Tips to Overcome Addiction During COVID-19
These are difficult and unprecedented times. The added stress of a global pandemic, subsequent financial strains, and the fact that there are so few outside distractions available compounds the difficulty of staying in recovery. Here are a few suggestions on how to maintain sobriety during the COVID-19 outbreak.
Managing Mental Health During the COVID-19 Pandemic
First, it’s important to remember that you’re not the only one struggling. Whatever you’re feeling is common and perfectly valid. The purpose of quarantine and lockdown is to isolate people from one another to stop the spread of the virus. Unfortunately, isolation has been known to cause some unintended side mental health side effects.
Many people are having difficulties navigating the world’s current situation. In fact, 53% of people have reported that their mental health has been negatively impacted by the novel coronavirus pandemic according to an August survey. Over 33% of Americans have reported symptoms of depression or anxiety since July – more than double that of last year.
Depression, stress, and boredom are major triggers that can cause relapse. But don’t worry, there are several ways to manage and mitigate these feelings. Here are some suggestions for managing mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Staying sober has much to do with the network you’ve created around yourself. Not being able to attend meetings or meet with people can make you feel disconnected from your friends and family. Fortunately, with technological advancements, there are ways to stay connected.
There are many different free video chat apps for your phone or computer. The most popular apps include:
- Google Duo (for Android users).
- Facetime (for Apple users).
- Facebook Messenger (for Facebook users).
It’s difficult to overstate the importance of peer-support and self-help groups for many people in recovery. The COVID-19 pandemic has made attending meetings in person impossible in many instances. Fortunately, many aftercare programs have made virtual meetings available through some of the platforms listed above.
Popular self-help programs that offer online meetings include:
You may not be able to visit your friends, family, or your peers in recovery, but video chatting will help you feel more connected.
*The free version of Zoom has a time limit when 3 or more users are on the call.
Despite everything negative going on, try to focus on the positive aspects. Recognize that the current situation is temporary and try not to stress and panic over each latest piece of breaking news. Remember, bad news often sticks in the mind more than good news. No one’s suggesting that you don’t stay informed but obsessing over the latest reports will do you no favors.
The outbreak likely threw a wrench in your daily routine. If you haven’t already, try to adjust and get back to some semblance of normal. When depression takes hold, it can be hard to feel motivated. With so many activities restricted, it can be even harder to find reasons to get out of bed. Take your time in adjusting and don’t blame yourself for feeling less productive—it’s only natural.
Many people are unable to visit the gym or exercise the way they did before lockdowns were implemented. Exercise is important for both the body and the mind, with countless studies confirming its usefulness in lowering stress levels and mitigating depression. While it may not be everyone’s first choice in terms of a venue, there are plenty of different ways to work out from home or safely outside.
- Doing some at-home fitness programs. The internet is full of suggestions—many of which require little or no equipment.
- Going on a walk outside. You may be surprised how much fresh air and a bit of movement can change your mood.
- Going for a run (keep a safe distance from those around you).
- Doing yoga—you can even take classes online.
It can be hard finding the motivation to work out by yourself at home. Fortunately, just because you’re by yourself doesn’t mean you need to work out by yourself! Use one of the video chat discussed earlier to get friends and family involved and do a home workout program you’re all comfortable doing.
It’s easy to feel stressed out with everything going on around you, especially in this current world situation. Lots of people find that applying some tried and true stress management techniques help them feel more relaxed.
Take a deep breath and take things one step at a time. Now more than ever, it’s important to remember that there are many things that are outside of our control. Try not to worry about them and focus your attention on the things you can change and keep a positive outlook.
If You’ve Relapsed
Relapse is a part of recovery for many people struggling with substance use disorder. It doesn’t mean failure; it just means that you may need to restart or adjust your treatment. Consider contacting a medical health professional or an admissions navigator to discuss rehabilitation options.