Audio: Take Care of You

This is Sober Podcast Episode #187 for my weekly sober podcast series.

In this audio, i try to answer the question sent to me by a penpal: “what does it mean to take good care of yourself?”

and at first i thought it was an unusual question, until i tried to really define what I mean by ‘take good care of you’.

in this podcast, I talk about food court rice and vegetables, how to ‘take the edge off,’ and seaside hotels in thailand.

When you download the full audio, you’ll also hear the unedited version, where there is a dog barking, the dinner timer goes off, hints of what i put in chili, and a side conversation about snuggles where I talk myself into a corner and then i have to back my way out … All of these things are missing from the ‘proper’ version of the audio.

Below i’ve posted the first 3 minutes of the podcast. if you’d like to listen to the whole thing you can use the link to download at the bottom of the post.

If you were just coming home from the hospital, what would you do to take care of you?




Download the audio podcast episode 187

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(ps, my blog allows for anonymous comments – so you don’t have to fill in a name or an email address to post your comment below).

Over the next 24 hrs, I’ll select a blog comment and that person will receive a present funded by the Sober Good Works donations.


I want to put this online, to hold myself accountable. I want to document the noise in my head. I'm tired of thinking about drinking. date of last drink: june 30, 2012

  • Hi Belle,
    I needed to hear this. I can rely on your posts to give me the sober push I need. I know my Wolfie was kicking up suggesting I have a drink because I’ve been stressed out and sad, so much drama. You remind me there’s another way. It’s a better way. It is the kind, loving, life-giving way of taking care of myself instead of tearing myself down as was my former self’s way. I am nearing 100 days. I recommitted today, as I should every day. Making it my goal to get to 365 days, and by that time I am quite sure I will be stronger, happier, and better able to cope. Staying close to my sober tools, like you!

  • Taking care of myself means being here. Engaging with other people online who are like me, who understand when I say something like, “I have a voice in my head that will lie to me about my drinking being a good idea.”
    Reading blogs, emailing for sober support, and being a part of a sober community is taking care of me. 🙂

  • I’d cuddle up on the couch with a fuzzy blanket and binge watch whatever was awesome. I’d eat yummy foods and sleep and ask my family to help me with the day to day stuff that was difficult.

  • Amazing how easy it is to let go of the ‘shoulds’ when you don’t feel well physically, but so hard to do it when you just need to do it for self care. I have learned it over the last couple of years though, and on days that I just don’t feel like ‘it’, whatever it is, i hit the bed and watch even just part of a movie to put myself in a better place.

  • Buy a colouring book. Borrow a best seller from the library. Stock up on treat snacks. Put ‘ready meals’ in the freezer. Make my bed with clean linen. Use the ‘guest’ soap at bath time. Yes real radical stuff.

  • Making sure I get my time alone. I need space to breath in, to just be. Some gentle yoga can work wonders. Also not overloading myself with commitments.

  • Taking care of myself means it’s ok to cry. It’s ok to let my 4 yr old sleep in my bed. It’s ok to not do the laundry for a day…it’s OK to not be on and witty and fun all the time. It’s ok to just be.

  • Taking of me means not saying yes when I want to say no. It means alone time to think and rest and unwind with my favorite crappy TV show. It means going to bed early. It means not worrying about a spotless house. It means asking for help. It means avoiding overwhelm!

  • One of my favourite comments here was the Haircut comment. I never thought as this as self care and although I have regular hair appointments it highlighted to me the things that I don’t consider as self care and neglect. Even on day 280+ I learning more and more (and remembering it since I’m sober lol) xxx

  • Taking care of me is an evolving process. Going to bed early, with a book or podcasts is my number one self care tool. I’m getting better at noticing when I am being driven by shoulds and oughts, that’s generally the sign I need to take a break, rest, or say no to something! And like shimmer and anon above, I find it really helps to think what I would do for someone I really love and care about, then do that 🙂

  • Order Japanese takeout for dinner, cuddle my dog, put my fave house pants on, lie in the sun on the carpet with cushions surrounding me, facial scrub, word games and books, Netflix, audios, Rob Bell podcasts, apple pie and vanilla ice cream, sparkling water. Lately I’ve also added counselling, massage, yoga and Epsom salt baths which help calm my nervous system and keeps wolfie chained to the floor. Still learning but I have a new appreciation of these things since I quit boozing.

