One of the challenges after completing treatment for mental illness or substance use disorders is learning how to fill your leisure time. As most of us are under “stay at home” orders and are self-quarantining, we may have even more free time than before.
As it is not advised to travel, attend in-person support groups, or visit friends or family, many of us are itching for fun activities we can do during our recovery while we are under quarantine.
Discovering your interests after rehab
For some, it may be challenging to learn “how” to spend your free time. You may have a hard time coming up with hobbies that you find interesting and enjoyable, especially during this trying time. Here are some helpful hints:
- Think back to your childhood and what inspired you. What did you daydream about as a child? What were you good at in your younger years?
- Think about the person you admire and try to decipher why you admire them? Do they radiant a quality that you desire to have? How do they spend their free time? What brings them pleasure in life?
- Did you ever have a talent or hobby that you could never fully express because of your substance use disorder? Think about any past interests that you never fully develop because of other hindering factors.
One of the most important aspects of figuring out how to spend your free time in recovery is how to engage in healthy activities that do not trigger memories of drinking, drug use, or trauma
Creating healthy habits, finding a positive support virtual community, and continuing virtual therapy are all essential steps in recovery. It is also necessary to find healthy activities to do in your free time, especially if these activities can enhance your personal growth.
The following are some activities to do while you are on the road to recovery during quarantine:
Whether it is joining a virtual workout class, practicing yoga in your living room or, running or walking outside, physical activity not only improves your cardiovascular health but is also good for your mental health. Physical exercises increase levels of endorphins and dopamine in your brain, which causes a surge in feelings of euphoria. Over some time, regular physical activity can improve your mood.
Foster a pet
The animal shelters have been clearing out during COVID-19 since many individuals realize the mental and emotional benefits of having a furry companion at home. You do not necessarily have to make a lifelong commitment and adopt a pet. Still, you can foster a pet and see if there is a bond that can be mutually beneficial for both you and your furry companion. Dogs and cats are known to decrease cortisol (a stress hormone) and increase oxytocin (the “happy” hormone), which in effect can elevate your mood and lower anxiety. Pets also give us a sense of responsibility as we have to care for them, feed them, and walk them.
Develop a new skill
There are endless amounts of learning possibilities and skills we can develop during this time. They can help us transition into a daily routine during self-quarantine. It is important to note that acquiring a new skill or hobby does not have to be expensive, especially since many of us are financially affected by COVID-19.
The following are additional hobbies:
- Learn a new language
- Join a virtual book club
- Gardening (can create mini indoor gardens inside if you do not have access to a backyard).
- Learn to knit, sew, paint or draw
- Begin a creative writing project (journal or start a blog)
- Learn to play an instrument
- Home improvement projects
Read and learn
There are many free resources such as EdX, which is a free website that offers 2500 courses from 140 institutions in nearly every interest and subject. Many county libraries have free online access to audiobooks, and you can always order used books online.
Enjoy the outdoors
Whether it is hiking, biking, or walking your dog, we are still allowed to explore our neighborhoods and some local trails and outdoor spaces. Connecting with nature can give you a sense of peace and healing. Research has shown that time in the outdoors can increase happiness and help curb depression. The outdoors can be an excellent way for you to escape and spend time alone in your thoughts.
Stay virtually connected
Although “connecting” with friends or family isn’t necessarily an “activity”, it is still imperative, regardless if you are in recovery. We all need some sort of connection during this time. Schedule virtual online “social hours” or “game nights” with friends and family. Join a virtual recovery support group and look into social media groups that support mental health and substance use disorders and as always keep in touch with your therapist and treatment team, even if it is through email, phone calls, or video chat.
AKUA IS HERE FOR YOU!
No matter where you are in your journey to recovery, AKUA can help. We understand that life in recovery can be tough. If you are afraid of a relapse, seeking help for the first time or trying to get back on track, we have a program for you.
We are committed to the health and safety of you and/or your loved ones, and we are FULLY OPEN & OPERATIONAL. At AKUA Mind & Body, the safety of our Clients is our top priority. We are aware of the increased fear and anxiety among most people regarding the current pandemic. Hence, we are doing everything that we can to keep healthfulness and safety.
If you or someone you love is struggling with a mental health illness or substance use and addiction disorder, we can help now more than ever! AKUA Mind & Body provides an integrative treatment approach with multiple levels of care from detox, residential to virtual outpatient programs. With several facilities throughout the Sacramento Region, Los Angeles & Orange County Region, and San Diego Region, we aim to provide our clients with a solid foundation for healing and transformation. Gender specific and Co-ed facilities available.
Call our 24/7 admissions helpline to seek help today!