The coronavirus pandemic is causing challenges for everyone. Businesses are closing, children are learning online and states are mandating shelter in place. In one way or another, the coronavirus is affecting you, too. But when you have the added pressure of preventing relapse in Denver, things can quickly spiral out of control.
As you probably know, isolation, boredom and loneliness are triggers for relapse. Yet now we are living in a world where self-quarantining is essential to our health and survival. And, the tools you typically rely on to stay sober may no longer be feasible.
To further complicate matters, the coronavirus is causing an epidemic of fear and anxiety. The last thing we want is for people to feel alone, scared and hopeless and then return to the familiar comfort of drugs and alcohol.
No matter what stage of recovery you are in, you’re aware that it’s a process with many ups and downs. This is one of those hard times, but there are ways to get through it. You must have hope!
10 Ways to Maintain Sobriety During the Coronavirus Pandemic
Below are 10 things you can do to cope with COVID-19 and stay on track with recovering from addiction in Denver.
1. Connect with friends and family via technology.
Thankfully, we have a lot of technology that makes it easy to stay in touch with friends, family and those in your support groups. Take advantage of these tools (Skype, Zoom, Google Hangouts) so that you can maintain healthy connections with your support circle. Hearing someone’s voice or seeing their face can provide a tremendous amount of comfort in a time of uncertainty.
2. Start a new project or hobby.
It’s important to stay busy during times like this. If you consume yourself with negative information, you’ll have a hard time putting distance between you and the virus. As long as you are practicing social distancing, washing your hands and only leaving for essentials, you are doing everything you can to protect your health.
To keep your mind grounded, start a new project or hobby while in quarantine. This will fill your time and keep you learning new talents and skills. Plus, there are many clubs and online groups you can join to discuss your hobby, allowing you to build new connections.
3. Follow a structured routine.
It’s safe to say that most of our routines have changed. But that’s not an excuse to drop the ball at home. Having a structured routine prevents boredom, allows you to feel in control of your life and gives you a sense of responsibility for making the right choices. Plus, sticking to a healthy schedule ensures you continue developing good habits.
Follow the schedule that worked for you after drug rehab in Denver. Here are some things your daily routine can include:
- Regular wake-up time
- Daily practices like meditation or reading
- Family time
4. Practice good self-care.
Self-care is essential right now. Slow down and continue with healthy practices like exercising, eating balanced meals and getting enough rest. Your body is still vulnerable to infection from the drug and alcohol abuse, so it’s important to keep your immunity up. Also, activities like art, music and religious or spiritual practices are useful right now because they can calm you down.
5. Limit your time on social media.
A huge difference between the coronavirus pandemic and past pandemics is that we have the internet. People are always checking their phones, emails and social media feeds for updates, and this can cause unnecessary fear and panic. The attention-grabbing headlines don’t help, either.
While social media is a great place to connect with others, you do want to limit your use. Allow yourself a certain amount of time every day to check on family and friends and read positive stories. In terms of staying updated on the pandemic, we recommend non-biased informational sources like the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control or John Hopkins.
6. Keep a healthy perspective.
The pandemic is something that we’re all dealing with, which means we have economic resources and social services to help people. This is not something you have to endure alone as you would if you were going through a breakup or job loss. Everyone is experiencing challenges – we are all in this together.
7. Avoid STERBs.
STERBs are short term energy relieving behaviors like drinking, gambling or playing video games. They provide short term distractions from sad and painful feelings you don’t want to confront. Eventually, STERBs stop working and leave you with more mess than you started with as you know from your addiction.
Drugs and alcohol are known STERBs you must avoid. But beware of other, less obvious STERBs like excessive exercise, sleeping or overworking. While most STERBs are not harmful in themselves, they stop you from dealing with your emotions.
8. Practice your present moment thinking.
During your time in holistic outpatient addiction treatment, you learned the importance of living in the present. This one-day-at-a-time mentality has probably helped you get through drug cravings, and it can help with the pandemic, too. When you focus on the present, you eradicate worries about the future and experience the joy of living in the moment.
9. Attend 12-step meetings online.
Continue attending your 12-step groups, even if they have shifted to a virtual format. These mutual support programs provide support, guidance and connections to others. However, if you need to attend a session in person, this may be possible. Because 12-step groups are considered essential, some are still allowing for traditional meetings.
10. Allow yourself to feel.
Don’t flee your emotions, as you know where this can get you. This is an unprecedented time we’re living in, and there is no one right way to feel. You may even notice that each day is different. Some days, you may feel cautiously optimistic. Other days, you may feel sad or stressed. This is all okay. Allow yourself to process your emotions and be honest about the sources of your anxiety.
Continuum Recovery of Colorado remains open during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are trying to keep things as normal as possible, though our outpatient groups have moved to a virtual platform to keep our clients and staff safe. If you have questions about our Denver treatment center, contact us today.