Staying home, practicing social distancing, and washing your hands frequently are great ways to protect yourself and others against COVID-19. Along with taking care of your physical health, it is also important to take care of your emotional and mental health. If you are in recovery, consider the self-check-in questions below to not only help manage anxiety and stress but also to help you avoid relapse and stay focused on your path to recovery.
Waking up each morning, reminding yourself of your goals, and focusing on your recovery plan will increase your chances for long-term recovery. Your plan should include a list of healthy activities, recognition of triggers and warning signs, and a crisis management plan.
Because of social distancing, it is also important to create a daily schedule or routine to help bring back a sense of normalcy to your day.
Identify your triggers that lead to a desire to consume drugs or alcohol. This may include relationship struggles, being around others who are using drugs or alcohol, negative or challenging emotions, and times of celebration.
Consider HALT. Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired.
Evaluate your emotional state and if you are feeling extremely hungry, angry, lonely or tired, prioritize taking care of your well-being to help prevent relapse.
Again, having a routine that includes scheduled well-balanced meals, quality time with supportive company, even if it’s virtually, and personal time for self-care and rest can help prevent cravings.
It is increasingly clear that we are all in this together. Although you may be distancing socially, there are many ways to remain connected to those who support you. Strengthen relationships with community groups, loved ones, and colleagues.
Resources that may help:
- Digital all recovery meetings – 4x daily meetings 9am, 12pm, 3pm, 9pm EST unityrecovery.zoom.us/my/allrecovery
- List of online meetings by phone, email, video conference, and chat rooms http://www.aa-intergroup.org/
- In The Rooms online recovery community (includes support group for those feeling stressed about the pandemic) https://www.intherooms.com/home/live-meetings/
- SMART Recovery online meetings https://www.smartrecovery.org/community/calendar.php
- Spanish-speaking online resource https://grupoaaskype.es.tl/
- Online recovery chat rooms https://stepchat.com/chat/room1.htm
- Online 12-Step Meetings https://www.12step.org/social/online-meetings/
- Lion Rock Online AA and Support Groups https://www.lionrockrecovery.com/online-aa-meetings-and-support-groups
- Al-Anon Electronic Meetings https://al-anon.org/al-anon-meetings/electronic-meetings/
Enjoying the company of loved ones does not mean you shouldn’t set personal boundaries as well. It is important to keep a healthy balance of bonding with your family and focusing on your own wellness.
If you are feeling added pressure within your relationships at home, setting boundaries can prevent tension from rising and benefit everyone’s mental health.
If discord arises, remain calm, take a moment to breathe and gather your thoughts, then verbalize what would be helpful to you at that moment. While level-headed, be clear about your boundaries, feelings, and needs.
As you implement boundaries, this may also allow more time for you to practice self-care. For example, you could say something like, “Hey, I’m feeling overwhelmed today and I need to relax. After dinner tonight, I’m going to take a bath and read.”
Remember to check-in with yourself so that you can stay focused on what’s important—your well-being. Consider what you have control over, like your day and schedule, and take charge over that. Remain focused on your plan, lean on your support system and set healthy boundaries.