recovery

The holidays, the pandemic, and recovery

Dealing with it all is a challenge. But with help, it’s possible

By ANNEMARIE SCHUETZ
Posted 12/16/20

REGION — For many of us, winter’s holidays mean everything.

They’re about religion, family and joy. The rituals balance us and bring peace.

That has all changed during the …

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recovery

The holidays, the pandemic, and recovery

Dealing with it all is a challenge. But with help, it’s possible

Posted

REGION — For many of us, winter’s holidays mean everything.

They’re about religion, family and joy. The rituals balance us and bring peace.

That has all changed during the pandemic, of course, and these different holidays feel strange and wrong. But the season is even more challenging for those in recovery.

Clinical psychologist and licensed master social worker Dr. Dean Scher, CEO of Catholic Charities in our region, reminds us all that it is normal to feel fear and anxiety during this time. Mix in the holidays and add the need to alter our behavior so that we all stay safe, and it only adds stress.

“Coping with pandemic-related fear, isolation, change of routine and the challenges of celebrating the holidays during these unusual times has been stressful for everyone,” said Scher. “Proactively managing the stress is key to keeping us healthy right now. Focusing on self-care is essential.”

He has offered tips on dealing with the season and with recovery. Even if you aren’t in recovery, these are worth following:

  • Take care of yourself. Eat healthy, well-balanced meals. Get plenty of exercise and sleep. Maintaining a routine is important.
  • Practice meditation, self-reflection, or deep breathing. Take time to relax and unwind your mind and body.
  • Stay connected with people who are important to you. Catch up on phone calls, use video chat, or write a letter. But don’t take on too much. If you can’t get holiday cards out this year, that’s okay.
  • Give yourself a “time-out” from news and social media—even family members when necessary.
  • Take a break from screen time, as well. Too many video calls can be draining.
  • Spend time outdoors and commune with nature if you can.
  • Avoid turning to substances to self-medicate.
  • Continue to attend support meetings and counseling appointments.
  • Take time for activities you enjoy.
  • Find ways to help where you can.
  • Be kind to yourself and others. Everyone is feeling stressed and anxious.

And as always during this time, follow the guidelines to prevent COVID-19. Catholic Charities emphasizes the following: Wear a mask, social distance and wash your hands. If you are struggling to maintain recovery, turn to your counselor, physician, or other support system for assistance. It’s okay to ask for help or support if you need it.

Catholic Charities is open and continues to provide programs and services to those who are struggling to manage their stress and other related issues. Program adjustments have been made to promote responsible social distancing and protect the health and well-being of both employees and clients.

Addiction treatment and recovery services, including medication-assisted treatment, are available at Catholic Charities in Orange, Sullivan and Ulster counties. New admissions, counseling sessions and group therapy are being made available via telephone and telehealth practices.

Contact Catholic Charities in Monticello, NY at 845/794-8080.

Catholic Charities announces retirement of CEO, final focus on recovery programs

GOSHEN, NY — On behalf of the Board of Directors of Catholic Charities of Orange, Sullivan and Ulster, board chair Tom Urtz announced that the agency’s long-time CEO, Dr. Dean Scher, has submitted his intent to retire in early 2021.

Shannon Kelly has been named Deputy CEO; Kelly will oversee the agency’s daily operations effective immediately and assume the role of CEO upon Scher’s retirement.

Over the next few months, Scher will focus his attention on Catholic Charities’ substance use treatment and recovery programs, which include eight outpatient locations, as well as residential and crisis services.

“My years at Catholic Charities have been incredibly gratifying. I have been fortunate to work for an organization that has allowed me to fulfill my purpose in life and be surrounded by a strong, talented team. I look forward to working more closely with our clinical staff,” said Scher. “The pandemic has been especially challenging for those in recovery. More work needs to be done as we are witnessing a significant surge in substance use and overdoses.”

For more information, visit www.cccsos.org.

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