The COVID-19 virus has required most of the country to be placed under some type of stay at home or self-quarantine orders. While this can be an inconvenience at best and a major life disruption at worst, it is necessary in order to bring the coronavirus pandemic under control so that our world can get back to normal once more.
Periods of isolation can be very difficult for some people. They can make relapse a concern. However, there are things you can focus on during this time that can help you stay mentally and physically healthy and strong. Do these six things every day and before you know it things will be back to normal and quite possibly better than ever, and you will have maintained your health, safety, and your recovery through it all:
Stay Physically Active
Even when there’s a stay-at-home order you can still go outside for a walk or a run as long as you practice social distancing by keeping six feet away from others. Staying focused on your fitness goals and getting fresh air and sunshine will keep those endorphins flowing and keep you in great physical shape. Your heart, lungs, muscles, and mind will thank you for it!
Set a Schedule and Follow It
During isolation, it can be easy to let yourself sleep more and more each day, become unmotivated, and do nothing but sit in front of the television. You may find yourself feeling more depressed and hopeless with each passing day. Avoid this downward spiral by creating a daily schedule for yourself. Rather than sleeping late every day, set a time to get up and get your day started, possibly with a brisk morning walk and then a refreshing shower. Set times throughout the day for activities, meals, and bedtime. Allow yourself one or two days per week to sleep in, but schedule activities were those days as well.
Avoid Media Overexposure
While it is important to keep up with the latest information and developments regarding the pandemic, it’s possible to find yourself watching every news report and reading every article related to the pandemic. While staying up-to-date is important, doing so relentlessly can be unhealthy. There is a lot of false information out there, and some of it can be pretty scary. Choose one or two reputable news sources and check in with them occasionally, perhaps once a day. None of us needs to be flooded with constant media coverage.
Take Steps to Avoid Relapse
Recovering addicts need to avoid relapse during these difficult times. The counselors at centers for addiction treatment in LA and other cities under stay-at-home orders suggest focusing on the same steps utilized to stay clean. Read and write in a journal to help you focus on how far you've come, your achievements, and your goals for the future. Call a friend and confide in them if you find yourself feeling weak. Call your sponsor. Go online, find a 24-hour emergency center for addiction help. Right now, they are overstaffing in order to help people get through this time safely and without relapsing.
Don't completely isolate yourself from others. Just because we cannot spend time together in person does not mean that we cannot connect via telephone, social media, or email. Stay in touch with friends and loved ones in order to keep one another's spirits up. Remember, although you may be feeling stress and anxiety at being isolated, hearing your voice or getting a message from you may be just the thing someone else needs to cheer them up and help them get through difficult times as well. Never underestimate the joy that you bring to others.
Maintain Good Hygiene and Cleanliness
Don't use being stuck at home as an excuse to become a slob. Everyone feels better when they are clean and when their surroundings are neat and orderly. Shower at least every other day and put on clean clothes. Brush your teeth and hair. Keep floors picked up and furniture clear of clutter. Don't let dirty dishes or trash pile up. And don’t forget to thoroughly wash your hands throughout the day! You will quickly find that being in a clean environment will keep your spirits boosted and make you feel motivated.
Eat Healthy and Nutritious Meals
It's true that most of us are using this time to indulge in a little comfort food now and again, and as long as it is kept to a minimum, that's fine. However, you don't want to sit and eat junk food all day long, day in and day out. Prepare healthy meals that include protein, vegetables, and healthy fats. Now is the perfect time to get online and research which foods contain the most vitamins and nutrients, choose your favorites, and develop some healthy new eating habits. You'll be pleasantly surprised when you discover the difference eating right will have on not just how you look, but also how you feel.
The world will “open up” again soon and when it does, you want to be ready to get out there and be part of it again. Follow these steps and you will be happy to find you're enjoying life more than ever, healthy, substance-free, and ready for every awesome thing the future has in store for you.
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