  • For me it’s learning how to stop, take breaks and end my nights. I also like everything shimmer said!

  • I never relax. I only stop when I have a drink in my hand or am watching ‘Orange is the New Black’! These things happen late so I think I am busy from around 5.30am until 9.00pm. I never get to the end of my to do list. I never just sit. I haven’t had a drink for ten days now. Am hoping I can learn to bloody relax.

  • Taking care of myself has new meaning for me Belle because you have put great emphasis on it and that is appropriate. When I was in my twenties and newly married, some people asked when was I going to have children. My answer was ‘not yet, because I’m not sure I know how to take care of myself, let alone a new person I’m responsible for.’ So fast forward 40 years of pouring alcohol on my head. Taking care of myself these past 1000+ days has made a difference. Now I have better relationships with said children. 😉

  • I would take my lead from the dog:
    have some kibble from the bowl (have something to eat but don’t cook)
    lap up some water (have my special bitter/fizzy replacement drink)
    play with my favorite chew toy (play an online game, watch a movie)
    lick my coat (take a bath)
    curl up next to my human and sleep (curl up with my puppy and sleep)

  • You know what I “should” be doing? Instead of ALL the other damn “shoulds” in my life, all the other self-imposed crosses that I place on my shoulders, I should be listening to 80’s music and rocking the shit out of my air guitar where I am *really* a very good guitarist, if I do say so myself. And after playing air guitar I may just treat myself to a little air drumming. Neal Peart, watch out! This is a little self indulgence and a some free movement that makes me smile without any judgement. It is kind and loving to someone who needs a smidgen of joy and music in my life at this moment.

  • Taking care of myself is hard these days. I’m training for a marathon, have a stressful full time job at a university, several free lance gigs, and am getting my MBA. For me, taking time off or going to bed early often isn’t an option. Instead, I make sure I take the time I need throughout the day for things like morning mantras and meditation, do nice things like indulge in fries for lunch instead of the salad I brought, and try to take care of future meg by not letting chores pile up for her to deal with.

    • if you’re trying to do too many things at once, it makes being continuously sober really hard. if being sober is the foundation to do everything else, then you could move sobriety up on your list. the marathon, for example, could wait. and/or the freelance stuff be giving longer deadlines. all the things on your plate are there cuz you picked them 🙂 don’t let wolfie pick so many things that being sober is ‘too hard’ … hugs

  • Every single time I choose to not drink I am taking the most glorious, self-indulgent care of myself.

    Belle, thank you for popping into my inbox when I need it most.

  • I think I finally understand what self care means. It’s taken me 455 days, but it means that I schedule the bare necessities such as doctors appointments and dentist appointments and hair cuts for myself just as I would for my kids. I don’t schedule them and cancel them and reschedule them three weeks later because something comes up.

    I treat me as if I am my own child. And don’t cancel my appointments when a “crisis” hits and I need to be in three places at once. i just have to say “I’m sorry, I’m busy at that time. Would another time this week work for that xyz thing that you are asking me to do.”

  • For me, it’s about divorcing my sense of self-worth from my accomplishments. It’s remembering that the little seedling that is my sober self is worth all the love and nurturing I can throw at myself regardless of the dishwasher being unloaded or how many loads of laundry I’ve run or how clean the living room is. Food, rest, and most of all gentle, forgiving self-talk.

