9 Ways To Cope With The Mental Health Challenges Of COVID-19

The COVID-19 outbreak has drastically affected our day-to-day lives. This situation is challenging for everyone, but it can be especially difficult for people recovering from substance use disorders.

Here are nine strategies you can use to cope with the unique mental health challenges that come with this pandemic:

1. Establish A Modified Support System

Before the coronavirus, you likely had a support system of people to lean on when you experienced cravings or triggers. However, when you are no longer able to see these people face-to-face, it can be harder to get the support you need.

Think of ways to maintain connections with your support system while still following social distancing recommendations.

For example, you may schedule FaceTime or Skype sessions with members of your support system on a regular basis so you can keep the relationship strong. It’s also a good idea to formulate a plan for how to connect with someone when you feel triggered or stressed.

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2. Develop A Routine

Every person in recovery understands the importance of maintaining a routine to support sobriety. With the current government recommendations, however, it may be impossible to keep up with your previous routines.

To make daily life easier, create a new routine for yourself. Keep this new schedule as close to your old one as possible, but make any necessary modifications to keep yourself safe.

For example, if you are now working from home, try to wake up at the same time and work during the same hours you normally would.

3. Keep Your Body Strong

Keeping your body as healthy as possible during the pandemic is useful for reducing your risk of infection, as well as for protecting your sobriety and overall well-being.

Be sure to eat healthy meals at the same time of day as usual. Drink plenty of water and go to bed early enough to get the appropriate amount of sleep.

Although it may be harder to eat healthy under the current circumstances, you can still make an effort to cook balanced meals with shelf-stable ingredients, including canned and frozen vegetables.

4. Don’t Spend Too Much Time Listening To The News

It is important to keep up with the latest COVID-19 updates in order to make sure you’re following the government’s instructions.

However, you should limit the amount of time you spend watching the news or reading articles about the pandemic. Spending too much time on these topics can cause mental anguish, leading to drug cravings and a higher risk of relapse.

5. Talk With Friends And Family Via FaceTime Or Skype

Because of the pandemic, social distancing is recommended for everyone. In fact, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, COVID-19 may even be more dangerous for people with a history of substance abuse.

Being in isolation is difficult for anyone, especially those who struggle with addiction. Fortunately, technology gives you plenty of options to keep in contact with your friends and family. Make use of FaceTime, Skype, and voice calls to maintain these important connections.

6. If Possible, Get Some Fresh Air

Social distancing doesn’t always require you to remain indoors. If you live in an area where you can take a walk without getting too close to other people, take advantage of this opportunity.

The fresh air and time in the sunlight can lift your spirits and improve your overall health. If you can’t safely go for a walk, try to spend some time sitting on your porch or outside.

7. Be Thankful For What You Have

Even in the face of the COVID-19 outbreak, you can still practice gratefulness. Take time each day to be thankful for the roof over your head, the food in your kitchen, your relationships, and your sobriety.

Setting time aside to think about your blessings will help you keep the pandemic in perspective and maintain better mental health throughout this difficult time.

8. Continue Support Group Meetings

In light of restrictions on large gatherings, it may not be possible to attend support group meetings in person. However, support groups can still meet online thanks to technology and other telehealth efforts.

If your support group is not holding online meetings, look for another group that is continuing to meet remotely.

9. Reach Out When You Have A Problem

It is normal and expected to experience difficulty in times like these. If you find yourself feeling stressed, triggered, or overwhelmed, reach out for help. Talk to members of your support system or call a professional to get immediate help.

Addiction treatment is an essential health need, and all of our campuses remain open. Our clinical staff and team members have taken measures to keep patients safe while we continue to address the disease of addiction.

Please contact us today if you need help.

National Institute on Drug Abuse - COVID-19: Potential Implications for Individuals with Substance Use Disorders

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