We know, it’s a scary time right now. The more news you watch about COVID-19 (coronavirus), the more you realize that we could be social isolating for the long haul. This includes, of course, working at home for many people.
If this is your first time working from home, welcome. It’s a unique experience, and it may take a couple of days to get the hang of. I’ve worked from home before, but only one or two days a week. So like many of you, this is new to me.
There are many ways to be successful while working from home, and what works for you may not work for your friend or coworker. One of the biggest things to consider right now, especially in this unprecedented environment, is your mental health.
Social isolation practices already make it difficult enough for some but might be even more of a challenge for those who have dealt with or are currently dealing with substance abuse or addiction. Working from home while in recovery, especially if it wasn’t your first choice, may be challenging for you.
And that’s why we’re writing this article: We want to give you a couple tips for working from home, and a couple of resources for those times when you may be questioning if sobriety is worth it during a pandemic. Deep breath, we’ve got you.
Create a Good Working Environment
No, even though you technically could, you shouldn’t be working from bed. Hopefully you have a bright and sunny part of your home or apartment that’s comfortable, doesn’t have too many distractions, and has a good internet connection. Stay hydrated, try to find healthy snacks to munch on, and make sure you get up and stretch at regular intervals.
I’ve found that working at home is often a more productive time for me because there are fewer distractions. But just because you aren’t working from bed doesn’t mean you can’t be cozy. Slippers and a blanket are encouraged.
This one might be one of the harder ones. While it’s important to stay informed on current events, watching the news or logging onto social media throughout the day can get in the way of your productivity…and your mental health.
It’s difficult to get lost scrolling your feed in the office, where your boss might walk by and wonder why you follow so many animal accounts. But at home, there isn’t anyone to keep you accountable to ending the scroll.
If you have the will power to check it for a few minutes and log off, by all means. But if you usually find yourself an hour later deep in the bowels of an ex’s Instagram account after just logging in to make a comment on Facebook, this may not be the type of break for you.
Take a Breather
Your mental health should be a top priority right now. It’s stressful and scary out there, and it wouldn’t be surprising if that spills a little bit over into your day-to-day work. This is why it’s so important to take a break—to stretch, to look away from your screen for a few minutes, and maybe get out of the house, if you’re able to observe social distancing.
I like to stretch and spend a few minutes with my dog. Right now, especially with what’s going on, you might need a bit more escapism.
- If you live in Florida, you probably have some great weather this time of year: Take advantage of it. A quick 10-15 minute walk around your neighborhood, or a more focused stroll around a park or at the beach—provided you can keep 6 feet of distance from people—can help clear your mind and refocus you for when you sit down to work again.
- Museums all over the world, including the Louvre and Guggenheim, offer virtual tours. But why not stick a little closer to home? The Dalí Museum in St. Petersburg, Florida offers a virtual tour through its astounding architecture, as well as features on some of the works in the collection.
- Need something a little more serene on your computer screen? The Clearwater Marine Aquarium has live cams. Dolphins and otters, y’all, what more could you want?
Recovery Guidance During Social Isolation
Mental health plays a huge part in being a successful work from homer, but it is also going to be key for all of us to weather this coronavirus storm. For those who have struggled with substance abuse in the past—or who are currently struggling with it—this might be trickier than usual.
Most in person meetings have been cancelled, for fear of spread of the virus. Once again, the internet and your laptop can provide you a window to recovery in a time when you might need it most.
See some online options that can help you out in a pinch:
- Recently, and due to the shutdown of many 12-step in person meetings, our company American Addiction Centers kicked off virtual meetings in the styles of both Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.
- If you attended Recovery First Treatment Center for your addiction treatment, know that we have a community of alumni to help guide you post-treatment.
- Thankfully, Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous both have created more online options to join virtual meetings.
If you think you are close to relapsing, or need more help than a virtual meeting can offer, addiction treatment facilities including Recovery First are still open and operating. To find out more about treatment, call 954-526-5776.
We can get through this. Working from home is a struggle. Maintaining sobriety is a struggle. But we can still come together, even though we’re apart. Remember to reach out to your loved ones: support will be necessary in the coming weeks and months.