Creating a Healthy Lockdown Schedule For Those in Recovery
How are you spending your time during lockdown? Are you missing structure and finding yourself drifting? Here are 11 key components to include in your weekly schedule to endure you stay on track in your recovery…
We have put sleep at the top of the list for a reason! Establishing and maintaining a healthy sleep pattern is essential. Getting 8 hours of sleep each night is proven to help mental processing and general wellbeing, as well as allowing your body time to rest and recover. Try to keep the same bedtime each night and waking up time each day and avoid day time napping, which will make nighttime sleep more difficult.
Maintaining physical exercise will also make sleeping easier at night, as well as eating early in the evening and not immediately before going to bed.
Working out at home in these times is obviously a good way to stay healthy and kill indoor time. Many online workout sources are offering free access or longer free trial periods during this time, which might be worth looking into. But again, anything that gets your heart pumping or builds muscle is excellent for both physical and mental health. Try to factor at least 40 minutes of exercise into your schedule each day; two 20 minute active periods during your day will give you extra energy and lift your mood. If you have kids at home – try dancing for 20 minutes with them, it’s a fun way for everyone to get their blood pumping.
- Get Outside If You Can
There is an abundance of recent research which finds that spending time in nature is a boost to both mental and physical health. For instance, multiple studies have found that time in green and blue space is associated with reduced anxiety and depression, and the connection may well be a causal one. Outdoor time can also count towards your exercise targets.
- Declutter and Clean
Working on your home if you have time can be a good way to feel productive and in control. Take the opportunity of the extra time by decluttering, cleaning or organizing your home while you can. Studies say the predictability of cleaning not only offers a sense of control in the face of uncertainty, but also offers your mind, body and soul a respite from traumatic stress. While cleanliness is a good thing, be aware of becoming obsessive with cleaning and tidiness.
- Online Meetings
Aim to maintain or exceed the number of weekly recovery meetings you were attending before COVID19, now that you are in lockdown. If you are struggling with the online platforms, ask for help and don’t use it as a roadblock to joining in. If you are getting bored of your meetings, try searching for other groups in other locations and meet some new people while you can!
- Meditate and Breathe
Meditation has been shown to reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, and even increase the volume of certain areas of the brain.
But if meditation isn’t for you, try some simple breathing techniques. Controlled breathing has been used for millennia to calm the mind and there are numerous online resources for both mindful breathing and meditation. YouTube has great options for both.
- Calling and ‘Socializing’
As humans, we are fundamentally social creatures, and during a crises it is only natural to want to gather with others. Social connectivity is perhaps the greatest determining factor of wellbeing there is, and one of our most basic psychological needs. Unfortunately, it is the opposite of what we can do right now, so we have to be creative, to maintain both psychological closeness and a sense of community. Texting and social media are okay, but picking up the phone and talking or videoconferencing, or having a safe-distance conversation on the street, is much better.
- Helping Others
Being of service is one of the best things we can do for society—and on a more selfish note, for ourselves. Studies have repeatedly found that serving others, even via small acts of kindness, has strong and immediate mental health benefits. And feeling a sense of purpose has also been shown to help people recover from negative events and build resilience. Look out for newcomers in online meetings that you can share your experience, strength and hope with, or put extra time in to working with your sponsees.
Outside of recovery circles, get online and see how you can help your community from a distance. You’ll be doing a service to others and to yourself.
- Recovery Work
Addictions don not disappear just because you are locked down. Make sure you allow enough time to keep up your current schedule of recovery work, or increase it. This might include journaling, continuing step work, educational reading or ask your sponsor for a written assignment to complete.
10. Fun and Creativity
Don’t forget to play and have fun! Allow time for games with the kids or your partner. Cards or good old fashioned board games are a great way to spend time together in a care-free way. If you are on your own, watch a comedy, read something fun and uplifting or phone a friend who always makes you laugh out loud.
Use this time to express your creativity, too. Try painting or drawing which are both proven to be excellent outlets for stress and frustration.
- Selfcare and You Time
If you are at home with others, make sure you take time out just for yourself. Run a bubble bath, light a candle and close the bathroom door. Time out to luxuriate and pamper yourself will help lift you out of the blues.
Be aware of….
Don’t Veg Out
One of the biggest things to avoid is allowing yourself to do nothing. Hours in front of the television will leave you feeling flat, unproductive and resentful. While kicking back should be part of your healthy schedule, be mindful of sinking into the sofa more often than planned.
Recognize Signs of Dis-Ease
Check in with yourself every morning and evening. Sit quietly and focus on what emotions you are experiencing and how you are feeling in general. If you are starting to experience a general sense of dis-ease, try reworking your schedule. If uncomfortable feelings continue, do not ignore them. Online help is available, from Skype or Zoom Counseling through to our complete online recovery program which will provide you with structured weekly schedules, counseling, recovery education, and flex options for exercise, wellbeing and mindfulness.
Like most things in life, this period will pass and you’ll feel stronger for it on the ‘other side’. Start now! As your plans move forward, you will be creating healthy patterns and a blue print for living both now and in the furture!
For more information about online recovery, or residential recovery programs after COVID19, contact us on: firstname.lastname@example.org
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