With so many public events being cancelled and businesses shutting down, you probably have a lot more time on your hands. You can make it a positive experience. You can use the time to restore your body, mind and soul.

Coach’s Corner on Coronavirus and Self-Isolation: Three Mental Health Tips

As the coronavirus spreads through the country, public events are being cancelled. Venues are closing. You may have already been asked to work from home. You’re expected to stay home and self-isolate. You are now in a quandary. You know that as part of your recovery, building connections is vital. You’ve probably been told “Go to meetings. Attend gatherings. Be part of something.” You want to stay connected for the sake of your own mental health and recovery. But you also want to protect your physical health while being a good citizen and protecting the health of others. What can you do?

You can binge watch all of your favorite programs, but that can feel very lonely after a while. You can talk on the phone and spend hours on social media, but that can feel isolating or even turn into a technology addiction. It also does little to improve your physical health. Living that way, day after day, until the number of new coronavirus cases drops off, can be depressing and stressful. Not knowing how long this will go on can be anxiety-producing. These conditions can trigger a relapse.

How can you overcome the potential depression, anxiety, and stress of this social isolation? What can you do that will actually improve your physical health as well as your emotional health in this difficult time?

Here are three tips:

1. Get outside: Did you know that just being in sunshine increases serotonin levels? Serotonin is one of the body’s natural anti-depressants. Step outdoors and soak in the sunshine. You’ll start feeling better almost immediately.

2. Mindfully explore your local park: Parks are rarely crowded. You can easily stay the recommended six feet or more from others who may be there. Then, take the time to pay attention to your senses. Feel the warmth of the sun. Listen to the animal sounds. Smell the flowers. See the many colors of the plants. Be in the moment. Connect with Nature to restore your soul.

3. Get moving: As little as 10 minutes of moderate exercise will start elevating your “feel good” brain chemicals. If you can keep it going for 30-40 minutes, the brain health benefits will really start kicking in. Your mood will lift. Anxiety will melt away. Stress levels will go way down. Give it a try.

With so many public events being cancelled and businesses shutting down, you probably have a lot more time on your hands. You can make it a positive experience. You can use the time to restore your body, mind and soul.


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Leslie Gold

Leslie Gold, Founder and Executive Director of Strides in Recovery Leslie is an RRCA-certified running coach who specializes in training the newly sober. As a volunteer at a residential addiction treatment program, she has coached hundreds of people in early recovery across the finish line of the Los Angeles Marathon, more than any other coach in the country. Years later, many of the participants still credit the group training and life lessons learned as critical to their long-term sobriety. Inspired by these success stories and numerous testimonials about the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual benefits of training for a challenging endurance event with the support of a team, Leslie started Strides in Recovery. The mission of this non-profit is threefold: 1) Bring running/walking-based relapse prevention programs to more recovery communities 2) Strengthen and grow the community of sober runners/walkers 3) Educate addiction treatment providers about the healing power of goal-oriented group training Prior to starting Strides in Recovery in 2018, Leslie spent three decades leading clinical and financial performance improvement projects, implementing decision support solutions, and generating analytics for hospitals and health systems across the US. She holds an MBA from UCLA and a BA from the University of Virginia. She regularly runs 40-50+ miles/week and has joyfully completed a 50K, 9 marathons, and numerous shorter distance events. She is also an avid cyclist.

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