Photo of addiction peer coach Michelle Venturelli

Ask a coach

Michelle has extensive experience in the criminal justice field, where she worked closely with offenders to help them rebuild their lives.

Q: How do I stay well in times like this?

A: I don’t need to tell anyone it’s a strange, difficult time. I’ve heard coaching members, coworkers and my family members express similar concerns – it’s a tough time to stay balanced and healthy.

These are just a few things I’d recommend starting with:

Stick to a schedule
Keeping a routine is very important, especially if for those who are home-bound. For some, it might help to put a daily plan on paper. Morning routines can be particularly powerful – they set the tone for the rest of the day.

This is doesn’t mean our days have to be fully scheduled with work and other tasks. Be sure to set time aside for relaxing (ideally without screens) and for catching up with friends or family.

There are so many different approaches to productivity: apps, calendars, planners – plus books, podcasts and blogs all with advice on how to organize your time. It might take a little trial and error, but finding an approach or useful tip will help you feel empowered and efficient.

Make time for loved ones
We’re so lucky to have the technology we do. Reach out to your out-of-state family members, or schedule a video call with a friend you can’t visit in person. Quality time with people you really care about, even if it’s over the phone, is so important in times like this. 

Keep it simple
Social media is full of unrealistic standards and unending projects: new recipes, workout regimens, elaborate crafts, reading lists, mindfulness techniques – the list goes on and on.

Stick to what’s best for you, not what you think you should be doing. It’s a stressful, uncertain time. You don’t have to have it all figured out. 

Try something new, within reason
Keeping simplicity in mind, it may be a good time to try a new hobby or activity. It could be as small as journaling, meditation or a gratitude exercise (I recommend three good things).

This isn’t about adding another responsibility to your plate, it’s an invitation to find an enjoyable way to pass the time. It could be as simple as a new puzzle, a book you haven’t gotten to yet or a podcast you’d like to catch up on.

Move around
I saved my favorite for last! Incorporating regular movement is so important in staying well – exercise is a vital part of my own personal recovery. But again, don’t feel like you need to have the perfect workout schedule or unending motivation. If it were that easy, we’d all be doing it already.

Sometimes I’ll set an alarm every 45 minutes or so to remind myself to get up and move. Even a short walk can do wonders. Get some fresh air and sunshine, listen to some positive music, call a loved one – they’re such simple ways to feel good and treat your body well. It’s all about small, purposeful steps that keep you active and healthy.

We’re all in this together. Stay well, and please reach out if you’d like extra support.

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