Staying connected to our friends and peers during the pandemic can be difficult. Isolation, however, can lead to relapse. As we are beginning to open up more social outlets safely, many of us are still restricted in many of the activities we loved before the pandemic. Some of us may have been doing fine during the early stages of the pandemic; however, after this holiday season, with limited contact with loved ones, we might feel lonely and isolated.
Keeping in contact with our friends, family, and peers can help us during our recovery. As humans, we thrive on social communication and support. Being together has helped us survive as a species and a society. When we lack support and connection, we can experience increases in feelings like stress, anxiety, or depression.
Fire Mountain Residential Treatment Center reminds alumni that we always have your back as members of our “Bear Tribe.” Peer support is tremendously beneficial to recovery. As we continue to face social restrictions due to the pandemic, we might need to continue to adapt our behaviors to avoid isolation. We might also need to “check-in” with one another during this challenging time.
If You Don’t Plan It, It Won’t Happen!
We get so accustomed to routines that we sometimes fail to see another way of doing things. When we need to stay indoors more frequently or are no longer free to go out in public spaces, our routines often get shaken up a bit. We might struggle with the change, thinking that how we interacted with others in the past is the only way of doing so! However, we can adapt to the circumstances and continue supporting one another through this challenging time. We might need to be mindful of planning interactions and social contacts more than we had before the pandemic.
If we do not plan time with our friends, family, or support members during the pandemic, these relationships might fall by the wayside. When we have set routines of meeting people or seeing friends and family during everyday outings, we do not pay much attention to the importance of these interactions. We might not realize that these routines were initially built by establishing a habit and routine. Every routine takes time to assimilate into our daily lives. Our casual, seemingly unplanned social interactions were once conscious decisions we made before settling into our routines.
Tips to Planning Social Contacts During the Pandemic
Establishing a routine takes time. If you have lost contact with people during the pandemic, like former co-workers or friends, you can reach out to them to re-establish the connection. As we have all been through this disruption for months, our friends might also feel isolated and appreciate our thinking of them. You can establish a new routine of getting “together” safely using technology and making a plan.
- Remember the importance of friendships and support. If you are feeling isolated right now, chances are, you have friends feeling similarly.
- Be the one who makes contact first! You do not need to wait for your friends to make the first move at keeping in touch.
- Find a means of contact that works best for you and those you care about.
- Everyone has a differing level of comfort during this time!
- Some people have been meeting up for social-distance walks or hikes while wearing masks; other people are not comfortable going out unless necessary.
- Consider your safety and follow CDC guidelines.
- Respect that you and your friends might have different safety concerns. Follow the lead of those feeling the most anxious and cautious!
- Video chats, Zoom meetings, facetime, and other apps can help you feel more engaged and together.
- Some apps have games to play with friends or options to watch movies together!
- Check Facebook and other social media for online events, like trivia games, museum tours, or other activities.
- Phone calls are a great way to stay in touch, too!
- Establish a routine with your friends, family, and support members. Think of the following to help remain in contact regularly:
- How often would you like to meet up with people over video chat, socially distanced “hang-outs,” or other means? Once per month, weekly?
- Pick a day that works and schedule in advance. Ask if you can designate a regular time together.
- Plan for these events! Often, loneliness can sneak up on us when we are not mindful to plan for social contact.
The pandemic has been a stressful time for everyone as our routines have been disrupted. If you feel lonely during this time, remember to reach out, as your friends and family might also feel lonely! Like AA and NA, support groups have also added virtual meetings in some areas that can help you stay connected to the recovery community.
The pandemic has disrupted nearly every aspect of our lives. We might struggle to stay in contact with our friends and family if we do not establish a routine that adapts to these circumstances. By scheduling time to talk with friends over video chats or the phone, we can keep in touch while staying safe. We can even use different media to have fun with our friends online, such as competing in online trivia events or hosting “watch parties” while streaming our favorite movies. Support is beneficial and essential during recovery. The pandemic has added stress and anxiety to our lives, possibly making us feel urges to use drugs or alcohol again. We might feel isolated and relapse due to these feelings. Remember that you are not alone. If you are struggling, Fire Mountain Residential Treatment Center is here to help you through this challenging time. Call us today at (303) 443-3343.