It’s Almost Summer!
Summertime is just around the corner. As much as many of us look forward to summer months, traditional summer events can be a trigger for those trying to maintain sobriety. Outdoor barbeques, beach hangouts, and late-night soirees may cause many in recovery to feel vulnerable to potential slips or relapses.
Although this summer may look very different than summers past due to COVID-19, we can still find plenty of sober activities that are sure to please. Consider the following tips for planning summertime fun that won’t threaten your recovery.
Tips for Enjoying a Sober Summer
- Balance is key. Know your triggers. The more self-awareness you have, the easier it will be to navigate your schedule. If you know that the birthday party will serve alcohol, plan a sober activity that week to look forward to. You could hike with a friend or try out a new recipe. If you have a hard time knowing which situations may trigger you, have a back-up plan in place. Make a list of courteous reasons you can give for not attending a party or for leaving early. Have a friend on call who can encourage you to leave an event if it turns problematic for you.
- Stay positive. It can be easy to fall victim to self-doubt and that nagging, negative voice in our heads, but it is more important than ever to cultivate positivity during the summer months. Social distancing guidelines may cause some gloom, but we can use the lighter energy of summer to cultivate positivity. Feeling depressed? Force a smile. Research suggests that smiling–even when you don’t feel like it–can instantly make you feel happier. Create a mindfulness or self-care routine; find and display a photo of something that brings you joy; or explore journaling as a way to release tense emotions.
- Create. Crafting vision boards, exploring the endless lists of DIY crafts, and gardening are all great ways to support your recovery. Creativity serves as a healthy distraction from alcohol addiction and may help reduce emotional distress such as anxiety and depression. Plan a painting, cooking, or plant party (which all can be done virtually if needed) as alternatives to the usual get-together.
- Explore nature. During the current health pandemic, many are feeling disconnected from the outside world. Getting outside not only increases serotonin (the neurotransmitter responsible for regulating sleep, mood, and stress) but also helps us unwind and relax almost instantly. You can set up a chair in your lawn or adventure through your local parks or hiking trails. Take a walk after lunch–or stream your favorite nature documentary without even leaving your house. However you get your dose of mother nature this summer, be sure to do it safely and adhere to current health guidelines.
Focusing On Your Recovery
Staying focused on your recovery during the summer months, even during this pandemic, does not have to be much different than any other time of year. Having an established and trusted support system in place, places to go that feel safe, and several options for sober summer activities will certainly help you and your loved ones enjoy these summer months to come.
As Always, We Are Here to Help
At St. Gregory Recovery Center, we understand your concerns, and we are here to help. Please let us know if we can answer any questions you may have. We are committed to your recovery process.