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Nurture Your Well-being: Redefine What Self-Care Means for You

Have you taken the time to consider your self-care needs lately?

For some, self-care could mean spa masks, bubble baths, and massages. But self-care is more than just pampering oneself; it requires a holistic approach that goes beyond physical health to include mental, emotional, and psycho-spiritual aspects of our lives. Here is how self-care could look for you:

  • Setting boundaries in relationships

  • Seeking mental health support

  • Connecting with our emotions and spirituality

  • Valuing our cultural roots

  • Having proper sleep hygiene to support proper mood regulation, higher energy levels, and cellular restoration.

During challenging times, it is essential to have a customizable self-care routine to minimize toxic stress and promote healthy coping strategies. Quick fixes like substance use may provide temporary relief but can lead to reliance on substances to manage life challenges or stressful events, and vulnerability to a cycle of overuse. Engaging in activities that promote a greater sense of well-being, such as walking or spending time with loved ones, can have longer-lasting benefits. Self-care doesn't need to be complicated.

Shifting Perspective on Self-Care and Substance Use

Society often promotes self-medication with substances as a form of self-care. Just turn on your TV and you will notice when the characters are experiencing personal issues or disputes, they’ll quickly pour a drink or mention they need one to unwind or cool off. According to a research study conducted by the University of Auckland, alcohol emerged as the predominant element, accounting for 30% of all food and beverage portrayals in prime-time TV programs.

While stress can be a driver of substance use because of the immediate neurophysiological sensations, excessive substance use can lead to a harmful cycle of increased stress (think of increasing financial costs, risky behavior, the potential for adverse health effects, and strain on relationships). Instead, finding healthier ways to experience feel-good sensations is crucial.

Simple Self-Care Strategies You Can Practice Daily

There are so many different ways you can begin to nurture yourself daily. Here are some ideas to get you started. Consider practicing at least two of these ideas over the next week, and think about what else you need at this time in your life to better nurture yourself:

•	Change of scenery: Go for a walk in nature or find a park to read/relax. •	Write in a journal: Relieves emotional and mental tension. •	Change self-talk: Shift the focus from self-blame and pessimism to a more empowering and positive perspective.  Turn this: "I always make mistakes and never get anything right." Into this: "I sometimes make mistakes and that is part of being human. I don't need to be so hard on myself when this happens". •	Get quiet: Meditate, practice mindfulness exercises, or try breathwork.  •	Daily physical exercise: Try dancing, jogging, hiking, or a simple brisk walk.

Your wellness journey will evolve. Remind yourself that this is an unfolding process, and just like growth, there may be uncomfortable moments. But if you are gentle and compassionate with your process, you will get to where you need to be.

ALAViDA offers tools to help you

If you're looking to make changes to your substance-use behavior, ALAViDA can offer the help you need. Our iCBT modules (internet-based Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) are one of the primary support options we provide, along with optional group coaching and tracking tools available through the TRAiL platform.

Ready to explore your relationship with alcohol and substances? All OTIP members, including RTIP, Home/Auto, and Life Insurance customers have complimentary access to the ALAViDA TRAiL.
Note: The language surrounding substance use is constantly evolving. At ALAViDA we focus on non-judgemental language. While we work to break down stigma, please note that some of these references may include language such as "relapse, abuse, or sobriety.” 



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