Quarantine. It’s on all of our minds. How can one continue on the path to recovery during quarantine- a time when you need to stay home?
We’re being told to relax, hustle, get fit, eat well, eat whatever we want. Learn a new language, binge watch TV shows, try to work, work less. Make a schedule, don’t make a schedule. The amount of information is overwhelming and for those who already are struggling with a new normal, all of this information can trigger a relapse in substance use.
At Sage, we understand that putting together a daily schedule can help with addiction recovery. We also understand that in this climate, keeping to a normal schedule is harder than it’s ever been. We compiled a list of things you can do to take care of yourself, an example schedule, and several tips on how to create your own schedule to support you during this unexpected detour on your journey to recovering from addiction.
After reading this article, you will have 40 examples of ways to stay centered and be able to put together a daily schedule to keep you on track to recovery. We are also going to add a bonus schedule template to start!
Staying centered is often described as “being in balance with the two disparate parts of ourselves” and learning how to stay in the moment. For some, this could be staying in an even place between anxiety and depression, not thinking too much and not thinking too little. Staying centered is essential for recovery because it keeps you from swinging from one extreme to the other.
To stay centered, we suggest practicing self-care. Self-care can be broken into 6 types: physical, emotional, spiritual, intellectual, social and sensory.
Physical Self Care means taking care of your body but doesn’t always have to equate to an intense workout routine. This can be things like eating, doing yoga, taking a shower, or doing some chores around your house.
Emotional Self-Care is about checking in with yourself, understanding your emotions, and learning to handle them in a constructive way. Understanding why you act or feel a certain way, and why you respond the way that you do.
Spiritual Self-Care doesn’t have to pertain to religion- it means nourishing your soul and striving for inner peace.In fact, some define being ‘Spiritual’ as being kind to yourself and finding that true feeling of happiness. Keep in mind that this isn’t something you’ll find overnight, but rather something that you have to work to find.
Intellectual Self-Care includes doing something that makes you happy and challenges or nourishes your mind. This can be reading, watching a documentary, learning a new skill, painting, or building something.
Social Self-Care is a very important part of staying centered, and probably one of the hardest to exercise in today’s quarantine. Luckily, this looks a little different these days. We don’t have to leave our house to see people anymore or wait for days for a letter to arrive. This can be anything from commenting back and forth with someone online to texting and calling on the phone, or video chatting with a loved one.
Sensory Self-Care is nourishing your senses (sight, smell, touch, sound, and taste). This helps bring you into the present moment and lower your stress levels. Many psychologists recommend sensory self-care as a way to come down from an anxiety attack, and can be equally helpful at keeping you ‘in the moment’. You can burn a candle, go for a walk, walk barefoot outside and enjoy nature, or you could make a small kit that contains some of your favorite smells and textures. Cut out a piece of leather or flannel if that’s you thing, or use essential oils to add scent to a piece of paper.
Staying grounded and relaxed during quarantine means doing what you can to practice as many of these every day if possible.
But how, right? How do you take these abstract ideas and create a schedule that implements all of them?
We came up with some examples for each type of self-care. These are some ideas to get you started and then we laid out a schedule that you can fill with your different activities each day so you can continue with your recovery without a relapse.
Examples on How To Tap Into Each Self Care Path for Continued Recovery:
Physical Self Care:
- Cooking yourself healthy and delicious foods
- Doing an online yoga or meditation class, or following youtube tutorials.
- Finding a workout routine (there are many free ones on Pinterest!) and working out as often as you can
- Going for a walk
- Adding Sage or Lavender to your shower for a nice, relaxing scent
- Doing an online workout class
- Cleaning up your work and relaxation spaces, organizing something or doing a chore.
- Challenging yourself to make creative meals with few ingredients
- Start a journal and catalog every day. Note your feelings and emotions, write to your future self about where you are right now, write as your future self back to your present self
- Build a Vision Board and start visualizing where you want your life to be (outside of quarantine)
- Do a daily emotional check-in. What are you feeling? Why are you feeling that way? Allow yourself to meditate and think through your emotions.
- Think through past issues you’ve had, try to understand why you acted in the way that you did, write through it and try to put solutions in place to keep yourself from getting out of hand again
- Focus on what you say to yourself on a daily basis. Speaking negatively about ourselves is directly linked to our emotions.
- You don’t have to be religious, but spend some time meditating or praying for inner peace
- Spend time meditating and thinking about what you are grateful for or work on forgiving yourself.
- Take some time to check in with yourself. Is there anything your body is craving? More sunlight? Water? Leafy greens? Some chocolate cake?
- Reflect on times where you felt truly happy, what were you doing? How can you recreate that feeling?
- Meditate on things that you truly like about yourself, or about what other people like about you.
- Read something that inspires you.
- Watch a documentary
- Read a new book
- Read through some online articles
- Spend some time learning a new skill. This could be anything from painting to learning a new instrument or how to be a more efficient communicator.
- Take up photography
- Watch informative YouTube Videos
- Start a conversation with someone who does something you’re interested in. Ask them about it.
- Challenge yourself to become better at something you already enjoy doing.
- Set an online date with your friends or loved ones. Get dressed up and enjoy a cocktail with them (virtually)
- Start a text message thread with some of your friends/loved ones and have a meme/joke contest. See who can send the funniest photos
- Call loved ones while you’re eating and have a virtual meal together
- Watch a TV show at the same time as your friends/loved ones and text back and forth commentary during the show
- Make a list of everyone that you miss and make a point to call one of them each day
- Burn a delicious smelling candle
- Bake some cookies and enjoy the scent (try not to eat all of them at the same time!)
