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Wednesday Wellness Feature April 21, 2021

Updated: Jan 26, 2022

Exercise as A Way to Cope

By Dr. Charlotte Wincott, PhD

Charlotte Wincott is a neuroscientist and filmmaker. Her award-winning short films have been screened internationally and touch on topics related to mental health and psychology. Dr. Wincott holds a PhD from NYU in neuroscience.

Finding ways to cope with our feelings without using substances is key to keeping us in recovery. This is not always the easiest thing to do, because when something difficult happens in our lives, we want to blunt or change unpleasant feelings as quickly as possible. No one likes feeling anxious or down, and it’s normal to want to feel better. Learning healthy habits to cope with these temporary emotions is part of the recovery process and will give us the foundation we need to make the right choices in the moment when we are faced with tough situations.

It’s important to have a toolbox of activities that lift you up – things to do that are cheap, easy, and can make you feel good right away. At the top of my own list is exercise. That always makes me feel better and there’s a ton of science that supports why it works. If you have a pair of running shoes, you can put them on wherever you are and go out for a jog. If you have a way to play music while you run, that may be extra effective because studies show that music also affects the reward areas in the brain. Pick some great tracks and hit the pavement.

Another activity I like to do is yoga. Yoga is great because it helps you get centered, tune out the noise in your head, and get your body moving. I used to go to a donation-based class several times a week before the pandemic hit, but since then, I’ve had to find other ways to do yoga. While I prefer the energy of people around me in live classes, I’ve found some videos that do the trick. All you need is a yoga mat and 20-45 minutes. Some of the videos are longer and more intense, but you can search for vinyasa flow on youtube and choose your difficulty level.

The pandemic has been hard on everyone whether you are in recovery or not, so figuring out how to stay healthy and cope with emotions takes extra effort. Make sure to listen to your body and talk to your treatment provider about any limitations you might have before you begin any workout program.

Resources for Working Out at Home


Get Your Vaccine Questions Answered Today!

The CDC has said that people with a history of substance use disorder are at an increased risk for contracting the coronavirus, and for experiencing poor outcomes if they do contract the virus. For this reason, it is essential for people in our community to get the vaccine. If you–or a loved one or a friend–have questions about the vaccines, reach out to a #VaccineNavigator today. You can get in touch with a #VaccineNavigator by:

You can get in touch with a #VaccineNavigator by:

  1. Completing the online support request form

  2. Calling 833-301-HELP

  3. Texting 833-301-HELP


Events and Resources

Thursday Night Group

Support groups are essential to those of us in recovery, and COVID-19 has thrown a wrench into our ability to gather and share about our journeys. If you are in recovery and looking for an online meeting, please join us on Thursday evenings/afternoons at 6 p.m. ET (3 p.m. PT). Connections App

Have you found yourself longing for connection in the era of Covid? If you have, you’re not alone. Addiction Policy Forum recently launched an app for people in recovery to share and connect with others from across the country. The Connections App features eTherapy components, resources for finding meetings in your area, and a social space for chatting and sharing about your recovery. The best part about the app is that it’s free! Fill out the form on this page, and we’ll help you download the Connections App so that you can see what you’ve been missing.


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