Recovery is rarely an easy process, and the COVID-19 pandemic has only made it more difficult for many Americans. However, you can still jumpstart your support system and recommit yourself to recovery in the new year. Even if you already have a great routine in place, 2021 might be the perfect time to switch things up, try new things and make sure the recovery journey never grows stale. Optimizing Your Recovery Journey For many people, the pandemic has meant staying at home — a lot. Social distancing, mask-wearing and self-isolation are the primary ways to keep yourself and others safe from coronavirus, but this can lead to loneliness and isolation if you don’t have effective ways to stay connected. Stress and uncertainty are other common reactions to the pandemic, causing many to feel anxious and depressed. Some have turned to substance use to cope, which can easily lead to developing an addiction. As such, it’s vital that you actively find ways to de-stress and maintain your mental health. A few methods include: Doing video chats or socially distant outdoor gatherings with friends, family and loved ones Diving into a creative hobby, such as making art, playing an instrument or writing Keeping a journal about your recovery journey so you can monitor your progress Exercising: try jogging, lifting weights or practicing yoga Eating a healthy diet of nutritious foods Turning off the news and unplugging from social media regularly Activities like these will help keep your mind occupied and stave off the boredom that can arise while stuck at home. Just like stress, boredom can lead to a greater risk of relapse. It’s also important to reach out to others — not just family and friends. A crucial part of recovery comes from seeing outside perspectives and finding support through peers going through the same things you are or professionals who know how to help you succeed. The Importance of Support in Recovery Many studies have proved peer support is a beneficial part of the recovery process. Recovery communities allow people to feel a sense of belonging and camaraderie among people going through similar struggles. Support groups can also help you hold yourself accountable for your recovery and reach out when you’re struggling, as you have a built-in network of people who can guide you through difficult moments. Recovery doesn’t end after rehab treatment is over — it’s a lifelong process that requires consistent maintenance. Support groups can help you continue maintaining your sobriety throughout the long term. New Methods in the Recovery Process The necessity of social distancing has led to innovations in telehealth services and virtual support. Most recovery support groups, including Alcoholics Anonymous and SMART Recovery, have successfully transitioned to online platforms for meetings. Many people rely on these groups throughout their recovery. Online meetings allow them to continue the routine of sharing experiences, being part of a community and finding support through peers. The Recovery Village at Baptist Health offers a free-to-use recovery room app so group members can continue recovery meetings in a private, confidential virtual space. Additionally, we offer telehealth services that connect clients to licensed therapists and addiction counselors who can provide evidence-based care remotely via laptop, tablet or smartphone. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) also provides a comprehensive list of resources, support groups and tools that can help you continue your recovery during the pandemic. Find the Help of a Professional Addiction recovery is full of stumbles and difficult roadblocks, but finding peer and professional support can make the journey easier to navigate. If you or someone you love is struggling with sobriety during the pandemic, The Recovery Village at Baptist Health can help. Contact us today to learn more about treatment plans and programs that can work well for your specific situation. SourcesCenters for Disease Control and Prevention. “Social Distancing.” November 17, 2020. Accessed January 11, 2021. Klein, Joelle. “Is the pandemic stressing you out? You’re not alone.” UCHealth, September 24, 2020. Accessed January 11, 2021. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. “Your Recovery Is Important: Virtual Recovery Resources.” Accessed January 11, 2021. Tracy, Kathlene; Wallace, Samantha. “Benefits of peer support groups in the treatment of addiction.” Substance Abuse and Rehabilitation, September 29, 2016. Accessed January 11, 2021. Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.