3 Ways to Successfully Work from Home During Social Isolation


Welcome, work from homers. There are undoubtably more of you than there was a week or two ago due to the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). Calls and mandates for self-isolation and social distancing have led many businesses to send their workers home, growing the WFH crowd exponentially for the next few weeks, and, potentially, months.

Although introverts may be cheering, many of you are new to working from home. It can be a difficult adjustment: You no doubt have an established routine when you’re in the office, and now you may be in your slightly messy apartment, itching to do anything but work.

It can also be a tough time for people who have struggled with or are currently struggling with substance abuse or addiction to have to be stuck at home, exacerbating a person’s desire for those substances. On Twitter, we’ve seen more people posting about drinking from home, even during the workday.

We understand that it’s a scary time, but don’t worry: We’ve got you on the WFH front. Read on to learn how to get through a WFH day successfully, without turning to vices you have once had, or are currently dealing with. We’ll also provide you some resources in case you feel a relapse coming or want or need to talk about your substance abuse with someone.

Continue or Reestablish a Routine

person sitting on the floor of their home working on a laptopYou don’t have to commute, so you may be able to sleep in a bit in the morning. But don’t plan on waking up right when you’re supposed to start work. Following a fairly normal rhythm in the morning—exercise, shower, breakfast, for instance—can help get you mentally prepared for the workday ahead.

You may need to establish a new routine when you work from home. If this is the case, try to establish it early on, and stick to it. Consider what you would do at work: Would you watch TV? Throw in a load of laundry? If it’s not part of your daily work routine at work, it could interrupt your workflow while you work from home.

Routines are also an important part of recovery. If social distancing and self-quarantining are messing up your normal routine as a recovering addict, reach out from your sponsor or friends if you’re having a hard time establishing a new one.

Over Communicate with Your Colleagues

We don’t mean check in every 5 minutes. Rather, check in with your boss when you start your day and when you end it, if they require these check-ins. If you are in a remote meeting or assigned new work, ask questions, clarify the assignment or messaging, and be very clear on your abilities and what you believe you can accomplish.

This accountability in the workplace can potentially help keep you accountable in your personal life. If you feel the need to use a substance, communicating with a loved one about the difficulty can be helpful.

Take a Break

Sometimes, if you don’t have the distractions of your coworkers, you may forget to take a break throughout the day. Make sure you get up regularly and remember to drink enough water—something I forget to do when working remotely.

Before, taking a break could mean going to a coffee shop or getting a quick errand done. However, due to social distancing and isolation, taking a break could mean a walk around your neighborhood, a quick yoga or stretching session, or exploring something online for a few minutes.

  • The San Diego Zoo, for example, has live cams on some animal favorites. Check in on the polar bears napping or the giraffes eating to give yourself a mental break.
  • If you’re in the Laguna area and close to the beach, a nice relaxing walk near the ocean can be calming—as long as you’re practicing social distancing. Just make sure the park or beach you’re going to isn’t closed before leaving the house.
  • For those looking for a little fun and thrill, you can find videos of Disney theme park ride-throughs. The internet provides for escapism at its finest.

Help for Substance Abuse During Social Isolation

As you can see, communication plays a big part in making sure you remain mentally healthy through this troubling and difficult time. If you are a recovering addict, or if you believe you have a substance abuse issue, it may be hard to find help right now.

Because of social distancing, online options for meetings have opened up:

The U.S. is asking all of us to come together in the coming weeks by keeping apart. But with the technological options we have at our fingertips, that doesn’t mean we have to go through this difficult period alone.

Need Immediate Help?

If you’re struggling with an addiction or are fearful of relapse, getting help in person is the right move. While virtual communities are a helpful for those in recovery, for those who are in crisis, leaving home and seeking out professional help is necessary. Get yourself or a loved one into treatment, call 949-565-2377.



About The Contributor

Laura Close
Laura Close

Senior Web Content Editor

Laura Close is a Senior Web Content Editor at American Addiction Centers and an addiction content expert for Laguna Treatment Hospital. She has a bachelor’s degree in English and nearly a decade in professional editing experience that includes... Read More


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