We can’t predict the future, but we know for sure that sobriety is going to look different this year than it has in the past. The COVID-19 pandemic has had drastic effects on our social, emotional and physical well-being, factors that will continue to impact our lives throughout 2021. The way we socialize and live our daily lives has shifted more quickly than perhaps at any other time in history. There is no doubt that this has taken a toll on our mental health and the ways we cope with stress, including our use of drugs and alcohol. Here are a few factors we anticipate will be important to maintaining sobriety in 2021.
Social distancing, occupancy restrictions, masks, smaller gatherings and refraining from physical affection are only a few of the new mandates that are affecting relationships. These changes, though inconvenient, keep us safe and help to save lives in the midst of a global pandemic. They are necessary modifications to our habits, but that doesn’t mean they don’t impact our relationships with strangers, neighbors, friends and family.
Depending on your personality, the adaptations you are making may have disrupted your social agenda. For an extrovert, smaller gatherings and outdoor events may help to fill the void, but do not fill your tank. Even if you’re not an extrovert, all this necessary isolation may feel depressing. Our opportunities to participate in healthy socializing can greatly benefit us in the recovery process and learning to adapt them to our current times can be tricky.
We may be quarantining, but it’s still important to find ways to prioritize time with those who are helping you stay sober. A weekly video call session with your sponsor or nightly phone calls to family and friends can keep those strong ties that are proven to aid in sobriety. Keep in mind, these restrictions are only temporary and we will return to in-person interaction in time. Keep up your friendships with the people who can encourage you and keep you steady until the tide turns.
Healthy body, healthy mind
Keeping up with your physical health may be one of those things that has fallen by the wayside in the wake of the pandemic. A 10-foot commute to your home office and a stocked fridge a few steps away might have you feeling less healthy than you’d prefer. There is ample research that shows a correlation between a healthy body and a healthy mind, and making it a goal to take care of your body this year can help significantly in your recovery and sustained sobriety.
There are many ways to work a healthy lifestyle into your addiction recovery plan – all it takes is some thought and creativity. Maybe the money you aren’t spending on substances you can instead put towards your grocery bill, and indulge in some healthier options like fresh fruit or organic foods. Making it a habit to hit the gym when there is a lull in your schedule might decrease your likelihood of using substances when you have nothing to do. Finding a community that helps you stay active can help further support your sobriety.
Managing all the technology
If there’s one thing we can know for certain about 2021, it’s that technology is not going anywhere. Many of us will continue to work from home, shop for groceries online, communicate with loved ones virtually, and have kids participating in remote learning. Technological innovations have developed to aid us in staying healthy, but we still need to take steps to manage screen time and promote healthy living habits that can aid sobriety in 2021.
Although screen time can be used for active and healthy purposes, such as doing an at-home workout video, finding a healthy recipe and even reading up on sobriety tips for 2021, make sure to set personal limits for time in front of the computer. This year, try to get up from your desk or chair for 5 minutes every half hour to give yourself a break. Give your eyes and back a break – take a walk, stretch, get up to get a glass of water. Prioritize movement during these breaks to keep your mind alert and productive while you’re on your device, so you can spend less time in front of a screen.
One of the best ways to decrease your screen time is to increase your efficiency. If you are engaged in online counseling, becoming comfortable with the platform can save you time and prevent anxiety about accessing services. Take the time to learn about the platform you are using to assist in your recovery, and have an easy system set up. For example, set an alarm on your phone for five minutes before your session. Preparation will save you from unnecessary short and long-term screen time.
Taking sobriety seriously in 2021
Your sobriety will look different this year than it ever has before, and with that comes new challenges – and new advantages. We’ve had to modify the way we build relationships, take care of our bodies and interact with technology. All of these factors pose unique challenges and opportunities in the journey to sobriety, and demand consideration as we enter into this new year. Rehab After Work is ready to help you tackle this challenge head-on: our outpatient drug and alcohol treatment programs help you take back the life you know you deserve. Call us today at (610) 644-6464, or learn even more about all of the ways we help you tackle sobriety.
Remember that with each change comes a chance for celebration. All these little changes are victories that deserve applause. Every time you adapt to new circumstances without turning to substances, you are conquering your addiction.