Tips for Staying Sober During Quarantine

These are uncertain times, and the stress and anxiety everyone is feeling as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic has left many people feeling unsettled. For those who are also navigating recovery, the added turmoil placed by Shelter-in-Place or Stay at Home and quarantine orders can complicate matters. 

If you are in recovery and feeling anxious, it’s important to know that depression, anxiety, and social isolation have long been identified as triggers for substance abuse. Recognizing and acknowledging that fact can empower you to take a proactive approach to staying healthy and sober as the world continues to respond to this unprecedented global issue.

Managing Depression

One of the best ways to avoid or manage depression is to remain active and engaged. That can be challenging during a quarantine or Shelter-in-Place directives, but it is possible. Try to find ways to stay active and get some fresh air. Most cities allow you to take a walk, run, or bike ride, as long as you maintain at least 6 feet of distance from others who do not share your household. Even 10 – 20 minutes a day periodically through out the day can make a big difference. Reading daily meditation and 12 step books are extremely helpful, especially personal stories.  If you have tested positive for coronavirus and have been asked to remain in your home, find some exercise videos to help you keep active. Make a gratitude a list of 10 things you are grateful for and 10 things you like about yourself each day.  Don’t be afraid to open the windows and let some air circulate.

Reducing Anxiety

Anxiety is a normal part of any significant event, and something as uncertain as a global health pandemic is sure to make everyone feel more anxious than normal. There are steps you can take to reduce your anxiety and try and achieve more balance during this time of uncertainty. One thing you should strongly consider is limiting the time you spend watching or reading coverage of the topic. There’s nothing wrong with staying informed, but too much time focusing on media coverage can make the situation seem more dire than it really is. Consider giving yourself a couple of short windows of time each day to check in with the news, then focus your attention elsewhere.

Writing and journaling is a great way to reduce anxiety and anger as well as discovering whats really going on at the root of your fear.

Many people find that tackling household chores provides and outlet for stress and anxiety. Since you’re stuck at home anyway, make a list of jobs you’ve been putting off for lack of time. The COVID-19 situation will improve, and you could emerge with a more organized pantry, closets, and photo albums than when the crisis began. Putting things in order can help you feel more in control of your immediate environment, and is well worth the effort.

Fighting Social Isolation

COVID-19 guidelines require a degree of isolation, but that doesn’t mean you can’t connect online or over the phone. Find an online recovery group and meetings to join, and take time to connect with friends and loved ones. You’ll not only feel less isolated, you can also brighten the day of someone else who is feeling alone and concerned about quarantine and what the future holds. Making at least one call a day to someone else to see how they are doing can transform your day.

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