  • This has been a hard one for me because I take care of everyone else but I’m doing better, thanks to you Belle. It’s little things like locking the door when I shower and when the kids knock say”Nope! Go ask your dad!” It’s going to bed when the kids do and telling my wonderdul hubby to take the kids to practice so i can have some peace. It’s starting to look like asking for help or respectfully refusing to be a doormat. Some days it’s me in bed eating take out and binge watching Netflix for a few hours and accepting the world won’t fall apart if I take a nap. All good things I enjoy sober. Whenever Wolfie shows up I flip him the bird and carry on. Hugs to all:) Take care

  • Well Belle, thanks so much for your steady stream of emails, podcasts, live radio shows, one minute messages all encouraging us to stay sober and take care of ourselves. Sometimes I forget how much of your time you devote to this. When I’m sad, depressed, discouraged, lonely, tired, irritated, want to drink I contact you, and all the while you have your own life and struggles and have to find time to take care of yourself. My contact with you has been the only way that I’ve been able to stop drinking. All I can say is thanks for the time you give. I’m leaving this afternoon to go to a beautiful spot a couple of hours from here to spend a couple of days out in nature taking care of me. Thanks for the encouragement. Hugs

  • That all stops…then what? It’s a good reminder that life after is not the same as life before, and what we need to do to adjust is really important to honor!

  • I would give myself permission to recover. I would change into my pajamas, get out my favorite book and blanket and have a little rest. No need to wait on anyone, to make meals for the family, they’ll figure it out. I would put myself first for once and just be.

  • Taking care of me means to imagine that I am my own loved, cherished, very young daughter. She comes home from school crying. Do I pour alcohol down her throat? Shudder….. What do I do? Give her lots of big hugs and tell her how special and loved she is. Take her to the play ground or park, somewhere beautiful in nature. Back at home run her a bubble bath, make her snuggly and comfy, let her watch her favorite movie or sing along to her favorite music or set her up with a coloring book while I cook her most loved nourishing foods for dinner. Be silly, laugh and giggle, read her a bed time story. Lights out. Tomorrow is another day.

  • That is EXACTLY what I’d do: get in bed and order take out. I always remind myself to treat myself as I would treat my best friend. If my best friend was stressed out and feeling down, I’d tell her/him to rest, get in bed or on the couch, watch a movie or read a book, and do your “shoulds” later. It’s ok. We all need a break every once in a while, and listening to that deep urge is important, more important than we think.

  • If i want “time off” then i prob am going to have to ask for help from my family and let go of worry or guilt – pbj for dinner is fine and they know perfectly well how to do laundry. It’s usually quite interesting to see my family fend for themselves.

  • Taking care of myself means it’s okay to make hot tea and watch Netflix for an afternoon. It’s okay to go to bed at 5:00 pm and read a book until I fall asleep. It’s okay to take an afternoon nap on a Monday.

    This was a great reminder that the first part of sobriety is like recovering from a long illness.

  • How the hell do you always know what I need to hear? I literally just sent you an email complaining about how shitty i feel even 28 days in. And I mentioned a little voice in my head that sounds just like you telling me to take care of myself. Is it coincidence that I should click the link here and actually hear your voice? Probably not. Thank you Belle!

  • Taking care of me means that it’s o.k. to sit under a cozy blanket and read instead of doing 14 other things that I “should” be doing. Giving myself permission to let me body and my brain rest.

  • Taking care of myself means that I should give myself the same care and respect that I give to others, instead of beating myself over the things in my life that I can’t control. And to work on those things that I can control.

  • taking care of me means lowering my expectations of what can be done in a 24 hour period. it means letting go of the crushing to do list. it means getting comfortable with not being superwoman. it means not trying to be everything to everybody. it means it’s ok to say no even if i “should” be doing something. it means saying yes to doing nothing. it means letting go of perfectionism and accepting “good enough.”

  • I try and remember how my Mom took care of me when I was little and sick…and then I try and do those things for myself.