The COVID-19 pandemic has put mental health into the spotlight of our national conversation. Managing our stress levels was critical to surviving during this time. As the world changed and our routines were uprooted, many people struggled to maintain a healthy mindset. While vaccines offer hope for a return to everyday life, we might need to redefine our expectations of normal and continue to manage our stress to maintain our recovery.
Many of us probably learned a few coping strategies during the pandemic that might be useful for us throughout our lives. We can start reflecting upon what we have learned and what we can do to maintain our recovery. Getting through this time was challenging. Hopefully, we can move forward with strength and unity and a renewed sense of gratitude for things we once took for granted.
The Connection of Physical and Mental Well-being
Being active and moving is great for both our physical and mental health. When we move our bodies, we signify to our minds that there is some purpose to our day. Positive psychology reminds us of the things that we can do to feel happy. If we sit around during the entire day watching screens or lay in bed most of the day, we can develop a depressive mindset. We might have spent more time at home during the pandemic and less time moving around than usual. We can remind ourselves of the value and importance of physical exercise in our daily lives.
When gyms are shut down or sports leagues canceled for the year, we can adapt by changing our routines. There are many means available for us to continue to exercise and focus on our physical health.
- YouTube and online workouts
- Phone apps that include exercise routines
- Socially distanced walks, hikes, and runs
- Stretching and yoga
If we are feeling down, we can get up and move around to boost our moods. Regular exercise can also be a preventative means of getting ahead of a depressed mood.
The Importance of Socializing
Some of us have not seen some of our friends in months. As time moves on, we might feel more and more alienated from our former social lives. Socialization is essential for the well-being of everyone, especially those in recovery. We can reach out to friends over video chats, Zoom, telephone, or texting. We can even handwrite letters or postcards to the people we care about to show that we are thinking of them.
Scheduling time for friends is crucial during the pandemic. Many of the people we once interacted with daily would require no planning. We would see people at work, in stores, or casually run into friends while getting coffee. Now that many of these “casual,” effortless meet-ups no longer occur as readily, we might realize how much we had looked forward to them.
Maintaining Recovery and Sobriety
The recovery community remained in touch during the pandemic. Many support groups moved to online forums or the use of phone apps. Some people even connected to a recovery community that has members around the world. The new way of meeting virtually can potentially open the door for greater participation among those in recovery due to the relative ease of access.
Self-Care to Manage Stress
Many of us realized the value of self-care activities in managing our stress. We might have needed to take a break from our days to nap or listen to music. The stress of the news and the pandemic could be overwhelming. Sometimes, we need to do something for ourselves that soothes us. Journaling, taking a long bath, yoga, taking a walk in nature, drawing, playing music, or any other activity that calms us, is essential for managing our stress.
Engaging in Hobbies and Learning
While we are yet unable to resume the lives we once had, we can take time to focus on learning new things or engaging in hobbies. Hobbies and interests can help us maintain our recovery by giving us something positive to focus on. While we have much more free time or time alone due to the pandemic, we can focus on improving ourselves and building our talents.
Remember that life after the pandemic might not look exactly like it had. We might continue to use video chats and other means of communicating from home. Crowded events might still be somewhat restricted as we move forward. If you struggled to manage your stress during the pandemic or “hit a wall,” try some of the preceding tips. You might find that they will help you in your recovery journey for the long-term.
Maintaining recovery skills during the pandemic might have been a struggle. As our lives were uprooted and “normal” became a distant echo in the past, we might have been tested in ways we never thought possible. We can continue to use the skills that we have been using to survive this time. However, sometimes, we need to change things up a bit or be reminded of the importance of managing our stress. The pandemic proved to us the value of some of the things we might have taken for granted. As we continue to adapt to the changes around us, we can note the things that have helped us during this time. If you are continuing to struggle during this trying time, you are not alone. Many people have found recovery challenging during this pandemic. Fire Mountain Residential Treatment Center is here for alumni who need additional support. Call us today at (303) 443-3343.