For those in recovery, holidays are a significant stressor, even without the added pressure of a global pandemic. Being in recovery during the holidays can be tricky, especially when many of the mainstays used to cope are out of reach. It is both a blessing and a curse to be stuck indoors away from family, friends, co-workers, and triggers. Navigating the season will be unlike anything we’ve tried to do before. Here are some ideas of how to keep moving forward with your recovery over the next few months.
Keep to your schedule –
Habits are essential, both the habits you are actively working to remove from your life and those currently assisting in your recovery. Keep the good ones – make sure you are still getting the sleep you need, eating regularly, and exercising. Get outside, and take walks when possible – not only is it a distraction, but the Vitamin D and endorphins will help. It will also provide a different perspective than those found in the four walls of your home.
Acknowledge your feelings –
Take time for mindfulness meditation, talking with your support group, family, and friends, and be honest. Eight months into the Pandemic, many things are weighing on you up to and including your recovery. You may be depressed due to the uncertainty, exhausted by sheltering in place, and missing social contact. Admit those feelings and talk about them; you are not alone.
Take a moment and give thanks for the people and things in your life that support your sobriety. Gratitude is a way of focusing outward, rather than looking inward where you may get stuck in old thought patterns.
Come up with a plan –
Think through all the obligations you have – from events, gifts, and cooking – and decide which you will be able to meet and which you will need to beg off. Make sure you have your talking points in place and remember you don’t owe anyone anything – be realistic in what you can give to others and what you need to hold back to keep yourself grounded and safe. Be honest – there is no need to make excuses; it okay to say no, or offer an alternative – “Thank you for the invitation, but I’m currently sheltering in place for now – how about we Zoom?” Or “I’d love to come, but I’m socially distancing right now; how about a socially distanced walk in the park?”
If you do decide to go out – remember to do so in small groups, mask up, social distance, bring a sober buddy, and make sure you have an exit strategy in place if things become too complicated.
As crazy as the world is now, don’t forget to take care of yourself and put your recovery first – the Pandemic will end, your recovery will continue, and the world that you are creating will serve you well in the days to come.
“And this, too, shall pass away.” Abraham Lincoln