Stress in Recovery: Tips for Parenting Your Kids (and Yourself) During COVID-19
Stress serves as a significant relapse trigger for many people in early recovery, especially those for whom substance abuse was a form of release in times of trouble. Since the emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic, many of us are dealing with unique forms of stress in our lives, from the loss of social events to the need to homeschool children. If you’re both a parent and a recovering substance abuser, here are some practical ways to manage stress in recovery.
Healthy Ways to Deal With Stress in Recovery
If drinking or drug use was your go-to coping mechanism in the past, you’ll need to discover new outlets for stress once you start working on your sobriety. You probably already learned many of these skills in inpatient treatment, but it’s helpful to have a reminder when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
- Practice self-care strategies: As a busy parent, you might feel like you don’t have time to take care of your needs on top of all your other responsibilities. However, self-care doesn’t have to be complicated to be effective. Take a walk around the block, get lost in a good book, play with your pets, do yoga or take a soothing bath.
- Get enough sleep: When you’re anxious, your sleep quality may suffer. However, if you’re not well-rested, sleep deprivation can throw off your entire day. Create a relaxing evening routine, avoid using caffeine in the afternoon and limit screen time at night to give yourself the best chance of a restful seven to nine hours of shuteye.
- Connect with nature: Time spent outdoors is naturally relaxing. Even a brief few moments outside can help lower your blood pressure and improve your overall well-being. To reap these benefits, sit quietly in your yard or on your porch to watch the world go by, or get physical by taking your daily workout outside. You can turn outdoors time into a family exercise, too. For example, invest in binoculars and a field guide, so you can learn how to identify local bird species together.
- Accept that some circumstances are outside your control: Just like you learned from the Serenity Prayer in 12-step meetings, you must focus your energy on things in your life you can influence, instead of being fearful about situations you can’t control.
COVID-19 Parenting Tips
The coronavirus pandemic and the wave of changes it’s brought to our daily lives have forced us to adapt quickly. Since March, you might have found yourself juggling several new roles around your house, including teacher, head chef and activity planner. You want your family to stay healthy, happy and safe, which means continuing to observe social distancing and staying home as much as possible.
Children – especially younger ones – rely on their parents to provide a sense of safety and security. They can also be more observant and intuitive than we give them credit for. If they see you worrying or hear you complaining about these difficult circumstances, they may be afraid things won’t get better. That’s why it’s essential to maintain an active, two-way dialogue with your kids during COVID-19.
Be open and honest with children about the day’s headlines, and reassure them they can always bring any concerns to you. For example, if your kids ask why they haven’t been able to spend time playing with their friends or visiting with their grandparents, you could say something like, “I know it’s sad that we can’t be close to our family and friends right now. Can you think of some ways we can still keep in touch?”
Video chats can help ease kids’ anxiety about not being able to see their loved ones in person. You can also establish a sense of normalcy by creating a family routine and sticking with it consistently, even on weekends and holidays.
Avoiding Stress in Recovery
Some amount of stress in recovery is normal and expected. However, if anxieties about COVID-19 have reached a point where they feel unmanageable, or you’re starting to worry about your risk of relapsing, contact us at Beach House today. Our caring admissions counselors are here to talk with you 24/7/365.