During this unprecedented summer of 2020, it is important to develop a strong game plan to manage COVID-19 stress and potential triggers that can affect your recovery.

While there are inherent challenges during this uncertain time, there are also many opportunities to build a solid summer self-care strategy that helps prevent relapse. A big part of relieving anxiety and fear comes from self-care. And during this particular summer, a strong self-care routine is essential.

Developing an effective self-care strategy can help you strengthen your recovery while enjoying the summer season. Use these tools to build an effective summer self-care strategy: 

Recovery First

In any season, make your sobriety the priority by maintaining your recovery program and schedule. There are also online meeting options available for your safety and convenience. Skipping out on your recovery program can put your sobriety on a slippery slope as the summer progresses. Straying from your recovery program and schedule will weaken your ability to power through triggers including fear, anxiety and boredom. Remember: working your recovery program is the ultimate self-care practice.

Follow the Basics: Sleep, Eat, Move

A healthy body will monumentally boost your ability to stay on track with your recovery. The basics of self-care include a healthy diet, physical activity and sufficient rest. Take care of yourself by eating healthy, getting enough rest and staying active or exercising daily. The long summer days can easily throw your sleep schedule off. Make sure you are getting enough sleep, as well as resting your mind and body when necessary

A healthy mind relies on a healthy body, so diet and exercise are essential pieces of the self-care puzzle. Staying active is an essential self-care strategy. Summer is the perfect time to take the dog for daily walks or go for a swim; regardless, reserve 30 to 60 minutes each day for an outdoor activity.

And, be mindful of your diet and nutrition, focusing on healthy eating choices and patterns. Summer is the perfect time to take advantage of fresh fruits and vegetables at the local farmer’s market, the experiment with healthy seasonal recipes. Taking care of your physical health will naturally feed into your emotional health and reduce stress levels.

Learn to Meditate

Mindfulness is a powerful self-care tool. Take control of your thoughts and emotions with a meditation practice. Even five minutes a day can make the difference. Meditation will calm your mind, reduce stress and enhance your overall health. As you build your routine, expand your meditation practice. Enhance your practice seasonally by mediating near a summer garden or other peaceful outdoor setting.

Have Fun

Self-care also includes having fun. Take some time to reward yourself with the seasonal things that bring you joy. Get out on the water, enjoy a summer sunset stroll, play in the garden, fire up the grill and cook a nice filet — treat yourself to some safe, responsible summer fun. New shoes, a round of golf, ice cream on a hot summer day … whatever treats make you happy, treat yourself and enjoy.

Whether you are new to recovery or firmly in long-term sobriety, explore safe summer experiences and activities that set you up to engage in the best that the season has to offer while staying focused on your recovery journey and avoiding relapse.

Explore Valley Hope’s blog for extensive resources and information for loved ones, families and the recovery community.

Do you need information on other recovery subjects? If you have a related topic you would like covered, please submit your ideas to info@valleyhope.org.

If you or someone you care about needs help immediately, the Valley Hope team is available 24/7 at (800) 544-5101. For more information on addiction, treatment and recovery, please visit valleyhope.org.