During the current Coronavirus pandemic, we are facing unprecedented challenges when it comes to our health, both physically and mentally. You may be finding that it is difficult to cope with the people you live with. Spending all of our time in a confined space with family or roommates can bubble up conflict or resentment, and leave you feeling like you have no control over the situation.
Everyone is worried about the current state of the world, and the risk of financial hardship does not help. All of these thoughts, coupled with feelings of being cut off from the world, can become a trigger for coping mechanisms like drugs or alcohol.
Here are a few ways that you can cope while quarantining with others and help prevent resorting to unhealthy coping mechanisms or relapsing into addiction.
Establish A Routine
Being forced to stay at home for your safety and the safety of others can be extremely disruptive to your daily routine and is perhaps one of the most difficult things to deal with when it comes to quarantine. Without your normal schedule, you may feel directionless and struggle to fill the hours of the day, and if you are recovering from substance abuse, boredom is your enemy.
Establishing a routine is one of the most effective ways to deal with the stress and anxiety brought on by quarantine and can help you find a sense of normalcy. Try to structure your days as you normally would, such as having a set eating schedule and bedtime. Consistently do your household chores and try to exercise as you normally would.
By creating a schedule, you can plan out activities that you will look forward to and will help you break out of the monotony. This schedule can also help you establish some boundaries with those you are living with – having a set time block for work or personal things in your schedule will encourage them to respect that as your space.
Another important thing to remember as you try to fill your time is to take breaks from social media. There is so much bad news flooding our screens and the media, so if you feel overwhelmed, it’s probably best to take some time away from it.
Spend Some Time Alone
If you are in quarantine with someone or a group of people, it may seem like you have to do absolutely everything with them – but this is not the case. One way to cope with those you are in quarantine with is to make a point to spend some time alone.
Spending some time away from those you are sharing your space with will give you time to decompress and release some stress. Do something you enjoy and that you can do alone. It can be anything from going for a walk to watching a movie or reading a book. You can even try an at-home workout. All it takes is a phone and a small bit of space to get your blood flowing.
Another thing to consider is the use of noise-canceling headphones – or any headphones for that matter. Put on some music or a podcast and you can instantly be transported somewhere else. Most people recognize the use of headphones as a universal signal for ‘do not disturb’ – this will also help send the message that you need some space.
Regardless of how you choose to spend your alone time, make sure you consistently give yourself the space you need. This will improve your mental health and help you avoid coping with things like alcohol or drugs.
Explore Your Creative Side
Another way to cope with sheltering in place with others is to explore your creative side. Expressing your creativity is a great stress reliever and can clear your mind from all the headlines and stressors that seem to be everywhere.
Take some time to draw, paint, cook, sing – there is no right or wrong way to let your creative side shine. You can also spend some time reading a book that you enjoy – engage with it and let your imagination run free, allowing your mind to escape from your day-to-day worries.
Maybe you can even take this time as an opportunity to start a hobby you have always thought about or finish a project that you started and never got around to completing.
While being in quarantine can be stressful, it is important to remember that this pandemic will not last forever. Things are frightening and unsure at the moment but using these tools to cope will help you push forward until you can resume your daily activities.
If you are having thoughts of resorting to drugs or alcohol to cope, explore virtual support options that will help you stay on track. Many of your local facilities are likely employing the use of telehealth during this time, and if they are not, they are likely taking many extra precautions in office to keep you and others safe. While things like Zoom therapy or simply phone therapy may not be the same as in-person meetings, there are many support groups offering services to those in recovery during this difficult time. Don’t assume you can’t find the help you need to stay on track with recovery.