Stress and anxiety are normal and an unavoidable part of life. For all of us, finding productive ways to manage stress is an important part of being healthy. For those struggling with addiction, it’s also an important part of maintaining long-term recovery.

New research shows 78% of Americans say the COVID-19 pandemic and associated public health policies are significant sources of stress in their lives. The isolation caused by lockdown and social distancing has had a significant impact on mental health. Many are experiencing the loss of loved ones, jobs, and fear of contracting COVID-19.

The stress caused by isolation is especially difficult for those in recovery who rely on a support system to help avoid negative habits. It’s important in times of stress to maintain these important connections. Plan a video chat or meeting outdoors to safely connect with people you trust. Talking about your feelings can help prevent them from coming out in unhealthy ways that could derail your recovery.

Establishing routines that encourage healthy habits and provide a sense of structure is especially important for individuals in recovery, such as:

  • Making sure you’re getting enough sleep. Try to wake up and go to bed at the same time each day to establish a healthy sleep routine.
  • Incorporating exercise into your day. Even a little regular exercise like walking will help reduce stress.
  • Exploring a new hobby or practicing your favorite stress-relieving activity to distract you from your stressors.
  • Reaching out to others. An empathetic word of encouragement from someone you trust can change the course of the day.
  • Writing down your feelings. Journaling about the good and the bad in your day can help you work through your emotions.

Times of extreme stress can seem overwhelming but they don’t last forever. It’s important to remember you’re not alone. If you are struggling to maintain recovery due to stress and need addiction help, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. CleanSlate is here to support you. Contact us today at 833-505-HOPE or through the live chat on our website.

Karl Berger

Karl “Rick” Berger is a licensed alcohol and drug counselor in Massachusetts.