As the coronavirus pandemic has become part of the backdrop of our lives, substance abuse recovery, like so many other things, is looking a lot different. With increased isolation, changes in employment, and a general feeling of uncertainty plaguing more and more Americans, research shows that the risk of relapse is higher than ever for those in recovery. But there is still hope and there are steps you can take to fortify yourself and stay the course. Here are three ways to keep your recovery on track in the midst of a pandemic.
1. Stay connected
The most radical change we’re all dealing with in this time is feeling isolated and detached from our social networks. With many of us working from home, unable to freely spend time with loved ones, and with social gatherings put on pause, it’s easy to feel disconnected and alone. Take time to reconnect with your community, whether that’s with a standing call with close friends and family, or a Zoom party that gets a group together. Get creative with group movie night options like Netflix Watch Party or Hulu Watch Party, or consider a virtual game night with apps like JackBox or Quizup. While these online options aren’t a perfect replacement, they do the job of reminding us we’re all in this together and building us up with social support.
2. Make a healthy habits a priority
We’ve all heard how key a healthy way of eating and regular physical activity are for our health, but these habits are even more important during the recovery process. A diet full of healthful foods and nutrients will help your body heal if you’ve struggled with substance abuse, increase energy, and even support more stable mental health. In changing your diet, it’s important to make small, sustainable changes like slowly increasing fruit and vegetable intake, consuming more protein, and gradually limiting processed foods and sugars. With physical activity, the same is true: small, gradual changes that fit into your life. With gyms no longer an option, try walking more (make it a socially-distanced walk with a friend to get in some social time!) or online workouts on Youtube. Start slow, and build up as your endurance and energy increase. And, of course, wash your hands frequently and wear a mask!
3. Build a routine
Even the positive changes that come with recovery can feel overwhelming at times. Coupled with the dramatic adjustments hat have come about due to the pandemic, this can feel very challenging. A good way to combat this is to build structure and routine into your life as much as you can, to free up mental space with some peaceful predictability in the wake of so much other upheaval. Like always, the focus is incremental, sustainable changes: can you set certain times to wake up and go to bed? To eat your meals? What about some personal time for self-reflection or meditation? Seeking treatment can help with this, as meetings with counselors or group therapy encourage personal growth and build time for self-reflection into your day.
If you or a loved one are seeking help with recovery in Connecticut, contact us today to take the first step in transforming your life.