Self-isolating is hard enough. Then, add the pressure of trying to maintain control of addictive behavior, and everything is magnified. Preventing a relapse during the unknowns of a pandemic such as COVID-19 can put you through a true test of your willpower.
LA Detox is committed to providing a strong support system during this time of uncertainty. We are available and ready to answer questions and provide suggestions to help prevent a relapse from occurring.
Self-isolation can create many temptations that may break your focus of working hard to remain sober. It is always important to concentrate on mental and physical health, but during these trying times, more effort needs to be taken. Here are some suggestions of ways to avoid drug or alcohol relapse during the COVID-19 pandemic:
1. Stay Connected With Your Support System
More than likely, friends and family have provided you with a strong support system during your journey of recovering from drug or alcohol addiction. The very last thing that those in your support circle want to see is for you to relapse during your recovery phase.
Due to the pandemic and social distancing guidelines, it is almost certain that you are spending time away from many of those people in your support system. This lack or limit of contact can make life very frustrating for someone who relies on interaction with those around them for support. It is important, and fortunately quite possible, in this age of technology to find new ways to stay in contact though.
Video conferencing apps such as FaceTime, Zoom, and Google Meet make it easy to have virtual “face-to-face” conversations with the use of a digital device. If this method of staying connected isn’t possible for you in your circumstance then a phone call is still a simple way to stay in touch. The most important thing is to find whatever works in your situation and be sure to use it. These “voices of reason” may be just what you need to prevent a relapse.
At LA Detox we are here to guide you and offer a strong, continued support system that includes many options and suggestions of the type of support group or groups that is best suited for your specific needs. It is found that those who attend recovery meetings are more likely to remain in recovery.
It is important to improve and/or maintain a healthy body during the pandemic. Exercise releases a lot of good chemicals in the brain called endorphins that provide us with an overall happier sense of life. These endorphins can aid in preventing a relapse.
The temptation to skip exercise during this time can be strong, but it is important to remember that exercise plays a key role in having a strong immune system, preventing weight gain, improving the quality of sleep, and reducing stress and anxiety.
Even a little movement each day is better than none. If you find that your desire to exercise is dwindling or nonexistent, challenge yourself, or a friend, with daily or weekly goals. Competition is a great motivator!
Depending on the restrictions of the physical limitations that mandate how far you are allowed to go beyond the four walls of your home, exercise can take many forms. As we know, gyms and fitness centers are closed but there are many creative things that you can do to keep moving. Some examples of exercise that can be done within your home include:
- Jumping jacks
- Running in place
- Participating in online exercise classes
- Weight lifting
If you are allowed to venture beyond your own four walls and exercise outside, the possibilities are limitless. Biking, running, and walking are just a few of the ways to keep moving.
3. Stick To A Routine
Maintaining a routine can be helpful when you are working through the process of the recovery stage and trying to prevent a relapse. In a pandemic situation where life is very full of unknowns, and an overwhelming amount of stressful information is bombarding you in every direction, establishing or maintaining a daily routine can provide a sense of purpose.
Your routine may be as simple as making your bed every morning, walking the dog, or eating breakfast, and then exercising. If you get up each day knowing that you have items on your personal to-do list that needs to be taken care of then this gives you direction. An established routine provides motivation to remain sober and may help you from relapsing during the pandemic.
It is easy to understand why everyone’s stress levels are vastly elevated during the COVID-19 pandemic. Stress can cause many psychological changes to occur, and can potentially trigger a relapse of your drug or alcohol addiction. Meditation is one way to relieve some of that stress.
Meditation provides a break from the overabundance of information that can overwhelm us during a time of crisis such as the pandemic. It has been proven to improve both physical and mental health. Meditation can bring about a sense of calm, it can reduce anxiety and also lower your blood pressure. It allows quiet time for you to focus solely on yourself without any distractions.
5. Focus On Sleep
Our bodies need a good night’s rest for both mental and physical health reasons. Sleep may not come easily during this time of uncertainty, but it is very important for those in recovery, in that it can help to prevent a relapse. The amount of sleep that you get can affect many things. Getting the right amount of sleep can improve your overall mood and also allow you to focus.
