Self-Check-In: Understanding Emotions in Recovery
The past year has certainly presented enough challenges to create a winding journey of uncertainty and overwhelming feelings. Yes, it’s ok not to be ok. But it would be best if you had a plan for how you can reevaluate your daily actions and create an environment that supports your emotional and mental growth. In a normal year, recovery is a brave step. But 2020 demands that you pause take a moment to check in with yourself and evaluate your emotions in recovery.
You get to take a moment for yourself. You get to internalize what’s happening in the world around you and decide how you’re going to react to it all. What you don’t get to do is blame away each uncomfortable moment on the past year. Reverting to the belief that “bad things” happen in 2020 is an easy way to excuse choices you may not otherwise make. So, as we wrap up what has certainly been an unprecedented year, take some time to check-in with yourself.
Accept a Slow Change
Living under the assumption that everything will get better in 2021 puts yourself on a fast track to disappointment. There will be many opportunities for the condition of our nation’s health to improve, but it will take time. Accepting that change for the better will develop at a slower pace than perhaps many would hope is inevitable.
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It’s equally important not to get lost in the belief that every problem is out of your control. Many elements of your life fall within your ability to change, including:
- People in your daily life
- The environment in which you live
- How you react to unforeseen challenges
- Habits you develop to cope with stress
- Dedication to your recovery plan
Building healthy coping strategies allows you to move through the environmental and emotional challenges that will carry over into 2021. It will prepare you to handle your emotions better in recovery, sobriety, and stressful situations.
Control What You Can
Make the next right move. That’s all you need to do. You can’t solve the world’s problems. Sometimes you can’t solve your own immediately, but you can give sincere thought to the next right move for your health, mental stability, and emotional balance.
If restrictions on travel or high risks of doing what was once considered normal activities have you down, it’s important to know you’re not alone. The challenges of 2020 have affected millions of Americans. The rate of depression has tripled over the course of the year, so checking in with yourself to measure your true emotions is essential. 
For many, however, self-check-in isn’t enough. When symptoms of depression are paired with substance use disorder, a California Dual Diagnosis Treatment Center is the best option. Ocean Hills Recovery has the experienced staff to independently diagnose your mental health challenges and substance use disorder issue.
Managing Emotions in Recovery
To check-in with yourself mentally, you must also be aware of your physical state. As you examine your thoughts and feelings, evaluate your posture, the tension you’re holding in your shoulders, and your breathing. Be conscious of releasing the stress in each part of your body as you take deep, calm breaths. This is a helpful practice to perform in stressful moments or when you’re facing a delicate choice.
Ocean Hills Recovery recognizes how difficult constant change and isolation can be for those predisposed to substance use. Taking small, actionable steps each day to measure your mental state and make the next right move will allow you to recognize when you need support more easily. Contact the Ocean Hills Recovery team to learn about your support options with mental health challenges and substance use during these trying times.
About the author:
Nicole earned her doctoral degree in Psychology with an emphasis on marriage and family therapy at California School of Professional Psychology. Her doctoral thesis was a grounded theory study exploring the role of alienation and connectedness in the life course of addiction. She specializes in treating addiction and trauma. She is certified in DBT and EMDR, two of the most highly regarded evidence-based methods in psychotherapy. Dr. Doss is a strong LGBT advocate and provides open and affirming support to her LGBT clients.
Dr. Doss’s earlier education included graduating cum laude from the University of California, Irvine in June of 2007 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. While there, she received honors recognition by Psi Chi and Golden Key honor societies.
Nicole has been working with alcoholics and addicts in our California drug and alcohol rehab center as an advisor and counselor for many years. She is passionate about providing quality counseling and care to her clients. Her main focus is on integrating the 12 Step and disease models of addiction with experiential therapeutic theory. She is married to Greg; they have two adorable sons together and an energetic yellow Labrador Retriever.