For many of us, when we enter recovery from substance abuse, we have it drilled into our heads that we must avoid isolation at all costs. People regularly tell us that isolation is the enemy, and will put on us the road to relapse. So, during this unprecedented time of social distancing, stay-at-home orders, and mandatory quarantine, how can we stay connected and maintain a healthy recovery?
Here are a few ideas we have been putting into practice!
Find Some Structure
In chaotic times, making an effort to maintain a sense of structure and routine can be life-saving. Although it is tempting to live like you are on vacation (cake for breakfast, anyone?), try starting your morning by setting a few simple and attainable goals, and making a loose outline for the day. The more consistency you can bring to long stretches of unstructured time, the more grounded you will feel. Keeping up with normal activities like exercise and work routines can bring a sense of normalcy—if you usually go to the gym, try taking a run, or one of the many home workouts available online. Trying to mirror the positive parts of a normal day can bring a fresh sense of sanity and purpose.
Zoom and other online meeting platforms have proven to be an invaluable tool for recovery meetings that have been forced to migrate online. Thankfully, these tools can be used for more than just hosting 12-step meetings and are super useful for connecting in general. Getting some virtual time with familiar faces can offer a boost and a feeling of connectedness. Reach out to an old friend – in these crazy times, no one will think it’s weird. Set up a Zoom game night with friends, or a check-in with a trusted mentor or therapist.
Think of others
The old standby: be of service. It works to get us out of a funk when nothing else does. Granted, being forced to be alone or isolated with one’s family for weeks at a time could make even a saint go nuts. Self-pity, resentment, and anxiety are all par for the course. And although these feelings are to be expected, we don’t need to wallow in them. It might seem hard to be of service to others while maintaining a six-foot distance, but there are many creative ways to show up to people. Calling and texting are easy enough, and old-school ideas like mailing cards and letters are even better for elderly people who might be particularly in need right now. If you have kids, involving them in card decoration is double-win. Being of service to people in your household is also worthwhile, and could ease some of the tension that might have arisen from extended stretches alone together.
This is a good of time as any to start a mindfulness or meditation practice, if you don’t have one already. Most of us are sitting around with an excess of time on our hands, and really no excuse to avoid this powerful practice. Mindfulness is linked to increased calm, resiliency, and overall wellness. If you don’t know where to start, check out one of our previous blogs, or one of the many podcasts or mediation apps. Insight Timer is a fan favorite, and there are countless others on YouTube.
We’ve talked before about the real power of gratitude for keeping up your spirits. Indeed, gratitude is a superpower. More than just a perspective, practicing gratitude is linked to improved physical health and mental well-being. It’s associated with better sleep, more energy, less depression, and possibly even a lower risk of heart disease. Gratitude doesn’t need to be big. It’s not about landing that dream job or buying a home. Amazingly, research has shown that gratitude is just as potent when it applies to small things in our daily lives. So take a few moments to look around. Are you stuck indoors? Be grateful you have a house. Pausing to reflect on your appreciation for your health, your recovery, or even your cup of coffee can positively charge your mood and give you the boost you need to get through the day with some grace.
Go Easy on Yourself
Like we said, these are challenging times for all of us. Most of us have never experienced this level of upheaval or uncertainty. Finding some self-compassion is essential for staying sane. There is no roadmap for these crazy days, so try to remind yourself that you—and others—are doing the best you can. When we can offer ourselves compassion and gentleness, it becomes much easier to extend it to others. This will keep us connected and remind us that we are all it together, and our individual health is connected to our collective actions. We can’t get out of this thing alone – and that makes us more interdependent than ever before.
If you need some help or just to talk, reach out. We are here for you.
Scottsdale Providence has implemented robust safety measures in response to the COVID-19 virus. The health and wellness of our clients, our staff, and our community are, as ever, our #1 priority. If you want to know more about our safety precautions, get in touch.