Maintaining a nighttime routine and schedule will improve the chances of creating a pattern of good, quality sleep. Some ways to decompress before bedtime include:
- Turn off your cell phone or put it on airplane mode
- Take a shower or bath
- Listen to soft music
- Read a book
6. Maintain A Healthy Diet
Boredom can be overwhelming while self-isolating during the COVID-19 pandemic. Boredom can also lead you to find yourself snacking your way through the long hours of each day. It is important to remember that part of staying healthy is maintaining a balanced diet.
A healthy diet provides the right nutrients and vitamins necessary to fuel a healthy mindset that can, in turn, prevent a relapse. Eating well also allows us to maintain a healthy, strong body that can fight off illness.
There are various ways a body reacts when it does not get a sufficient amount of vitamins it requires. A lack of certain vitamins and minerals can make you feel depressed or have less energy. These are just some of the driving factors that may push you to be tempted back to the very drug or alcohol addiction that you’ve worked so hard to overcome.
Some foods like fruit, shellfish, eggs, and cashews can help to boost your immune system. Other foods that are rich in magnesium, as well as fatty fish that are rich in Omega-2 fatty acids, have been found to lessen stress and anxiety.
7. Adopt Or Foster A Pet
If you’re looking for a way to have companionship and feel needed then adding a pet to your life during the pandemic may just be what you should consider. Animals can add a new level of joy and comfort during this unsettling time. The needs of a pet can also contribute to keeping you busy with walks, training, or playtime and leave little time for quiet moments that may lead to a relapse.
If the responsibility of adding a full-time, forever pet is not something you feel that you can handle, then fostering may be the solution for you. Fostering a pet is a temporary situation that still provides the companionship and love from an animal without the commitment of adopting. There is no doubt that adding a pet to your home will add many smiles and a true sense of unconditional love.
8. Write In A Journal
Journaling has long been used as a way to process thoughts and emotions. Writing your feelings down on paper can be a therapeutic exercise for your mental health. It can bring about a better sense of understanding of the situations going on in own your world or the world around you, and help you fit the puzzle pieces together. These are all beneficial things that can help you process your feelings and help prevent you from relapsing during the pandemic.
Journaling can provide a mental release not only from the stresses in your life, but can also help you to focus on the things in your life that bring you joy. There is no judgment when it comes to writing your thoughts or ideas in a journal. Your written expression of emotions and feelings are for your eyes only and can help to make your mind feel less cluttered and more focused.
Some ways that journaling can help include:
- Helping to prioritize fears, problems or concerns
- Providing a way to track any symptoms of possible relapse each day and help you recognize triggers
- Providing time for self-reflection
9. Grow A Garden
There is something about putting your hands in the dirt and working with plants that can be very therapeutic. The process that begins with readying the soil, to the final stage of seeing what you planted thrive, is rewarding.
Life during the pandemic can create moments of feeling out of control, much like life for someone who is addicted to drugs and/or alcohol. Gardening can help bring the focus back into your life. Sometimes that sense of purpose is all that is needed to continue to move forward.
Gardening is good for you in many ways. It requires you to be outside where sunshine and fresh air are abundant. There are many ongoing tasks that need to be done – plants require water and weeds need to be pulled. The final stage of a garden provides the joy of harvesting vegetables or flowers.
All of these steps provide solid remedies that keep your mental and physical health in good shape. The attention that is diverted to your garden means that there is less time spent dwelling on other triggers that may cause a relapse.
10. Learn Something New
Filling your time during the pandemic is important in maintaining control and avoiding a relapse. Because we have so much time on our hands it can be a great opportunity to learn something new.
Here are a few ideas of things to try:
- Learn a new language
- Take an online cooking class
- Learn how to do calligraphy
- Take a photography course
- Learn how to edit photos
- Begin painting
- Explore how to play a musical instrument
The pandemic supplies everyone with plenty of downtimes, which can provide you with the perfect opportunity to expand your personal knowledge. The act of learning is beneficial in many ways.
Learning something new can help promote a feeling of confidence in yourself. When you master the new skill your mental health benefits and boosts your morale and brings on a sense of accomplishment.
How Can LA Detox Help Me During the Pandemic?
LA Detox remains open and the staff is still available to provide you with the support that you need during the COVID-19 pandemic. During these uncertain times, it is necessary for you to feel that you still have control over preventing a relapse.
Our motto is “help is within reach” and we are here for you every step of the way. Please contact us for more information.