It’s hard to imagine a world before COVID-19. Almost overnight, the virus changed our lives. Millions of people have lost their jobs. Businesses have shut down. Kids are remote learning. Social gatherings are limited. Going out in public requires a mask. The list goes on.
Naturally, going through unprecedented times is bound to have its effects on our mental, emotional and physical health. It can be especially debilitating to people who are already vulnerable, such as those dealing with substance abuse and mental health issues.
As you read through this article, please know our rehab facilities in Denver remain available during COVID. Substance abuse and mental health services are essential so you will be able to access them despite what the trends are. If, at any time, you are feeling vulnerable, reach out for help. An outpatient program can give you the support, structure and direction you need.
For now, let’s discuss some of the ways that the pandemic can put a strain on your alcohol recovery in Denver.
Overthinking can lead to mental health problems.
Dwelling on your problems and consuming yourself in negativity will surely take a toll on your mental health. As your mental health deteriorates, overthinking sets in more, creating a dangerous cycle. With so much going on in the world right now, the last thing you need is more emotional distress. But how can you stop overthinking when you’re surrounded by negative news and stories?
Here are some strategies that will prevent you from overthinking:
- Pay attention to your thoughts. If your mind is replaying things over and over or you’re worried about things out of your control, stop and acknowledge these thoughts.
- Challenge your thoughts. As you collect your thoughts, challenge them. Is what you’re thinking really going to happen? Oftentimes when we challenge our thoughts, we find that they’re built on fear not truth.
- Look for solutions. Rather than dwelling on your problems, think about your solutions. This will help you feel more in control of the situation.
- Self-reflect. Take time to reflect and let the emotions come to you. But when your time is up, move onto something more productive. There’s no need to drain your energy any longer.
By acknowledging your thoughts, challenging them and thinking about practical solutions, you can keep a healthier perspective and avoid the desire to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol.
Being without a paycheck can tempt you to return to your old ways.
If you recently got back into work, you’re probably worried about how the pandemic will affect your stability. Businesses are shutting down, jobs are less available and people are struggling to make ends meet. The fear of being jobless can tempt you to go back to your old ways.
Remember the tips above about overthinking. It’s possible that your job won’t be affected by the pandemic. And if it is, know that there are still opportunities available. In fact, some industries are doing well and have plenty of openings, including warehouses like Amazon and grocery delivery services like Instacart.
Isolation can put you at risk for relapse.
Another thing that is affecting people in alcohol recovery in Denver is living alone. It’s very important that you spend time with others as these connections help you feel safe, secure and loved. Not only do you need your family and friends but also your support groups. Addiction is a disease of isolation and the recovery process helps you reconnect and rebuild social ties.
However, it’s a lot harder to make friends and attend support groups during a pandemic. While each state is different, most have social distancing requirements as well as caps on social gatherings. Even simple things like going grocery shopping, checking out a book at the library or ordering a cup of coffee is radically different.
As difficult as quarantining can be, remember that you need physical distance – not social distance. Isolating yourself from others can increase feelings of anxiety and depression, putting your recovery at risk. Find ways to stay connected to others without compromising your health.
Below are some ways to stay socially active and engaged during COVID:
- Attend 12-step meetings online
- Take advantage of teletherapy appointments
- Use Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, etc. to talk to friends and family
- Schedule Netflix parties
- Write letters to friends, family or an elderly person (check out lovefortheelderly.org)
- Take an online course
- Find online volunteer opportunities
- Join an online book club, exercise class, etc.
Misinformation can cause you to overlook other problems.
There’s no question that COVID-19 is a real virus affecting people every day. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation that causes people to question the accuracy and validity of our data. Not to mention, the limitations that the pandemic is placing on us can be worse than the virus itself – at least for some individuals.
For example, some people are afraid to visit the hospital because they don’t want to get sick. Others are no longer taking their medications to treat mental illness because they haven’t gotten a new prescription. And others are staying in and isolating themselves, raising the risk for depression, high blood pressure, diabetes and more.
If something isn’t right – your medicines aren’t working, you’re having suicidal thoughts – reach out for help. Denver treatment centers are taking all necessary precautions to keep clients safe. You do not want to skip professional treatment because you’re worried about getting sick. The alternative could be much worse and cause you to relapse.
COVID-19 is tough on everyone, but some populations are especially vulnerable to the effects of this pandemic. As we preach in rehab, you can’t control the situation but you can control your response.
If you feel like you need extra support at any point in your recovery, contact Continuum Recovery Center of Colorado. We have a number of flexible, affordable programs available to help you stay on track during COVID-19.