is beneficial in easing anxiety, and dimming the lights can provide eye relief.
Connecting and interacting with your Higher Power can help you in staying grounded in this present moment. Attending service, synagogue, or group and allowing quiet moments to listen to your inner voice are a few ways we can care for our spiritual needs.
While this isn’t an extensive list of all the different ways we can care for ourselves, try to find one or two you can commit to trying, just for today. In order for our self-care to be considered well-balanced, we must include an aspect of care for each of our needs. If not, we may find ourselves unbalanced, unfulfilled, and eventually, burnout.
“Okay, but what if I am already burnout? Then what?”
If you find yourself close to burnout, or already toasting at the edges, it is important to acknowledge that you are not alone. In fact, the majority of people have been in your shoes! We aren’t commonly taught how to address our self-care needs growing up. And, as we journey through the ups and downs of life, we may find that our self-care needs change. While this can be frustrating, try to see it as an opportunity to get to know yourself better. This is a naturally occurring way to explore the various self-care activities.
When you are burnout, often it feels like no one and nothing can help you. That is because the only person who can help you end burnout, and prevent it, is you.
The weight of feeling overwhelmed, responsibilities, sobriety, friends, family, and this crazy beautiful thing we call life – can be too much at times. However, when you do not know what to do, you can always go back to basics – “What can I do?”
Just For Today, I Can…
By slowing down and asking yourself what you need to do to care for yourself just for today, you are gifting yourself the highest form of self-care. Every day may look different at first. That is perfectly acceptable, as it takes some time to figure out a self-care routine that is of utmost benefit to you.
A well-rounded self-care practice begins with a single mindful decision every 24 hours. With one positive action after the next, we slowly accumulate a sober and fulfilling life rooted in caring for ourselves. As easily as we are committed to waking up every day and staying sober “Just for Today”, we can awaken with the commitment of one act of self-care “Just for Today”. You’ve already made the commitment to living out the 12-Steps. Are you ready to make the commitment to self-care? Managing burnout on your own can be difficult at times, especially when you are juggling sobriety. Destiny Recovery Center is here to help. Give us a call today at (909) 413-4304.