The COVID-19 Pandemic that began last March had a significant impact on our lives. We lost our daily routines, exercising at a gym, social gatherings, retail and dining experiences, and any other opportunities to help reduce stress. Individuals suffering from substance use disorders, mental health disorders, or co-occurring disorders also lost the ability to attend in-person recovery meetings and meet in person with their mental health provider. It brought on heightened feelings of fear, anxiety, isolation, stress, depression, and loneliness.These feelings increased the possibility of substance abuse or self-medicating. According to a report by Nielsen between March 1, 2020, and April 18, 2020, there were significant increases in alcohol sales in the United States. Data from the week ending March 21, 2020, indicated that alcohol sales for off-premise locations such as liquor stores had increased by 54%, and online alcohol sales had increased by 262% compared to sales data from the same time frame in 2019. Dealing with substance use disorder is difficult enough but is even more challenging when dealing with co-occurring mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, or mood disorders.
After a little over a year of adjusting to these extreme circumstances, many people are worried about reintegrating back into the world we left behind. Acknowledging, recognizing, and acting on mental and emotional distress in these uncertain times is key to reducing the impact. Find a few of our healthy coping strategies to help those who may be experiencing mental health challenges during this health pandemic below:
Clean up around the house. Organize your home and workspace. Give away or throw away items that no longer serve a purpose. Being organized helps you feel more productive, less stressed, reduces anxiety and the feeling of being overwhelmed.
Start a Journal:
Prioritize goals, problems, fears, or concerns. Track your day-to-day feelings and highlight stress triggers so you can learn how to control them. It’s a place to document something good or bad that has happened, and you can reflect on and learn from past experiences. Writing down your feelings can help to manage stress, anxiety, and depression.
Stick to a Schedule:
Start and end your day at the same time every day. Routines create positive levels of stress, as our minds and body know what to expect every day. Suppose you see what is on the schedule, then you can plan for it. Fear of the unknown creates increased stress and anxiety.
Step away from your phone or computer for a while. Take a walk outside. Meditate. Practicing mindfulness has a positive impact on stress and anxiety.
Take a break. Watch a new series or movie. Keep your routine regulated, go to bed and get up at the same time each day. Rest is crucial for managing stress.
Try Yoga or Pilates. Go for a run or hike. Endorphins from activity improve your overall mood and relieve stress.
Limit junk food along with sugar and caffeine. A balanced diet helps to alleviate stress, depression, and anxiety.
Avoid Drugs & Alcohol:
Consuming drugs and alcohol as a means of coping with stress will only make situations worse and impair your ability to cope with stress. Take care of your body to improve your overall mental health.
Listen to Music:
Upbeat music can lift your spirits and put you in a positive mood. Calming music can help you relax and concentrate on what’s in front of you.
Yoga or Meditation:
Both have many positives that promote emotional healing, stress relief, increased stamina, and self-reflection.
Outdoor activities involving the wilderness of nature teach the survival skills required to outlive challenging life circumstances.
Administer Self Care:
Take time for yourself, even if it’s only 5 minutes, to quiet your mind and recharge. Feeling taken care of promotes an overall sense of well-being.
If substance abuse has begun to spiral out of control, it may be time to ask for help. However, it may be difficult to admit that you have a problem with alcohol or drugs. Recognizing that you need help and asking for help as soon as possible is extremely important.
Need help coping with substance use, stress, and anxiety?
Avatar Mental Health Treatment Center New Jersey offers a highly structured Cognitive Behavior Therapy that helps identify the triggers for addiction, manage cravings and address problematic thoughts. During our CBT sessions, patients grow through learning relaxation techniques, social and communication techniques and are active participants at each stage.
Our team of addiction specialists understands that there is more to substance abuse than just the use of drugs and alcohol, which is why they provide an evidence-based approach with individualized treatment programs designed to fit your needs. Avatar is a dual diagnosis treatment center in NJ that offers specialty therapies such as music therapy, Yoga therapy, therapy, and ART therapy therapy. Our holistic treatment methods are designed to get to the root cause behind the addiction and treat your mind, body, and spirit to promote long-term recovery.