By Kara Stevens
While many people dream of working from home, remote work can be challenging when you’re in recovery from addiction. Here are some tips on maintaining your productivity — and your sanity — when you’re working from home.
Keep Your Morning Routine
Going to the office every day requires certain tasks you probably took for granted, such as waking up early, taking a shower, and eating breakfast before you start working. You may have been in the habit of going to the gym on the way to work or stopping for a coffee at your local café. Working from home makes it all too easy to let some of these habits slip away in favor of rolling out of bed and starting up your computer.
Try not to let all of your habits go out the window when you’re at home. You may not be able to go to the gym or the coffee shop as usual if you’re told to stay at home and practice social distancing, but you can continue your normal routine by:
• Waking up at your normal time. It’s tempting to use your commuting time to get in some extra winks, but having some personal time before your work starts is healthy and will make your day feel a little more normal.
It’s easy to lose track of time at home and work through your lunch, but your need for a mental break is just as real as it is in the office. Eat some fresh food and give your brain a little rest.”
• Showering and getting dressed. Get out of those PJs and get ready for the day!
• Eating breakfast as usual. If you usually eat with your family, continue to do so. It can be tempting to take your food to your home office and lock yourself away, but getting in some time for connection before you start work can help every member of your family during this time.
Don’t Forget Your Lunch Break
It’s easy to lose track of time at home and work through your lunch, but your need for a mental break is just as real as it is in the office. Eat some fresh food and give your brain a little rest. You can try getting out for some fresh air, even if it’s just a walk around the block, fitting in a yoga class, or going to the gym.
A lunch break is also a good time to attend a 12-step or other group meeting. If you don’t have enough time to drive, look into a virtual meeting option. If you usually go to meetings twice a week, try to keep the same schedule when you’re at home.
Connect with Your Community
When you’re remote, you’ll need to proactively communicate with your co-workers more than you did in the office, because you’ll have to coordinate on projects, clarify requirements, and check in on progress to ensure that you continue working as efficiently with your team as you did when you had face-to-face time in the office. Not only will this help you professionally, but it will also help to ease feelings of loneliness that may have you craving a return to drugs or alcohol.
Keep Up with Your Aftercare
Recovery is a lifelong process, and relapse is often a part of that journey. While addiction-rehab programs teach patients relapse prevention skills, aftercare programs can strengthen relapse prevention through learning new skills or providing opportunities to practice those skills.
AdCare’s parent company, American Addiction Centers, has a free and confidential recovery app to support program alumni after they complete treatment. The app allows alumni to monitor recovery progress; keep a gratitude journal; continue to make progress in recovery and stay healthy through wellness challenges; watch, listen to, or read recovery-related content; and create and maintain connections to other American Addiction Centers alumni. v
Kara Stevens is a senior web content editor at American Addiction Centers, the parent company of AdCare Hospital in Worcester and AdCare’s outpatient programs throughout the region.