Whether you face a personal crisis or are witness to a national emergency such as the COVID-19 outbreak, maintaining sobriety in times of stress can be difficult. But you are not alone. At Northpoint Washington, we are dedicated to recovery and helping you maintain your sobriety.
We asked a few of our clinical team leaders to share some tools, tips and tactics to manage stress (and sobriety) in uncertain times:
1. Meditate: Meditation has been used for centuries to relax, reconnect and calm your mind. It’s a practice that can be done anywhere… sitting at your desk, lying in bed, or wherever stress or anxiety pays you a visit. And with the thousands of available meditation apps or online videos, it’s a tool always at your fingertips!
2. Exercise: There is nothing that calms stress like time spent outdoors. While we are all practicing safe distancing, you can still do jumping jacks in your back yard, stretch on your balcony, dance in your living room or throw a ball for your dog. Any activity that gets your heart pumping is good for the soul. And when you exercise, your brain releases dopamine, which sends signals of happiness throughout your body while releasing negative energy.
3. Sleep: Sleep is essential for mental and physical health. Lack of sleep makes it even more difficult to deal with stress and can make small stressors feel bigger than they are. Create a routine at the end of your day to help with sleep. Turn electronics off; write in a gratitude journal; sip some chamomile tea; diffuse essential oils such as lavender or vanilla. A good night’s rest gives your mind and body a chance to rejuvenate and recharge, and often a new perspective on worries and fears.
4. Let go of what you can’t control: This may be the most difficult thing for those in recovery to do. Letting go of how we wish things were or fear of how they might be. Accepting that your own behavior is truly the only thing you can control is empowering. Knowing you have a choice – not a choice in what is happening around you, but a choice in how you respond. Self-reflection, writing in a journal or adopting a mantra to repeat throughout your day can help. “I allow my mind and body to be at ease knowing today will take care of itself.”
And remember, you survived one of the most difficult challenges of your life… you overcame addiction! Hold on to that accomplishment, because it is a big one, and know that you have the strength to overcome whatever comes your way in life.