The ongoing global pandemic has increased stress levels for people everywhere. For those suffering from drug and or alcohol addiction, the situation may be even harder to cope than for others. Social distancing and mandated lockdowns have made seeking help and sticking to healthy routines challenging. And, as we head into the holiday season, things can get even more difficult, as we tend to feel even more separated from the important people in our lives.
Even though we are still not out of the woods yet finding a cure or lowering infections, it’s essential to follow CDC guidelines and regulations to keep ourselves and others safe. There’s no getting around that for the time being. So how do you make sure you aren’t giving in to temptation during this difficult period?
If you or a loved one are experiencing increased symptoms of depression, stress, and anxiety due to the pandemic and have found it challenging to stay sober during these times, you are not alone. Recovery can still happen even during this ongoing pandemic. By understanding your triggers and following our tips for staying sober, you can stay on track without the fear of relapsing.
Tip #1: Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
Even though businesses have closed down due to lockdowns and safety protocols, there are more alternatives out there for professional guidance than you might expect. Don’t hesitate to ask for help or support if you feel overwhelmed by the current situation.
You do not have to fight your addictions alone; a few alternatives to consider include:
- calling your sponsor
- attending online Zoom sessions
- speaking on the phone to a sober friend or family member
Even though physical interactions have been regulated, there are many options for you to stay connected. With the use of smartphones and computers, it is easier than ever to discuss your issues online with a professional or friend from the comfort of your home.
By attending weekly online or individual sessions, you can hold yourself accountable on your journey to recovery. This will also give you something to look forward to during the week. If you feel stressed out or lonely, this is the time to speak about your feelings and perhaps gain new insights on how you can better cope with any issues.
Tip #2: Find a Hobby to Keep Busy
Finding healthy ways to cope during these stressful times will keep you from going back to old coping habits. By staying busy and entertained, you will feel more engaged and accomplished. Some forms of healthy distractions may include:
- playing a virtual game night with family or friends
A healthy coping mechanism that keeps you distracted will keep you on the right path. You have to find the activity or hobby that is best for you and which will not trigger stress. Keep in mind that these new coping mechanisms may be different for everyone, so it’s okay to experiment with other hobbies.
While finding hobbies that suit you, this is a great time to implement a healthy self-care routine. By taking care of your mind and body, you will help ease any stress that you are feeling; these tips for staying sober may include:
- practicing mindfulness
- eating your favorite meals
- cleaning your home
Self-care can increase your mental health to improve your overall well-being. It can also help to create a healthy environment for you to stay focused on your goals.
Tip #3: Be Active and Go Outside
When we stay cooped up in our homes for an extended period, our bodies and mind can become restless. It is a great time to get outside and get your heart pumping, body moving, and breathe in some fresh air if the weather permits.
You don’t need to run a marathon to enjoy the many benefits that exercise has. Instead, start with a simple slow-paced walk, and it can help more than you know. Regular exercise of any sort does wonders for mental and physical health such as:
- reduces stress
- reduces tiredness
- increases mental focus
- increases energy and stamina
- improves mood
- improves sleep
While you exercise, your body increases neurotransmitters in the brain known as endorphins, commonly known as the “feel-good” hormone. Daily exercise will keep levels of endorphins up, helping to improve your overall mood.
Just remember to bring a mask with you and wear it whenever you run into anybody else outside.
Tip #4: Set Up Goals and a Plan
The sudden onset of this pandemic took hold of our country and the world within a short period. No one could have seen lockdowns and social distancing being a part of our everyday norm. Since people could not have planned for something this drastic, many were not prepared for what was to come. However, now that we have begun to see the light at the end of the tunnel, we can prepare for our future. Having a plan in place will help you stick to a routine and decrease the chances of relapse.
Having a plan also reduces stress and anxiety because you no longer need to worry about the future. During the planning process, it’s essential to add the goals that you want to achieve. By doing this, you stay focused on what is ahead. Did you know that writing down your goals makes them more likely to happen? You can plan as far in advance as the next day, week, month, or even year; planning may include:
- things you want to have and own
- getting a new job
If setting up a plan to stay sober is too challenging, you don’t need to make one on your own. By asking friends or family and professionals for help, they can help you create a routine that will keep you sober.
Tips for Staying Sober: Conclusion
We hope that these tips for staying sober can help you now and, in the future, to continue your journey to recovery. If the stress caused by this pandemic has become too much to handle, it’s best always to seek professional help.
Here at Serenity Springs, we have taken all the necessary precautions to keep our patients and staff safe. We are here to help you through your addiction one step at a time while maintaining social distancing and cleaning protocols. Visit us online to learn more about the inpatient and outpatient programs we offer and get started on your journey to recovery today.