Staying connected is such an integral part of recovery, which makes the current situation an especially tricky one for people in recovery. To support the recovery community, who has extra pressure to stay safe and sane, here are seven tips for staying connected and protecting your mental health during this time:
1. Pick up your phone. We’re so lucky to have all the communication tools we do today, so make the most of them! Group text threads can replace support groups, FaceTime calls can replace coffee dates, and video conferencing can replace meetings. Set up regular video chats with your sponsor and closest friends, and treat them like normal hang outs. Make a cup of tea and get into your favourite chair, or set out on a walk “together”, and focus on each other for a while.
2. Get exercise, however you can. It only takes 90 minutes of walking to reach 10,000 steps, so between an hour walk and your regular movements, you can easily reach 10,000 steps per day. Many gyms and yoga studios are offering online streaming of their classes, and there are thousands of yoga and exercise classes available on YouTube.
3. Focus on your self care. To stay safe and sane, take care of yourself in every way you can. Keep your living space clean and tidy, maintain your hygiene, eat and sleep regularly and well. Put on an outfit you feel good in every morning, and allocate time to do an activity you enjoy every single day.
4. Meditate, or try. It’s not for everyone, but in times like these that can really increase our feelings of anxiety or depression, it’s worth a try. Headspace has created a free collection of meditations, sleep, and movement exercises called Weathering the Storm.
5. Enjoy the #TogetherAtHome concert series and hashtag. The Together At Home concert series features some huge musical acts (Coldplay, John Legend, and more) performing concerts for us from their living rooms, and the concerts stay online so don’t worry about missing them. The hashtag on Twitter and Instagram are where people are sharing games, activities, and other ways to interact with each other from our homes.
6. Maintain your schedule. Keep waking up at a healthy time, keeping going to bed 7-8 hours before you want to wake up, and keep eating three meals a day at the usual times. Keep attending 12-step meetings online. If you have more time on your hands now than you used to, start filling up those hours with healthy activities immediately. What’s something you’ve always wanted to do, but have never had time? Whether it’s being able to run 5k or knit a sweater, there are online tools available to help you, so start working toward goals that will help you occupy your time and keep you focused on self-improvement.
7. Watch a TV show with your friends. Use a tool like Netflix Party to watch something together, or just agree to watch an episode per day or per week, and share your reactions in your group chat. Choose something gripping or hilarious, whatever works as a distraction from current events and gives you something to bond over with your friends.
8. Listen to podcasts that boost your mood and support your recovery. There are so many excellent comedy podcasts, and a number of amazing recovery podcasts, that can be great company while you’re taking a long walk, cooking, cleaning, or just relaxing.
Have you already been using these tips for staying safe and sane? How are they working for you? Share any of your own tips in the comments below!