Some may say that staying sober is a fulltime job in itself, only you don’t get paid for it. In order to succeed, you need to be dedicated, determined, skilled and have the necessary tools. You can never drop the ball or let the pressure get to you. However, if you pull it off, the feeling is more rewarding than you could imagine! But what about staying sober during a pandemic?
The recent COVID-19 pandemic is unlike anything most living people have ever seen. Limited resources and stay-at-home orders have brought all-new challenges to everyday life. For those who are trying to maintain sobriety, the changes are greater and more bountiful.
Previously, we provided 10 Tips for Staying Sober, but today we are providing you with a revised version of this guide to help you stay sober during this uniquely trying time. Here are 10 Tips for Staying Sober: The Pandemic Edition
1. Slow & Steady Wins the Race
This first tip doesn’t really change. In the original tips, we talked about how the pace of life is going to change. This could not be more true than it is today. However, you are most certainly not alone. Pretty much everyone is trying to adjust to a new pace. Just remember that adjustment takes time. Take it easy and as a society, we will get through this together.
2. Making Up For Lost Time With Family & Friends
Social distancing does not mean that you cannot connect with your friends and family. Healing damaged relationships means reaching out to the ones you love. Although you may not be able to go to their house, you can still connect. Make a phone call, Facetime, or mail a handwritten letter. These actions can go a long way to showing you care and that you are putting forward the best effort possible. Your loved ones will be happy to hear about your sobriety and to support you, even if from afar.
3. Following A Daily Routine
Routine is not just a part of sobriety, but it is a part of maintaining an overall healthy life. Creating a healthy routine is particularly difficult when the whole world is disrupted. Start by setting an alarm and still getting up at the same time every day. Sleeping in sounds nice, but a poor sleep pattern can promote physical and mental health issues. Get yourself ready for the day just as you would if you were going into an office for work. If you normally drive to work, you can still set this time aside to do what you normally do in the car (listen to music, podcasts, or morning radio shows). Create a work space and accomplish set tasks every day. Create times for business and times for play. Make walks or running a part of your routine so that you get fresh air and regular exercise. Basically, find ways to create a routine similar to what you would want your routine to be like if there wasn’t a pandemic.
4. Relax, But Don’t Over Relax
Creating time to sit back and relax is always important. If you are considered an essential worker and must travel for work, then finding time to relax may be difficult. However, it is now more important that ever to make R&R a priority. The combined stress of staying sober and a pandemic can take a toll on an individual, and being out in public more often creates an increased risk of contracting COVID-19. Relaxing a little each day or even taking a minute here and there for deep breathing exercises can go a long way in reducing stress. Reducing stress means creating space for a clear mind and a sober life.
On the other end, if you are out of work or working remotely, free time may be in an abundance. Do not abuse this and end up relaxing to the point that you don’t get anything done. An unproductive and sedentary lifestyle can be just as damaging, if not more so, than an overactive lifestyle.
5. Find A New Job Or Activity
Despite rising unemployment and stay-at-home orders, there is no shortage of activities to keep us all busy. If you absolutely need to work, businesses like grocery stores and delivery companies are hiring across the country. If you are not looking for a job, but you need something to fill up your spare time, there are countless sobers activities to consider. Take a look at our 35 Sober Activities To Do While You Hunker Down During the COVID-19 Pandemic.
6. Stay In Touch With Your Support System
Social isolation is only referring to physical isolation, and in no way limits phone calls, video chatting, and emails. Stay in touch with your family, friends, counselors, and support groups via digital means. Maintaining social contact is important for mental wellbeing and maintaining sobriety. If your local support group meeting (such as a 12 steps meeting) hasn’t yet, encourage them to switch to group video chat sessions so that you can keep that routine we talked about!
7. Eat A Health – Balances Diet
A well-balanced diet can help improve your appearance, energy levels, immunity and the overall state of your health. If you are worried about going out to buy groceries and exposing yourself, consider a delivery service such as Instacart, or Prime Now. You can get all of the fruits and vegetables delivered right to your door so that you can keep your nutrition on track as a means of supporting a sober lifestyle.
8. Sleep An Appropriate Amount
Yes, everyone may require a slightly different amount of sleep, but getting between 7-9 hours every night is relatively standard. Encourage your body to go to sleep at a reasonable time every night by laying down as resting at least 30 minutes before you want to be asleep. End the night with some lavender essential oils or a cup of camomile tea. Try not to watch tv in your bed as this may confuse your body. Set alarms and wake up at the same time every morning as a part of your routine. Sleeping in is nice, but if your body falls too far out of a routine it can effect your mental and physical health.
9. Make Self Care A Priority
Hygiene and self-care tend to become less of a priority when addiction takes over. If you aren’t interacting with people during this pandemic, it can be easy to continue overlooking daily showers or fresh clothes every day. However, practicing proper self-care is an important part of recovery and overall wellness. Make sure you are keeping yourself clean and put together for both your physical and mental wellbeing.
10. Set New Goals
The goals you may have set for your sobriety may not be reasonable during this pandemic. For instance, making it to work every day is not possible if you were laid off due to the COVID outbreak. Simple adjustments can be made to make your goals reasonable and achievable. For instance, instead of driving to group meetings every day, setting aside time to join virtual meetings every day.
We understand that this time is difficult for everyone, but especially for those who are fighting a disease like addiction. Just know that you are not alone and maintaining your sobriety is possible. Re-adjust your routine and make the most of your situation. Stay positive and stay sober!