Recovery cannot be explained as a straight line from sick to healthy. It's all over the place — a scribbled mess that sometimes doesn't make any sense. There are good days, not-so-good days, and flat out terrible days that make you question why you even try. However, prioritizing your recovery is critical for both your long-term health and happiness. It is not an easy or simple task, but it's the best thing you'll ever do. Always remember that you're the author of this story, and no one else can write the plot for you. With that being said, here are some ways to begin prioritizing your recovery in order to live your best life.
1. Designate time for meals and snacks in your schedule
It sucks, I know. However, food is fuel. Think about it this way — you can't drive a car without gasoline. Your brain and body need nutrients to function. Coordinate your class and work schedules with times to eat.
2. Stay aware and redirect the negative self-talk you have
It is so easy to get lost in your thoughts while sitting on Zoom all day. Sadly, the worst place to be is in your own mind sometimes. You have to stay aware of the things you are thinking about. If you find that body, food, weight, etc. are dominating your mind- redirect your thinking. Let those thoughts pass like clouds in the sky. Maybe consider practicing some positive affirmations or distracting yourself by doing something fun.
3. Reach out when you need support
Asking for help is a hard thing to do. However, be aware that eating disorders thrive in secrecy. If it is too hard to even go and get food, consider asking a friend to go with you. Even though it feels terrifying, do not be afraid to reach out and talk to someone. When you feel alone remember that you have friends and family who love you and want to support you.
4. Always treat yourself the same way you'd treat a friend
You would never tell a friend to skip meals, hate their body, or to engage in disordered behaviors. I'm sure you wouldn't wish this life on anyone. If this is true, why is it okay to tell yourself to do these things? It is difficult to remember that your body is supposed to be your friend. Each cell in your body is devoted to keeping you alive. Start treating it as your ally instead of the enemy. Lastly, never forget to practice what you preach.
5. Know what your triggers are and have a plan for when they pop up
It may be hard to realize but, it is likely you have some triggers. They could be certain places, things, people, pictures, or even memories. Triggers are inevitable. However, coping with them is essential to your recovery. Brainstorm a list of calming things or ways you can deal with stressful situations. Some ideas are leaving the situation, telling someone when they say something hurtful, or practicing self-care.
6. Check in with yourself periodically
Are you hungry? Have you been drinking water today? How are you feeling right now? These are some questions you have to ask yourself periodically. Make sure you're paying attention to your physical needs and taking care of yourself.
7. Utilize available resources
Books: "Life Without Ed" by Jenni Shaefer, "Health At Every Size" by Linda Bacon
Apps (iOS): Recovery Record, Brighter Bite, Motivation
8. Remember that recovery will never be easy, but it will be worth it
"Eating disorder recovery becomes possible when you keep making the next right decision over and over. With time, these decisions become automatic." - Brittany Burgunder