COVID-19 restrictions have altered the daily fabric of life throughout the U.S. Due to stay-at-home orders, many people are struggling with stressors, such as unemployment and isolation. These factors often lead to depression and increased levels of stress. This can make it challenging to maintain sobriety. In this article, we’ll review a few ways to deal effectively with stress, anxiety, and isolation.
The Importance of Staying Connected
Staying connected with others is one of the most important things you can do to support your mental health. While you might not be able to leave the house right now, there are plenty of resources you can take advantage of, including virtual social support groups and remote recovery tools that’ll limit your isolation until life returns to normal.
Virtual social support networks offer online recovery meetings you can participate in from home. Options such as online Alcoholics Anonymous meetings provide opportunities to communicate with others struggling with similar issues.
Committing to a regular online meeting creates consistency and gives you the chance to develop supportive relationships with others who understand what you’re going through. Attendance can be challenging if you live with others — due to interruptions and privacy concerns. However, the great thing about virtual social support networks is that you can participate in meetings or reach out for contact when and where it’s convenient for you. Online sessions take place at all hours, so you should be able to find one scheduled during a time when those you live with are least likely to interrupt.
Remote recovery tools can also play a role in helping you successfully navigate this stressful period. For example, Soberlink’s remote alcohol monitoring system can help you stay on track now and once the lockdown ends. The Share Program™ lets you establish a regular testing schedule and share real-time results and reports with members of your recovery circle and others critical to your recovery process. This creates consistency and accountability for you and lets members of your support network see how you’re progressing, so they can reach out and provide support if you need it.
Thanks to Soberlink’s remote alcohol monitoring, you can test wherever it’s convenient for you — at home or on the go. Soberlink has devices that work via Wi-Fi or a cellular connection — eliminating the need for in-person testing and making it convenient to incorporate alcohol testing into just about any lifestyle. You can even use our remote testing devices after the lockdown ends.
Strengthen Your Support Network
While it might be difficult to extend your support network in times of isolation, you can always work to strengthen already-existing ties with friends and family members. Create consistency and bolster your relationships with others by designating regular times to interact with the important people in your life. Video and regular calls both work. Don’t leave things to chance — come up with a regular contact schedule and stick to it.
Take a Virtual Class
Boredom can be difficult to manage if you’re unable to leave the house. Staying mentally active will go a long way towards helping you maintain your sobriety in these uncertain times. Taking a virtual class will engage your mind and reduce boredom, both of which can aid the recovery process. Several universities and organizations offer online courses, many of which are totally free. Udemy, Coursera and Khan Academy are all great resources with classes on a variety of topics.
Manage Stress Levels
Stress can be a huge trigger if you’re in recovery, so it pays to find productive ways to keep anxiety under control. Getting daily exercise, eating well, and committing to a daily routine are all healthy ways to reduce tension.
Studies have shown regular exercise to be one of the most effective ways to reduce stress. Consistency is key. Pick an activity you enjoy and commit to engaging in it for at least 30 minutes a day. Exercise increases endorphins and can improve your overall sense of mental well-being.
Healthy eating can also be beneficial. Diets high in sugar, carbohydrates, and fat have been linked to increased levels of depression and anxiety. Opting for fresh fruit and vegetables is a natural way to manage stress. Avoid loading up on chips, candy, and sugary snacks. And don’t buy unhealthy food if anxiety turns you into a cookie monster.
Although it may be difficult to implement, committing to a daily routine can also reduce anxiety in the face of change and isolation. Create a schedule for yourself and follow it. Set aside time every day to engage in activities you enjoy. If you’re currently living with children, roommates, or family members, make sure to include personal time in your plan.
Avoiding triggers is just as crucial to the recovery process as managing anxiety. Social media and the unrelenting drumbeat of scary news both have the potential to derail your recovery by bombarding you with unrealistic images and stress-inducing reports about events you can’t control. Social interaction and information are both critical under the current circumstances, so completely avoiding social media and news is probably unrealistic. Instead, consider establishing daily time limits to control your consumption of stress-promoting images and news.
Given the magnitude of current events, you might still suffer from increased anxiety even if you’re avoiding social media and reducing your exposure to depressing news. If so, telehealth tools, such as online therapy sessions, can provide more support. Online therapy is a fantastic resource if you’re unable to participate in face-to-face meetings. It’s is a great way to receive an extra bit of personalized support to help you stay healthy and sober during these challenging times.
Many treatment professionals are familiar with and regularly incorporate Soberlink’s remote alcohol testing with professional-grade breathalyzers into their work thanks to the easy-to-read reports generated by the technology. It gives therapists state-of-the-art tools they can use — whether they’re working from home or in the office — to stay on top of your progress and determine if you need additional support or treatment.
About the Author
Soberlink supports accountability for sobriety through a comprehensive alcohol monitoring system. Combining a breathalyzer with wireless connectivity, the portable design and technology includes facial recognition, tamper detection and real-time reporting. Soberlink proves sobriety with reliability to foster trust and peace of mind.