In recovery, there are five rules that lead to happy, healthy, and long-term success. These rules are a guiding path for those that are starting their new life, giving a solid foundation and clear outline of what to do for those that are better themselves. These rules are: change your life, always be honest, ask for help, practice self-care, and don’t bend the rules. Nestled in among these rules you will find giving back as a suggestion for self-care.
What Does it Mean to Give Back?
Giving back means volunteering one’s time and efforts in a way that benefits others. Giving back is a way of showing gratitude, which is a large factor in changing an individual’s life and mindset in recovery. Volunteering and showing gratitude can have an amazing and powerful impact on both recovery and overall health and wellness.
How Giving Back Can Help the Recovery Journey
One of the biggest ways to establish this routine of healthy lifestyle habits and skills is to create a sense of gratitude. Gratitude can help an individual form a positive frame of mind. To create a sense of gratitude, one must first recognize and become thankful for those that have helped them. From there, gratitude can be shown. One way to show gratitude is to pay it forward and give back. When an individual is in recovery it is important to completely change their life. Creating healthy lifestyle habits and skills are essential to reducing negative thoughts, behaviors, and patterns. Research has shown the following:
When recovering individuals do not develop healthy life skills, the consequence is that they also may be unhappy in life, but that can lead to relapse. (nih.gov)
In showing gratitude and giving back, a purpose is given. Having a purpose beyond recovery is a stepping stone to creating that healthy lifestyle. Other ways that giving back in recovery can help include:
- Giving back allows for the development of close relationships. Staying connected with others during recovery is important
- It can help boost your confidence
- Giving back allows for the opportunity of learning new skills
- Feeling empowered by helping others can make you more resilient to mental health disorders
- Volunteering can improve your self-esteem
- Donating your time can build stability and reliability
- Giving back can help keep you busy, providing distractions when needed
- It can help you feel in control of your recovery
- Giving back helps to improve the community you live in
- It provides new opportunities for careers
- Altruism can help in the learning process of establishing healthy boundaries
As you can see, there are several benefits to giving back while in recovery, and even beyond. When an individual is in recovery, they are establishing an entirely new way of life. Setting these expectations for oneself and learning to live a life of gratitude and healthy habits paves the way for a successful recovery and happy life.
Health Benefits of Being Generous
Not only are there emotional and spiritual benefits to giving back, but being generous with your time and effort can also have health benefits! In recovery, physical health is essential to maintaining sobriety. Studies show that giving back can help lower stress, and help manage mental health disorders. In addition, physical or strenuous activities that may be done while volunteering can help overall health similar to exercising.
Common Ways One Can Give Back
Small acts of kindness can go a long way. Large acts of kindness can go even further. When deciding on how you want to give back during your recovery, take into consideration what you feel comfortable with. There are several ways that you can give back, and sometimes starting small and working your way up may be the best option. When you start small and accomplish that task, it can boost your confidence and help you move forward with your recovery and volunteering journey. Ways you can volunteer to give back do not just have to be centered around recovery, either. Communities are in constant need of volunteers to help better society. Some common ways you can give back to your community include:
- Volunteering at a soup kitchen or food bank
- Donate to charity
- Volunteer at the local animal shelter
- Volunteer at a local park
- Find a charity walk
- Ask the library if they need help
- Coach a local sports team
- Sign up to sit with the elderly
- Volunteer your time as a sober sponsor
- Ask your friends and family if they need help with anything
When volunteering, it is important to remember to take care of yourself and invest in yourself too. While giving back is a form of self-care, if you do not learn to establish healthy boundaries it can lead to exhaustion and resentment. Find what you enjoy doing, and then figure out a way to integrate that into your altruism.
Integrating Generosity in Everyday Life
You do not have to volunteer your time to give back. There are other, smaller ways that you can integrate generosity and gratitude into your everyday life. In doing this, you create a sense of responsibility and self-respect that boosts your personal morale and confidence. While some may argue these are basic manners, others will tell you they are showing gratitude to those around you. Establish a habit of thanking those you come into contact with. Thank them for their time. From cashiers to individuals you hold a conversation with, they gave you their time, so show your appreciation. Hold the door open for others, compliment a stranger, let people merge on the interstate, greet people you see, and offer assistance if you see someone in need. All of these are ways that you can give back in small ways and integrate them into your everyday life.
Starting Your Recovery Journey With Gratitude
At Evoke Wellness, we understand that recovery is an inside job. Recovery is a journey, not a destination. Overcoming addiction or managing mental health challenges requires a change in lifestyle. Our program is designed to foster the insight needed to achieve this. Our goal is to not only help you feel better but for you to return to your life with new personal growth that provides for a strong start in recovery. We are a team of compassionate professionals who are invested in your success. Be grateful for yourself. Call us today to start your recovery journey.