First, we were told to work from home. Then, we were notified schools were closed for two weeks. I did a little victory and thought “what a dream come true.” I liked the idea of a more relaxed routine compared to the constant running-around I am used to. I loved the idea of wearing leggings every day. And I was looking forward to spending more quality time with my child. Within the first few days that dream was shattered.
I found myself sinking into a depression and experiencing heightened anxiety. When I looked up the news updates, I fell down the rabbit hole for hours. I wasn’t following my typical routine and stayed in my pajamas all day. I seriously struggled with balancing working from home and home-schooling my child. I stayed up ‘til the early morning hours binge-watching documentaries. I didn’t set an alarm for the morning and slept in way later than I should have. Half the day I felt like I was being pulled in four different directions. The other half I felt incompetent and disappointed in myself.
It felt alarmingly similar to the last days of my active use. I knew it was unhealthy, that I didn’t have to do it, and that there was a better way. I had no control over what was going on in the world around me, but I had control over what I allowed to rent space in my head and how I responded to it all. I decided it was time to break the cycle of self-inflicted harm.
I went back to the basics that I was taught in early recovery:
- I depend on a strict routine and schedule – I adapted my “normal” routine to accommodate social distancing, working remotely, and home-schooling. I pay special attention to my bedtime routine and setting an alarm to wake up at a consistent time.
- The news can keep me up thinking at night- I only allow myself to watch/read after dinner, so it is not too close to bedtime.
- Skipping meals affects my mood- I must be self-disciplined to take a break during mealtimes.
- My recovery community and supports are essential to my overall well-being- I utilize https://nerna.org/nerna-virtual-meetings/ to attend virtual meetings. (And if I’m being honest, it’s quite convenient. I get my recovery on my couch, in my comfy clothes, with snacks!)
- My mental health is a priority- I have weekly calls with my therapist instead of face to face appointments.
- Remaining grateful changes my perspective- I make a daily gratitude list. It helps me to stay optimistic and appreciate the little things.
- Being of service to others is an essential part of my recovery process- This is a perfect opportunity for me to help support my community.
A week ago, I felt like the next few weeks were going to last “fooooorever”. I remember when I felt that way about sustained recovery… Thankfully I was taught to focus on the 24 hours I have today, and eventually those 24 hours add up to days, weeks, and before we know it, months. Soon, this scary time will be a memory and a story we share with future generations. When I apply what I have learned in recovery to this current crisis, I realize I am well equipped to adapt and handle it.