- Go for a walk outside at dusk and enjoy the dewy smells of the grass and flowers
- Walk barefoot through the grass
- Find somewhere outdoors (and empty) to go hiking
- Plant some flowers or greenery in your house. Create an indoor garden
- Plant an herb garden inside
- Listen to some new or interesting music.
We recommend picking and filling your day with one activity from a combination of these six paths. The one below includes several examples of each path of self-care, but we realize that not everyone can create a schedule like this one. Because of this, we also provided some tips on how to create your own.
Self-care Schedule- by the hour:
8-9 am: Wake up, stretch, and drink your morning coffee or tea. Wake your brain up slowly by spending some time thinking about or journaling your feelings (Perfect time for spiritual and emotional self-care!)
9-10 am: Start your morning by creating a delicious and healthy breakfast (Physical self-care!). If you’re working remotely, this doesn’t have to be a huge breakfast. It can be as complex as an omelet with toast and fresh fruit, or as simple as smothering some toast with avocado.
10-11 am: After breakfast, try picking up something new! Watch a youtube video on a fun dance routine or learn about a new hobby you’ve always wanted to try out (Intellectual self-care!). Be patient with yourself. You have to be bad at something before you can be good at it!
11-12 pm: Take a break and go for a quick walk to enjoy the spring weather. Take a moment to smell the air and feel the sun on your skin. Then, listen to music, or give a friend, loved one or sponsor a call to check-in! (More physical, social AND sensory self-care!)
12-1 pm: By the time you get back it’ll already be lunchtime. Cook or prepare a fresh lunch! (More physical self-care)
1-2 pm: After lunch, continue learning something new. Pick up a book, do a craft or an old hobby. Give your body time to digest lunch your mind a chance to be creative (Intellectual self-care)
2-3 pm: Once you’re done being creative, try watching a new movie or documentary. (Intellectual self-care)
3-4 pm: This is the perfect time to take care of some chores. If there are dishes stacking up, or clothes that need to be washed, floors that need to be vacuumed or swept, do it now! (physical self-care) You’ll be amazing at how much better you feel afterward.
4-6 pm: Take the next two hours to make a great and healthy dinner. Try using all fresh ingredients, and put everything on real plates and use real utensils. While you’re eating, facetime or call a loved one. Afterward, clean up (physical and social self-care).
6-7 pm: After your meal, use the next hour to focus on you. Journal about what you felt today and why you felt it. Maybe spend some time praying (if you practice a religion) and focusing on what you’re grateful for (spiritual self-care).
7-8 pm: The sun is starting to go down, so consider going outside and watching the sunset. This could be a great time to take another walk if you feel up to it (physical and sensory self-care)
8-9 pm: Start winding down for bed. You could do this by taking a hot shower or bath. Try using Lavender or Sage scented candles or essential oils Shave and moisturize. Brush your hair and teeth. Relax. (physical and sensory self-care)
9-10 pm: Now, it’s about time for bed. Before you fall asleep, try reading a book to get your mind to slow down. Listen to so calming music and get ready for sleep. (intellectual or sensory self-care)
There you go! That’s a whole day of simply caring for yourself. However, we’re not all the same, and we can’t all have the same life-style.
If following someone else’s schedule isn’t your thing, or if you need to modify the one above because you work, remember to pick one activity from each of the six self-care paths each day to stay centered.
- To start, write down or make a mental note of all the things you have to do every day. Then, write about how long each of these things will take you. For example, work might take eight hours out of your day, but that phone call with your mom might only take an hour.
- Format your day hour by hour (like we did above) Then block out each hour for what they’re going to be used for. Block out all eight for work, and that one for your phone call.
Now, fill in the rest of your time to take care of yourself.
- Make sure you take at least an hour out of your day to practice physical self-care. This could be anything from working out and taking a walk to taking a shower or cleaning your apartment!
- Reading is an excellent way to start or end the day. In the morning it can help wake up a groggy brain, and at night, it helps to slow an overactive one down. The same can be said for journaling.
- Remember to practice socializing, especially while we’re in quarantine. If you’re more of an introvert, a couple of quick texts could be all you need, but sometimes it’s helpful to actually call or facetime someone you love or care about.
- Blocking out at least an hour to create and eat a healthy meal is essential to taking care of yourself. While they don’t need to be complex, they can be a real mood booster!
- Spending time with your kids or pets is also a great way to relieve stress and practice social self-care. They need it as much as you do right now!
- If you have the news on all the time, turn it off for a while! There’s a ton of information coming from news centers all over the world, and it can turn into an information (and sensory) overload. Give your brain a break.
No matter who’s schedule you’re following (whether it’s your own or someone else’s) remember to take time just to process everything that’s going on. Don’t overload your brain with the news, or stress out too much about who around you might be sick. If you find yourself panicking because of the virus, wash your hands one more time, and then watch a movie, read a book or listen to some music while cleaning out a closet.
Community Outreach & Marketing
Imani is a writer and social media manager who assists the admin of Sage with community outreach and marketing. Her own struggles with mental health and experience in therapy give her a unique perspective to empathize with the patients/clients of Sage. Her experiences influence the blogs that she writes and the social media content she produces. In her free time, Imani enjoys traveling, making YouTube videos, reading, and obnoxiously singing to show tunes.
* All blog content that is written by Imani is approved by a licensed mental health professional.*