At this point, the COVID-19 pandemic has been running rampant across the United States for about a month. In order to slow the spread, many people are social distancing and self-isolating.
In our last post, we talked a bit about how, even though self-isolating is effective at slowing the spread of a virus, it can be difficult for people’s mental health – particularly for those who are recovering from addiction. Loneliness can trigger relapse for many people. In that post, we talked about how it’s important to be proactive and find other ways to spend time with family, friends, and your recovery group before any feelings of loneliness become too strong.
However, it’s likely you’ll still find yourself alone and bored more than once before the pandemic ends. In these moments, you can fend off loneliness by keeping yourself busy. We know that can be easier said than done, so here are a few tips for keeping productive while self-isolating to avoid boredom and loneliness, and lower the possibility of triggering a relapse.
Take it One Step at a Time
Once you have everything written out in front of you, it’s easy to get overwhelmed, freeze up, and do nothing. Instead, set realistic expectations for yourself. Focus on one thing at a time, and let yourself know it’s okay if you don’t finish everything you thought you would. There’s always tomorrow.
Remember Your “Why”
To be productive, we need motivation.
If you’ve spent too many days in a row binge-watching a show on Netflix or Hulu, take a moment to remember what’s motivating you to get up and be productive. Your commitment to achieving lifelong recovery, your overall physical and mental health, making your loved ones happy and proud of you – these certainly aren’t the only possible motivators, but they’re all excellent and valid reasons to get up and do something.
Keep Track of the Changes
Are you in a better mood when your home is clean? Do you feel more confident after a few weeks of eating clean and exercising?
Keep note of the changes you’re making in your life and celebrate them. The more positives you’re able to notice, the more motivated you will be to keep up these new habits.
Times are uncertain and a little bit scary right now. It’s okay if you have some days where all you want to do is curl into a ball and watch TV. Remember, though, that to protect your mental health and lower your chances of triggering a relapse, it’s important to keep a sense of purpose and stay busy.