A few weeks ago, we asked our The Temper Instagram followers what their favorite forms of self-care were. In response, we got some truly phenomenal answers about what you all do in order to take care of yourself in recovery. But it also got us thinking: Why don’t we talk more about self-care in recovery? And why is self-care supposedly designated to just ONE day a week? That didn’t seem right.
When you are no longer drinking, you need to find healthy ways to fill that void and all of the free time you might have now that you’re not engaging in destructive behavior. But it shouldn’t just be once a week, either. Sure, there are no more Sunday Scaries for you but that might mean that you’re spending your weekends without being sure what to do now that you’re no longer a party animal. Or you might not know what to do that doesn’t involve happy hour after work during the week. That’s where this list comes in!
Below are 15 self-care ideas that you can engage in any day of the week. Don’t save these just for Sundays. Inf act, we recommend trying one a day, seven days a week. Plus, as a bonus: Most of these sober self-care ideas are free or cheap, too, so you should be able to easily try one or two immediately.
1. Engage in some exercise: If you’re looking for something to do, exercise is always a great option and definitely popular with Temper readers. You can join a gym, which is especially fun if you also go to one with amenities like a sauna (HIGHLY recommend!). Of course, there is also free exercise like hiking with friends or your dog, running (ever tried doing a half-marathon?), or bike riding. You can also try more adventurous things, like hot yoga, rock climbing, or kayaking.
2. Spend time with (supportive) family: One of the best parts of having free time when you’re sober is that you get to choose what to do with that time instead of spending in hungover in bed for most of the day. One of the top fun activities you can do is spend time with those you love, like your family. Just make sure that you’re investing your time wisely with people that are supportive of your recovery… Otherwise, it just won’t be that fun.
3. Make yourself some yummy food: Cooking for yourself can be really nurturing for the soul. Temper readers suggested spending self-care Sundays on activities such as food prep, making pancakes or waffles, or even cooking something comforting during the cold winter months (like soup!). Another fun thing to do is make some homemade pizza… or, if you’re feeling a bit on the lazy side, order in and enjoy some time off.
4. Try something spiritual: A few Temper readers recommended going to church if you need something to do during your self-care days… but any kind of spiritual activity will work. For some, that means going to church or synagogue or mosque. For others, it might mean engaging in meditation or reading more books. Find what fills your soul, whatever that is, and do that.
5. Get snuggles from your pets: Something that’s highly recommended on our self-care list is snuggles with your pets. Seriously. There is nothing better for some self-care than getting some love from your loyal pup or really cute kitty or even less conventional pets (just don’t try to hug the fish). Spend at least 20 minutes a day and you’re sure to feel rejuvenated in no time.
6. Hang out with friends: Time with friends is essential when it comes to your sobriety AND your self-care. Just as you want to hang out with family that’s supportive, the same goes for the other types of people that love you: Your chosen family. Some of the recommendations we got included hiking with friends and brunching with friends. I’m personally a really big fan of the brunch suggestion for lazy Sundays that are spent NOT feeling hungover.
7. Check out free events in town: No matter where you live, there are typically at least a few free events in town that you can check out. These can include anything from your local botanical gardens holding a nighttime holiday event to free concerts in the summer. There is lots to do, even if it might take a little extra research to find the things you actually enjoy doing.
8. Cozy up for an evening at home: You know what’s a REALLY good time sometimes? Not leaving the house. I’ll pause while you clap. Plenty of suggestions included things like Netflix n Chill with your sweetie, making a pot roast and chilling on your couch, putting on comfy clothes while you drink your evening cup of chamomile, and just engaging in some sort of quiet time. You don’t have to have a crazy, wild, party life anymore and you don’t have to pretend like that life was fulfilling, either. Enjoy the quiet while you can.
9. Head to a meeting: Of course, nothing says self-care like taking yourself to a meeting. Many of our readers suggested that as a great way of taking care of yourself, whether your meeting is a traditional 12-step or one of the AA alternatives. And, obviously, we can’t recommend Tempest’s Bridge Club highly enough.
10. Do something that makes you feel good: There are a LOT of things that can make you feel good but, here, we specifically mean things that will boost your self-esteem in some way. Things that our audience loved, in particular, included getting your nails done, filling out grad school applications, going thrifting, heading to the farmer’s market, and the DayBreaker sober dance party. Basically, there are no limits as long as the thing you’re doing makes you realize your true potential in some way… whether that potential includes buying fresh veggies for your Sunday night soup or just dancing the night (and early morning hours) away.
11. Go to bed early: One of my personal favorite forms of self-care is getting a good night’s sleep. Usually, this means going to bed early. When I got sober, I was still mostly sticking to my midnight bedtime and found myself increasingly exhausted by it. Then, I started going to bed at 9 pm and my life changed for the better. These days, I wake up early and am much more productive because of that. Our readers also highly recommended napping as a form of self-care.
12. Play some games: Games are a great way to spend some time when you’re sober, whether that means playing video games solo (or with online friends) or getting together for regular board game nights with your best pals. You can even try a good old fashioned game of solitaire to take the stress off.
13. Take care of things at home: This might not seem like the most popular form of self-care but it was actually a stand-out amongst our audience who know that nothing feels quite as good as having a lovely, clean home. Things that were recommended in this category included doing some chores (laundry?), grocery shopping, cleaning the oven, hygge-ing your home, and simply organizing. It’s a simple thing to do but a nice way to spend the time and, as a bonus, you’ll get a great house afterward.
14. Remember your creative side: Creativity is something that you might not think of as a form of self-care, but it’s one fo those activities that people loved to engage in after getting sober and getting in touch with their deeper selves. To get creative, there are lots of options. You can journal, try a coloring book, do some writing, paint, or even try photography. And don’t worry, you don’t need a fancy camera for it — just your phone and some time outside.
15. And, of course, reading: It’s not self-care Sunday if you’re not doing some reading, at least in my house. It seems that a lot of Temper readers feel the same, too. May we suggest some powerful women’s recovery memoirs? You won’t regret it.
There are a lot of things you can do to take care of yourself in sobriety but the most important thing you can do is take time for yourself, period. Sober self-care is crucial in order to keep your recovery strong. Whether you choose one of the activities above or something else, don’t forget to do some self-care daily. And yes, we do mean on days other than Sunday!