People in recovery have often built a long list of healthy coping skills. But if you find that they aren’t as helpful right now, it’s okay. Try not to judge yourself for it. Judging the feeling will compound your suffering. Remember that it’s an unprecedented time. You might have practice using your coping skills in a lot of situations, but likely not during a global pandemic. I’ve found that some of the skills I use for managing anxiety are not working as well during this crisis. When that happens, I try new things. For instance, when exercising or listening to music—which are usually helpful for me—aren’t easing my anxiety, I’ve tried stretching, putting on a nostalgic tv show, petting my cat. I think of things that would be harmless even if they didn’t work and try those. Sometimes the act of trying something different helps ease the immediate feeling of anxiety. It’s also been useful to double down on usual coping skills. It may feel to some of us like they aren’t working—but that could be because we’re not accounting for having to adjust them to the current situation. For example, when there’s not a pandemic, I often only meditate when I remember—which is usually when I’m already stressed. Even when I go through periods of trying to keep a regular schedule, I meditate a couple times a week. Now, though, I set an alarm to meditate three times a day. I do it whether I’m actively anxious or not. I’m using that coping skill in a different way—as a sort of preventative measure for easing future anxiety rather than trying to “cure” current anxiety. Setting a schedule for using coping skills might be helpful in general. For instance, if mantras work for you, pick an amount of times per day to say them and set an alarm. It may sound intense, but a time like this requires much more vigilance. And yet it is much easier to feel depleted when you’re under stress like the current pandemic. That makes it hard to follow through if you don’t set clear intentions, and have concrete ways to remind yourself of those intentions. But again, be easy on yourself if you can’t get to it. There is no right way to be in a pandemic. What we all need most right now is compassion—particularly self-compassion. If you are struggling with a substance use or co-occurring mental health disorder, it is okay to ask for help. There is hope. Amatus Recovery Centers is open and here for you during this crisis. We are using third-party, hospital-grade sanitization to ensure our facilities are safe for anyone in need of treatment during this time. At our addiction treatment centers across the country, we will help you build the tools to thrive in long-term recovery. Call an admissions specialist at 410-593-0005.