New Year’s 2014: Resolution to Recover

Welcome to 2014!

It is the New Year, which means time for resolutions, diets, workouts, commercials, and a bombardment of advertisements letting us know that we are not good enough, too fat, etc.  For those of us in recovery it is an especially tough time of year because the holidays were tough enough and now we face fighting off triggers from nearly every direction.  We face slips and relapse from all the diet talk, negative advertising, etc.

It does not have to be that way though.  Despite this being still a difficult time of year with all the resolution-making and diet-talk going on, it does not have to be overly triggering and you do not have to engage with it.

The first step is to know your triggers.  We are all different in what triggers us–what triggers me may not trigger you.  Be aware of what triggers you.

Once you know your triggers, it is about switching the channel when the commercial feels too triggering or not reading an article when it feels too triggering.  It is about choosing recovery over whatever triggers you and engages your eating disorder.  It is remembering recovery is more important than relapse.

If you ever forget why recovery is so much more worth it than your eating disorder, write out your reasons for recovery or look back at a prior list if you have one.

And instead of believing you are not good enough and a new year is a chance for a “new you”, how about focus on all the ways you are good enough and all the things you have accomplished.  What kinds of things are you looking forward to this year?  What little goals do you have for yourself?  How about long-term goals?

It is a new year and you are good enough.

Coping with the Holiday Season

Christmas is less than a week away.  Yes, less than a week!  I can hardly believe it either.  That means, for many of us, a lot of stress and anxiety.  Christmas means our providers are on holiday, our schedules/routines are changed, family will be present, and there will be food and a lot of it.  It is hard.

Here are a few of my favorite coping skills for this time of year:

1. Plan ahead.  Discuss your worries in advance with your therapist.  Come up with a game plan for the things that you know will be an issue for you and work through some of the other anxiety that you may have.

2. Find your own space. By this I mean find space for yourself to go when/if you need a moment to yourself.  It is okay to need a break and to take a break, so make sure that you have a space already planned out so when you need it, you already know where to go and do not have that additional stress of figuring it out or feeling trapped.  My favorite spaces include my room (when I am at home), a bedroom in the house I am at, the car we drove in, and going outside (if possible).

3. Have an ally.  If possible, have a person whom you trust present that you can confide in when you are anxious or need someone to talk to.  If you do not have a person present, have a friend you can text or call.  Having a supportive person there can mean so much.

4. Avoid known triggers.  Everyone has different triggers.  If you know certain things will trigger your eating disorder, avoid it.  For me, that means avoiding alcohol (for the most part), getting tons of sleep, taking enough time for myself, and taking very good self-care.

Make a holiday plan for yourself.  What works best for you?  What do you need to do to prepare for the holiday?  What do you need to do to have a good holiday season?

Kristin’s Thanksgiving Thriving Guide

Tomorrow is officially Thanksgiving in the US.  For me, Thanksgiving is the most difficult holiday.  It is a holiday about food surrounded by a lot of people and a lot of food and weight talk that has been really triggering in the past.  This year, however, I am going to make Thanksgiving a different, better experience for myself.  Here’s how:

Thanksgiving Thriving Guide

1. If I need a break, take one.  I can walk into a different room, go to my room, etc. and take a few moments to collect myself and go back to the party.  It is okay to take a break if I need one.

2. Food and weight talk does not have to trigger me.  When other people express feelings of fatness or fullness, it does not have to trigger me.  It is their feeling and has nothing to do with me.  What is going on in my body?  How do I stay present for myself?

3. Remember to be a mindful/intuitive eater.  The many plates of food available on a holiday can be overwhelming.  Remember to check-in with my body to see what it wants and needs.  Also checking-in throughout the meal to see if I am full or not.

4. Have a plan.  Be prepared for the things that I know will be stressful.  For instance, have a plan for what food items I know I can eat/are “safe” in case I am emotional before dinner and cannot choose.

5. Reframe! Reframe! Reframe!  Remember to reframe all the negative thoughts and negative thinking into neutral or positive thoughts.  Instead of letting myself think I am fat for eating or being full after dinner, thinking of all the reasons that that is not true such as one meal will not make a person fat, I am not fat, I am not an accurate measure of my body weight, this too shall pass, etc.

6. Use gratitude. There is so much for me to be thankful for right now including my family, my recovery, my kitty, football, and so much that I could not even list all the things here.  In the moments where I find myself stressed or feeling down, I need to remember all those things that I am grateful for because there is a lot.

7. Wear what is comfortable.  Although your mother may want you to still dress up after all these years, wear what is comfortable.  Be comfortable.

8. Be kind to myself.  If I make a mistake, something unexpected happens, I get overwhelmed, etc., there is always kindness and self-compassion.  I need to remember that mistakes happen, things happen, and to be kind and gentle towards myself regardless.

What is on your Thanksgiving Thriving Guide?  What about your Holiday Thriving Guide?  What helps you overcome your triggers and stresses during the holidays?

An eating disorder stole so much from me.  Holidays, birthdays, and events that I will never get back.  This holiday season will not be one of them.  More to come!

Stay strong Recovery Warriors! ❤