How Environment and Self-Care Affects Your Mental Health

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Your ability to complete daily tasks of living and how you present yourself to the world will impact your self-esteem and emotional well-being. The environment you live in also plays a role in your physical and mental health. Most residential treatment facilities like White House Recovery and Detox provide education and skill development to learn to complete everyday tasks while coping with lingering withdrawal symptoms and co-occurring mental health disorders like depression or anxiety. Community support groups can also help you overcome struggles related to self-care during recovery. 

Self-Care Routines in Recovery

A goal of long-term recovery is to achieve complete independence and a sober lifestyle. You may not always control where you live or who you interact with, but you can control how you care for yourself. Transitioning out of a treatment facility to a sober living community or outpatient program gives you the opportunity to build a solid foundation for your new life. You can decrease general stress levels and improve overall life satisfaction by creating a self-care routine that lets you do the following:

  • Keep your living space clean, comfortable, and secure
  • Look after your physical health and personal hygiene
  • Eat regular nutritional meals and get quality sleep each night
  • Take prescription medications as needed to manage symptoms

Depression and Co-Occurring Mental Health Disorders

Symptoms of co-occurring mental health disorders like depression are common during and after treatment for substance use disorder. According to the United States Department and Health and Human Services, “treatment for both mental health problems and substance use disorders may include rehabilitation, medications, support groups, and talk therapy.” It would be best if you looked after yourself to continue growing and healing. Sometimes this is easier said than done, but you can take steps to make self-care easier to accomplish. The first thing you need to know is what it looks like in a daily routine. Self-care can include: 

  • Giving yourself space to cope with stress
  • Setting personal and relationship boundaries
  • Basic hygiene-related tasks like showering and brushing your teeth
  • Looking after your body’s needs by cleaning, cooking, and exercising
  • Spending quality time with family, friends, and pets

Some disorders make it difficult to focus and stay motivated. However, there are things you can do to improve your mental health, including:

  • Setting smaller and more achievable goals
  • Attending individual and group therapy
  • Utilizing coping skills to decrease stress and manage symptoms
  • Accepting peer support and leaning on your support system
  • Using resources like apps designed to break down daily tasks

Your Environment and Mental Health

You might be staying in a sober living community or at home with your family. The environment you create will affect your mental health. No matter where you are, you can do some things to make the space feel comfortable and secure. Private and shared suites or apartments at sober living communities usually come with expectations and guidelines involving personal upkeep and cleanliness. You may be responsible for the following:

  • Cleaning your room
  • Doing your laundry
  • Meal prep and clean up
  • Keeping your living space tidy

Living in your own home comes with many of the same routines. Research has found that you can practice healthy coping skills like mindfulness-based meditation while completing household chores such as washing dishes, making it advantageous to take the time to keep your personal space clean and tidy. In one scientific study published in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, they used mindfulness-based therapy to treat generalized anxiety disorder, and “participants were also instructed in ‘informal’ home mindfulness practice (e.g., present-focused awareness during eating, bathing, or cleaning).” The results indicated that they were “less likely to ruminate over negative thoughts . . . and treated themselves with more kindness and less self-judgment.”

Taking Care of Your Mind and Body 

Self-care can take many forms and means monitoring and managing the following aspects of your daily experience using life skills and healthy coping mechanisms:

  • Personal appearance, including the clothes you wear and personal hygiene
  • Emotional well-being including therapy, self-help groups, and peer support
  • Physical health including getting enough sleep, exercise, and nutritious meals
  • Medication management, including over the counter and prescription medications

How you feel about your body and your living space will affect your mental and physical health. For example, if you live in clutter and have difficulty getting the motivation to complete daily tasks like making your bed or dressing in clean clothes each day, you could develop feelings of low self-worth. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has an excellent page dedicated to sharing ways you can practice self-care each day. 

Your ability to care for your mind, body, and living environment will determine how your recovery progresses. Minor changes to your routine can have a significant impact on your confidence and feelings of self-worth. You can decrease anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem by looking after your needs and creating new daily habits that leave you feeling better about yourself. Self-care can be genuinely transformative and improve your quality of life. At White House Recovery and Detox, we believe everyone deserves to live a healthy and happy life of sobriety. Your recovery depends on looking after the well-being of your mind and body. We are here to help you achieve that goal through the use of compassionate therapy and peer support. Our dedicated clinical team can help you cope with stress and overcome challenges that might be stopping you from learning essential life skills. Learn more by reaching out to White House Recovery and Detox at (800) 510-5393.