Our Monster hates being isolated! She wants to come out, she wants to stay connected! The more invisable she feels, the angrier she gets. Just like a little child who wants to be seen and heard.
So how can we manage our Monster? How can we manage our addiction in isolation?
- Stay Connected to yourself
Stay connected whatever way you can. Firstly and most importantly stay connected to yourself. I find morning meditation very helpful. It is like checking in with myself: “Good morning me! how are you today? what do you need to do today to stay on track?” Take that extra bit of time and space every day to sit with you, your feelings and your Monster. That will help you to find what you need, how you can take care of yourself and your Monster.
- Stay connected to your friends, family, neighbours, and your community
Make a plan for the day who you are going to contact. Be bold and brave. Contact people who you haven’t heard from for a long time. You never know, they might be very pleased to hear from you. Remember, it is not just you, who needs to feel connected. We are together in this isolation. Be creative: talk to your neighbours over your fence, hanging out of your window or from your balcony. (do it carefully) Accept your fear of making the first step to reach out to people and do it anyway. Another way of staying connected is through volunteering in your local community. Elderly and vulnerable people need help with their shopping, medication etc. more than ever before. Helping others also feels really good! You will feel like a superhero!
- Stay Active
When our Monster is feeling trapped and nervous she builds up stress hormones and will be more vulnerable to old habits as a way of self- soothing. Exercise is not just helpful for burning some calories off and staying fit, but also excellent for getting rid of your accumulated cortisol hormone that keeps you feeling on edge. So just move it move it babe! There are so many different classes on YouTube. You can do dance, aerobic, yoga, tai chi…the list is endless. And of course you can still go out for a walk, cycle or jog. My personal favourite is at the moment is foraging. (once again be careful)
- Be creative
Being creative now is not an option but a survival tool. Our usual ways of living are limited, so we need to open up some new habits and new ways. Stay being the winner and not the victim! It is really hard I know and so challenging, but just remember that challenges bring growth! Just focus on the things that you can do, and not on the things that you can’t do. Once again, be brave and don’t worry about getting it wrong. Come out of your comfort zone: …paint a picture, write a poem, make a video, try new recipes. This is a great opportunity to find the things that make you happy.
- Have an addiction Buddy
Dedicate a person who you can/ will contact when the Monster is so loud that all you want to do us to give up. This person will help you to calm your monster down. You may just need to express to somebody that you feel low and can’t be bothered to make the effort anymore. Sometimes just sharing with a loved one how we feel is very powerful. Vica versa, be somebody else’s addiction buddy. (rubbish title…you can come up with something more quirky than that) It feels good to be with somebody at their lowest and know that they trust you enough to share their darkness with you.
- Get back on the next train
If you end up falling back into your addiction, remember that it is like travelling on the train from London to Edinburgh and getting off the train at York. It doesn’t mean that all your hard work is wasted. You are not back at London! It only means that you stopped at York but you can soon jump back on it again. Accept what you did, and write down your triggers- what happened right before your Monster had taken over. Come up with plans on how you are going to treat the situation differently next time. Everything is a learning. Remember that Shame will anger your Monster more, so swap it for self- acceptance and compassion.