Recovery is difficult under the best of circumstances, let alone in the midst of a global pandemic. Meet yourself where you are! Remember that our bandwidth changes and adapts as we move through the various phases of our lives.
Some of the coping tools we used to depend on may not work for you any more or may not be available to you, and that’s alright. Remind yourself, you are doing the best you can right now, with what you have available.
Gratitude practice has been shown to combat symptoms of low mood and anxiety and, over time, to relieve feelings of isolation and loneliness.
It is different than comparing and looking at your life in relative terms, which can cause guilt and worsening of symptoms; remember, there is no hierarchy of pain. Consider the things in your life that you are thankful for – things you cherish and can experience. Over time, gratitude practice helps you notice the good things in life instead of focusing on the bad or problematic.
Try getting out a notebook or journal and pen and, before bed each night, write down 2 things for which you are grateful. In the morning, read the list. The next night, on the same list, write down 2 more things. The next morning, read the list, and so on. Over time, you will notice a growing list of things you are grateful to have in your life.
According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, “The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little”, (mindful.org). "The most important thing to do is find your gratitude for life. Take stock of your strengths and give thanks for what you have, and for the joys you’ve been given. Because that is the fuel. That love for life can act like grace for you to defend life”, (Joanna Macy).
When we experience distress and stress, routine and structure can give us a lifeline. It can be the backbone to our day, giving us some sense of consistency and normalcy, especially when the world feels unpredictable.
Try creating a loose schedule for your day, such as noting the time to wake up and get dressed, meal and snack times, homework/work periods, windows for self-care and connection to others, times for healthy body movement, and bed-times. Remember to use this as a gentle guide for your day and don’t worry about rigidly adhering to it.
Lastly, remember that connection to others is a resiliency factor! As hard as it might be, don’t isolate.
Reach out to your recovery community, friends, family, work colleagues or peers and teachers. The connection doesn’t have to be recovery oriented; in fact sometimes it’s nice to talk about other things!
Even though we’re in a virtual world, it can be a useful tool to communicate. There are also plenty of virtual recovery groups through various providers that can provide a safe and motivating community.
EDRS, Inc is here for you. You don’t have to do it alone. Reach out if you need more support or visit https://edrecoverysupport.org for more information.
Jamail, D. (2017, February). Learning to see in the dark amid catastrophe: An interview with deep ecologist Joanna Macy. [Web blog post]. Retrieved from https://truthout.org/articles/learning-to-see-in-the-dark-amid-catastrophe-an-interview-with-deep-ecologist-joanna-macy/