Self-Care Strategies for Family Members of Those in Addiction Recovery

When someone is immersed in addiction recovery, it’s common for their support system, especially spouses and close family, to overlook their own well-being. Yet self-care for these individuals is crucial.

If you are supporting a loved one through rehab, follow these practical self-care tips to ensure you have the strength, resilience, and emotional space needed to be a stable pillar of support.

Maintain a Good Diet

Often the first casualty of a time-pressed schedule is a good diet. With so much of your time and attention focused on your loved one’s recovery, you might be taking the path of least resistance by pulling into fast-food drive-throughs, eating junk food, or skipping meals altogether.

Rather than letting your diet suffer, establish a few good habits to ensure that you are eating well. Begin your day by eating a healthy breakfast. Stock your fridge with ready-to-eat options like fruit, vegetables, and yogurt so you can grab something healthy while you’re on the go. Avoid processed foods like chips, deli meats, and sweetened breakfast cereals since they’re full of preservatives, sodium, and added sugars that can zap your energy and adversely affect your health.

Take Time for Exercise

Like a healthy diet, regular exercise often falls by the wayside when families are preoccupied by a loved one’s recovery. However, the physical and mental health benefits of exercise are too important to brush off. Multiple health experts report that exercise releases endorphins that give you more energy and put you in a better frame of mind. Even devoting just 30 minutes a day to physical activity can make a huge difference in maintaining your health.

Fortunately for time-strapped people, exercise can easily be combined with other activities. For instance, listen to a self-help audiobook while you walk or jog in the neighborhood. Catch up on the news or a favorite TV show while you ride your stationary bike. Use part of your lunch break to get in a workout at the gym. Another option is to make exercise a social time. Get together with friends to play golf, tennis, or pickleball. Plan a weekend outing with family to go hiking or bike riding.

Reduce Your Stress

Supporting a loved one through rehab is undeniably a stressful situation. For your own mental health, it’s important that you find ways to reduce your stress. Meditation, yoga, deep breathing exercises, listening to music, or spending time in nature are among the ways you can alleviate stress levels. If you’re keeping up with your daily exercise routine, that, in and of itself, can likewise reduce stress.

Take a Break

Being actively supportive of a loved one in rehab, day after day, can take its toll. That’s why it’s a good idea to take an occasional break so you can focus on your own needs. If your family member is in a quality rehab center like Beachside, rest assured they will be in good hands while you take some time for yourself.

Your break could be something as simple as taking a day to go to the movies, have lunch with a friend, or pamper yourself at a spa. You might even want to take a whole weekend to recharge your batteries. Planning a getaway to a lakeside or mountain retreat can be much-needed respite for you, your children, and other family members.

Ask for Help

With a loved one in rehab, you might be feeling overwhelmed as you juggle work and household responsibilities. You’re doing the shopping, the cleaning, the cooking, the banking, the yard work, and home maintenance. You’re picking up kids from school, taking them to doctor and dentist appointments, helping them with their homework, and so much more.

If you feel you’re reaching a breaking point, remember: You don’t have to go it alone. There are likely people within your network of family or friends who would be happy to lend a hand. You’ll never know unless you ask.

Seek Support

Your loved one is getting the help they need in rehab, but what about you? While your loved one is in rehab, you may be experiencing a variety of emotions, such as stress, anxiety, guilt, shame, or depression. If you need an outlet to talk about those feelings, join a support group for family members affected by addiction. If the support group alone is not sufficient to alleviate you or your children’s emotional distress, seek out individual counseling or family therapy options.

Focusing on your own self-care isn’t only for you. It’s for your loved one in rehab and the rest of your family too. Keeping yourself well is the best way to offer the support they need.

Based in West Palm Beach, Florida, Beachside Rehab supports those recovering from addiction as well as their families. Contact our trained admissions counselors at 866-349-1770 to discuss how we can help.


Photo by Juliane Liebermann on Unsplash