These are crazy times we live in. Most of us have been feeling bored and cooped up for so long that it’s becoming difficult to imagine what life was like before the COVID-19 pandemic. The abrupt change in the way we live our daily lives is being felt around the world, but those who are in recovery may be hit harder by the disruption of their normal routine than others.
Recovery isn’t an easy process at the best of times, and now it’s even harder to maintain your health and wellness. Each day, it seems like stress, boredom and isolation are conspiring to threaten your sobriety, but there are some steps you can take to stay focused, motivated and committed to your recovery during the COVID-19 pandemic. Keep reading to learn how you can maintain your sobriety (and sanity) below.
Boredom may seem harmless, but for those in recovery, it can lead to unhealthy behaviors and trigger a relapse. This is especially true in early recovery when you’re still readjusting to daily life without drugs or alcohol. Boredom is a looming problem for everyone right now as the COVID-19 pandemic closes down parks, restaurants and recreational venues, but keeping busy and active can help you cope and stay sober. Read a book. Learn a new hobby. Go for a bike ride. Whatever floats your boat, as long as it’s enjoyable and stops you from reaching for drugs or alcohol to fill the void.
For many people, feeling isolated is the hardest part of the COVID-19. Social distancing means we aren’t seeing our friends and family as much, which can make it harder to maintain a support network in recovery. If this sounds familiar, participating in group therapy or support groups is a great way to stay connected and can help you find new ways to cope with what’s going on. It can also help you stay accountable and prevent a relapse due to isolation. Many group sessions are now available online, so you can connect with others from the safety of your home. It’s also important to maintain contact with your friends and family, either through a phone call, video chat or small gatherings.
Maintain a Routine
COVID-19 has disrupted any semblance we once had of a normal routine, which can be especially tricky if you relied upon the support and guidance of a structured treatment plan. To combat this, you can restore some normalcy with a regular routine at home. Focus on establishing a sleep schedule; eat a healthy and balanced diet for breakfast, lunch and dinner; find some you-time during the day; exercise on a regular basis; and attend recovery or support groups when you need them.
Get Some Exercise
Exercise has been proven to provide a ton of benefits for your mental and physical well-being. By staying active and getting regular exercise, a fitness routine can not only add structure to your days but help you learn healthier habits and reduce stress. In recovery, exercise also promotes healing from the effects of drug or alcohol use and can help you stay on track by improving your sleep, providing an outlet for anger or frustration and increasing your self-esteem. Regardless of your fitness level, you can focus on getting healthier with simple and safe activities like yoga, strength training or cardio.
Limit Your Stress
This is often easier said than done, but a few ways you can manage your stress is by practicing mindfulness habits, taking care of yourself and limiting the amount of news coverage you consume. It’s good to stay informed with important updates so you can keep yourself safe, but obsessing over the news can cause unnecessary stress. Getting your news and information from reputable sources is also helpful and will go a long way in making sure you feel prepared, but not confused or overwhelmed.
Support Each Other
If you’re able to, helping others is a great way to give back, feel productive and make a difference in someone else’s life. Even simple things like checking up on friends and neighbors, helping others in need stock up on groceries and other essentials, and supporting your peers in recovery can have a big impact. You could also help familiarize those unfamiliar with technology with things like grocery delivery, video chatting and smartphone apps that can make their lives easier and prevent unnecessary exposure to the coronavirus. If you’re looking for more ways to help your community, supporting small businesses or donating to volunteer organizations, food shelves and other charities can make a difference, too. We’re all in this together, so it’s important to do what we can to make coping just a little bit easier.
Take Advantage of Telehealth
Many substance use and mental health providers now offer telehealth services to increase the ease, safety and accessibility of addiction treatment. During the COVID-19 pandemic, you can use this technology to access virtual care options for doctor visits, counseling, therapy and more to stay healthy and maintain your sobriety. Telehealth services are also a great option if you can’t travel, live far from a treatment center or simply want to limit your risk of exposure to the coronavirus. The flexibility of online scheduling means that you can get the care you need at your own convenience, and many insurance carriers are now waiving co-pay fees for virtual visits.
At True Recovery, we know how difficult these times are for everyone, but especially for those in recovery. No matter where you’re at in your treatment, the effects of social distancing, boredom and stress can take a toll, but the tips above are a great way to improve your health and wellness during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you or a loved one needs extra support, we’ve expanded our treatment options to include telehealth services, so you can get help from the comfort of your home. Don’t hesitate to reach out to us at (866) 399-6528.