These are difficult times for all of us, and in recovery it can seem like things are spiraling backwards. Addiction is a disease of isolation, and being forced to physically isolate can have us stuck in our own heads again which can be dangerous. There are, however, certain steps we can take to prevent ourselves from feeling isolated in recovery. Whether you are working from home, sitting alone in front of your TV or learning how to home-school there are simple self-care techniques that you can implement to help your mental and physical health.
For starters, give yourself a break from watching the news. While it is good to stay updated on what is going on in the world, fixating on the numbers and Covid-19 updates will build your fear and anxieties. Instead, try looking up some of the good news shows online, or turning the TV off in general and giving yourself a much deserved break.
One simple act of self-care that helps immensely is simply getting up at the usual time and showering and getting dressed. It is easy to sleep in and stay in your pjs all day, but mentally you will be doing yourself no favors. Starting your morning the right way will help get you motivated and put you in the right mindset for the entire day.
Stick to a routine! Plan out your day and do your best to stick to the schedule you have made yourself. Otherwise, you may find yourself wandering aimlessly, and ending up in front of the fridge way too often. It may also help the day to pass more quickly and keep boredom at bay. Routines help us to stay accountable to ourselves, but if it doesn’t all go according to plan don’t be too hard on yourself and try to go with the flow!
Just because the stores are closed and we are maintaining social distancing, doesn’t mean you can’t leave your house. Getting out of your house and going for a walk and getting some fresh air will help raise your mood and the exercise will increase your endorphins. While most parks and recreational areas are closed, the great outdoors is still very much open. There are great trails and small untraveled roads that you can take a stroll down without the worry of crowds or social interaction.
Give yourself space, whether you are home with your significant other, or you have children everywhere in your house – you need to have a space of your own where you can go to take a moment to collect yourself and your thoughts. It could be a hot bath at the end of the day, or a cup of coffee on the porch in the morning. A few moments of solitude in our crazy lives can go a long way to helping your mind stay calm.
Finally, and possibly most important, we all need to stay connected during these trying times. Social isolation is a slippery slope for alcoholics, and now more than ever we need to make use of our phone. Stay close to your network and call your sober friends and sponsor as often as possible. Even calls made to your family and friends outside of the program will help you to get out of your own head for a few minutes. A lot of families are catching up with one another through virtual dinner parties. There are a number of online platforms out there that enable visual conferencing. You can place your digital device at the end of the table and pull together friends and loved ones from across the country or just down the street. And remember, each call you make is also helping the person on the other end.
We are all in this together, and as alcoholics we have been through worse so now is no time to take your foot off the gas. There are a multitude of online meetings being offered, so you can even check out some outside of your normal circuit. One thing is certain, now is not the time to start slacking on meetings as it is too easy to become complacent and not go back. If you are having trouble finding meetings, just ask! We at High Watch are offering three AA meetings a day, and are always available to help.
For now, stay safe and stay diligent. This will all be over soon, and we will have made it through together. Remember to take it one day at a time – you are not alone.
Meet the Author:
Jenn Worthington, Alumni Relations Coordinator