There may have been a time when all you wanted was to work from home instead of having to commute an hour each way to and from your job. But now that many of us have to work from home, we’re realizing it can be just as challenging as that daily commute.
Fear of the continuing spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) has proven to many employers and workers that they can do their job from home and that yes, that weekly meeting could instead be an email. But you’re used to your routine at the office, how do you adapt that to your home?
And how do you avoid temptation? For some, coronavirus is putting their past or current substance use or addiction into sharp relief, making it increasingly difficult to stay away from the substances that have plagued them in the past.
There are plenty of ways to successfully work from home, even during a stressful time like this. There are also ways to manage your sobriety and recovery, even if you can’t get to your usual meetings or keep your standard routines. We have advice for both scenarios below.
Start a New Routine
Without that commute, there’s a good chance you might be able to schedule in some extra shut eye. But don’t set your alarm for five minutes before you’re supposed to start work. Morning routines become key to your success throughout the day—if you set a strong foundation for productivity, you’ll have a better shot of sticking to your work throughout the day.
So get up, do some stretches or your preferred type of exercise, shower, eat a healthy breakfast, and don’t forget that perfect cup of coffee.
Don’t Do Household Chores
I have a bad habit that when I want to procrastinate on something, I’m very productive at other things. When working from home, there are no doubt an endless barrage of chores you could be doing—laundry, dishes, vacuuming, organizing, and so much more. But keep in mind if you were at work, you wouldn’t be able to do any of these things.
It’s important to make sure you stay on task throughout the day, and while a clean environment is definitely important to your ability to work, make sure to take care of that in your off hours.
Remember to Take a Break
If you were in the office, you’d likely have a few opportunities to talk to coworkers, walk around the block, or just take a few minutes to re-center yourself. But time seems to move differently when working from home. I find myself starting work earlier, potentially working later, and checking email after work hours.
Now more than ever, maintaining your mental health is incredibly important. So as important as it is for you to be productive when you’re working from home, you also need to take a few breaks throughout the day to get up, stretch, snack, and take a brain break.
There are several different ways for you to take time to yourself throughout your workday. Below are just a few suggestions.
- Mississippi has some beautiful outdoor spaces. If you don’t have a well-known walking trail or park nearby, just a quick jaunt around your neighborhood could give you the break you need. Get out there and explore a little bit…should the weather hold and you can maintain social distancing.
- Memphis, Tennessee’s zoo has live cams of some of its animals, which is a fun, relaxing way to take a little break and observe the power of nature.
- Museums all over the world and the Southern U.S. offer virtual tours of their collections, just like the High Museum of Art in Atlanta, Georgia.
Maintaining Sobriety During Social Distancing
Even if you’re over the hump of addiction treatment and squarely in sobriety, you know that recovery is a lifelong endeavor. And right now, shelter in place orders, social distancing, and stress might be making it difficult to stick to it.
Working from home alone, and the isolation from people in general in these times, can be trying for someone who relies on in-person meetings like those from AA to help manage their sobriety. Unfortunately, most, if not all, of these meetings have been cancelled. Thankfully, virtual options have popped up from a few different sources.
- Because in-person 12-step meetings in many parts of the country have been canceled, American Addiction Centers has started offering virtual meetings similar to the ones you might attend with Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.
- Oxford Treatment Centers offers an alumni program to bring together people who successfully completed treatment after they leave our facility. If you attended a program with us, see if the alumni group is a good fit for you.
- As tried and true pillars of the recovery community, Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous both have created more online options to join virtual meetings.
But for some, virtual meetings may not cut it. If you’re concerned about maintaining your sobriety or believe you are close to relapsing, many addiction treatment facilities are still open and accepting new patients. To find out more about treatment at Oxford Treatment Center, call 662-638-0015.