COVID-19 has created uncertainty for all of us. The impact of isolation, economic hardship, and stress can be especially challenging for those who are also struggling with substance use and substance abuse disorders. Skills for managing the stressors of everyday life are a key focus for our Chemical Dependency programs, but recovery tools are even more important during a crisis. Janice Leonardi, Director of Chemical Dependency at Rochester Regional Health, gives her treatment team’s five best recovery tips to avoid becoming overwhelmed and help people who are struggling with substance use and abuse.
Routines can give people a sense of purpose. Make sure that you get up, get dressed, and prepare for your day the same way you would have if you weren’t in isolation. Strive to achieve at least one accomplishment every day.
Make an effort to reach out to those who are supportive of your recovery even though you cannot see them in person. Arrange a time to call them more frequently or explore free video chat formats like Skype or Zoom.
Most of the traditional recovery communities (like AA/NA, etc.) also have established virtual meetings online. Explore a new support group to connect with others who are struggling with substance abuse or substance use, or other similar challenges right now. Take the opportunity to grow the diversity of your support networks.
Develop a list of activities you have always wanted to try at home or pick up a lost hobby. Look into creative ways to express yourself and how you are feeling in this current state—art, music, journaling, etc. Schedule this activity into your day so that you don’t lose sight of it.
This could be guided by mindfulness exercises or sessions to help you focus on the things within your control and stopping negative trains of thoughts. It could also help to focus on other healthy habits at this time like refining your diet, getting more exercise, playing games, or brain exercises, and organizing your living space.
Getting out for fresh air and connecting with nature can help you feel more at peace after being cooped up for a long time.
Some people struggling with substance abuse or substance use lose the ability to have fun without substances. This is an important part of recovery that should not be lost at a time like this.
Set a fixed time to problem-solve the most urgent issues each day, but also make time to step away and take a break.
Connect with the people you love and enjoy all of the things for which you are grateful.
Check out the schedule of Recovery Tele-Support Groups that were developed specifically to provide coping skills in times of crisis. Rapid admission is available for new and existing patients. Patients choose their topics and frequency of attendance.
Our philosophy is to meet and accept every individual wherever they are in their path to recovery.Learn More
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