By Court Nichols
The coronavirus pandemic has impacted a lot of people that also include people who are in the process of recovering from substance abuse.
During this time of isolation, symptoms of depression and anxiety might highly occur and worsen as time pass by. With this, it would be difficult for people who are currently on the road of recovery to stay sober. The isolation prevents them from maintaining healthy relationships, especially if they are living alone and away from their loved ones. Some even rely on group settings for their treatment and recovery. Self-isolation and boredom only heighten the feeling of stress, loneliness, and anxiety, which in turn might trigger substance use.
Below are some useful tips on how to stay sober and continue your recovery journey despite the isolation caused by the pandemic COVID-19.
Avoid relapse triggers
Self-isolation and boredom might create a feeling of loneliness and develop negative emotions. With this, there’s a high chance that they will relapse at some point. To avoid turning back to the use of the substance, you need to identify the steps you need to take to avoid triggers for relapse. By knowing what the common triggers are, it would be less challenging to deal with them the healthy way and maintain your sobriety.
Here are some essential tips to help you avoid relapse triggers and stay sober.
Limit your social media.
Spending too much on social media can make someone to develop loneliness and depression, according to studies. One primary reason is that people tend to compare their lives to others, and that makes them feel inferior. Moreover, the FOMO (Fear of missing out ) effect could also trigger relapse since it can impact a person’s self-esteem that could lead to depression.
Take care of your physical health.
While physical activities should include sports participation, active recreation, cycling, and walking, none of those can be done during this time of lockdown. However, it doesn’t mean that you can’t do any physical movement inside your home. Walking back and forth in your living room and a little stretching can already help to relieve muscle strain to improve blood circulation. With this, it can help you to ease any mental tension. However, to avoid any injuries, we recommend starting with simple exercises and gradually increase the intensity.
Try a new hobby.
Aside from establishing a daily exercise routine, it is also good to start a new hobby like indoor gardening, learn how to bake or cook, sewing, or you can even write a book of your own if you want to take a higher level of a hobby. There are lots of hobbies that you could choose from that would divert your attention and energy away from relapse. And more importantly, choose the one that makes you happy.
Maintain a routine schedule.
Keeping yourself busy on different things is also a great way to combat boredom and loneliness and to avoid any chances of having a relapse. Consider getting an online class of something that could make you productive and learn something new. If you haven’t read a book before, perhaps this is the best time to read one. Never make a dull moment; there are lots of things you can do without even leaving your home.
Stay connected with your support group.
To avoid getting lonely, don’t forget to reach out with your loved one and friends that truly support your goals of recovery. Keep in touch with them through phone and video calls. Always update them on what you feel at the moment. And more importantly, always be open with them and to all of their comfort and advice.
Stay Involved with your Therapy
Social distancing during this pandemic period doesn’t mean social isolation. You still need to see your doctor if you need to. You can also participate in group meetings (online) with your support group to lessen the feeling of loneliness. If you are attending counseling, don’t skip any session.
Being isolated due to the coronavirus lockdown doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything about it. Don’t let this crisis destroy everything that you have worked for in your recovery journey. Always remember these tips to avoid relapse triggers and stay sober.
Court Nichols is the program director for detox and addiction rehab treatment facilities. He helps others focus on a lifestyle of sober living with healthy diet and exercises and many other mental and physical health habits.