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Season of Connection

Season of Connection

The holiday season is a season of connection. Time spent with family and friends celebrating with both seasoned traditions and new experiences. Because connection can feel vulnerable in a period of distress, you may find yourself wanting to disconnect to protect your eating disorder and the comfort that vulnerability avoidance brings. However, it is your eating disorder that wants you to avoid things that you previously loved to engage in for fear of growth and recovery outside of your current disordered behaviors.

Being truly connected means being seen, heard, and valued for where you are presently. Without being vulnerable and welcoming connection into your life, you are avoiding a crucial piece of the recovery puzzle. Vulnerability in regards to connection can mean different things at different points within recovery. Whether that means being honest with yourself about your eating concerns, being open with your treatment team, reaching out to your support system for help, or challenging yourself to engage in various types of connection that once brought you joy. These steps will aid you in growth towards recovery and a life without restraint.

Remember that your eating disorder is trying to take over. Don’t allow it to diminish the joy and connection you are capable of experiencing this holiday season. Eating disorders thrive in periods of disconnect and solitude. Lean into your ability to connect with your body, your values, and others throughout this holiday season. 

Comparison and Social Media

Comparison and Social Media

We live in a world where validation from others is consistent. Instead of forming an opinion of ourselves based on our own sense of worth and value, we look to outsiders in hopes of feeling assured. Social media has created a space where praise and accolades are given and ultimately expected with each individual post and interaction. 

One of my favorite quotes by Lindsay Kite reads, “When your empowerment is based on others’ physical appraisal of you, it can be taken away as freely as it was given.” (Lindsay Kite, 2020). Whether it’s Tik Tok, Instagram, or any other form of social media, we often rely on others to define our worth, and we then use it to decipher how capable we are in the real world.

Give yourself permission to set boundaries surrounding social media use and consider how each of the following may encourage you to take back your power:

  • Mute or Unfollow- Instead of following pages or individuals who hinder your growth in recovery, you deserve the right to unfollow or mute free of guilt. 
  • Take time off- If you find yourself mindlessly scrolling, comparing yourself to others, or relying on outsiders to decipher your worth, it may be time for a social media break. 
  • Post without alterations- Your body is worthy of acceptance without any photoshop or editing. 
  • Delete comments- You have control over your own page. If someone makes a comment that objectifies you, makes you feel uncomfortable, or discusses your body in any way, you have the power to delete said comment.
  • Post without limitation- Challenge yourself to post pictures for your own enjoyment and because you want to savor the memories, not for the recognition of others. 

Comparison through social media is harmful and unreliable. We are comparing others’ best moments to what may feel like are our worst. Comparison consists of dwelling on the past or encourages anxiety as we think about the future. With so little time to be present, we begin focusing on others’ lives more than our own. When in recovery, we owe it to ourselves to look beyond comparison and take into consideration how social media is impacting beliefs we have about ourselves and the world around us. As we look inward and differentiate between what is helpful and what is not, we reclaim the power that is often given to others.

Permission to Move Forward in Recovery

Permission to Move Forward in Recovery

Have you ever heard of a “live list”? It’s the concept of creating a list of things you want to complete or experience within a specific time frame. It could be a summer live list, a live list to complete by a specific age, or maybe even a list of things that you routinely add to for the rest of your life. 

Maybe your live list includes topics such as; running a marathon, climbing mount everest, writing a book, or starting your own business. All of these goals are great, exciting, and admirable, however they are substantial goals requiring months or even years of preparation and many small steps in effort to achieve the larger end goal.

When setting a goal to run a marathon, you may start with buying new running shoes, researching routes to run around your neighborhood, and creating an upbeat playlist, all before even taking the first strides towards being able to run 26.2 consecutive miles. The goal of running a marathon consists of preparation, persistence, and self compassion. 

When thinking about your healing journey, it is easy to jump right into the end goal of wanting to be fully recovered. We forget that like a marathon, working towards recovery must consist of preparation, persistence, and self compassion for long lasting and fulfilling results. We often get in the mindset of wanting to be healed without doing any of the small preparation work that is necessary and part of the journey.

What can preparation, persistence, and self compassion look like when focused on healing? It could present as:

  • Frequent journaling or self reflection and being transparent with yourself about what stage of change you are truly in. 
  • Being vulnerable with your support system when increased support is needed.
  • Showing up for yourself in therapy and when meeting with a dietitian. 
  • Creating space for uncomfortable or unknown emotions, even when it may feel easier to avoid them. 
  • Continuing to work towards your goals, no matter how slow the progress feels.

Giving yourself the freedom to move forward with your goals without pressure creates a space where you can be focused on the journey of recovery, rather than solely being focused on the end result of being recovered. Recovery is an ongoing and vulnerable, yet freeing experience, when we wholeheartedly submerge ourselves into the process without limitation. 

Living Beyond Body Image

Living Beyond Body Image

One of my favorite ways to spend my free time is boating with friends and family. For as long as I can remember, I have looked forward to the carefree days on the lake with nothing to worry about aside from how long I can surf the wake and the downloaded playlist that will be on repeat all weekend long. As I grew older I became aware of my body and the unrealistic expectations that society was trying to force upon me. Instead of solely feeling excited, I had other feelings cropping up. Although the excitement didn’t disappear, it was accompanied by feelings of vulnerability and nervousness. Instead of living candidly like my inner child wished I could, I felt limited and distracted by the way that I was taking up space and the way that I looked in a swimsuit. One of my favorite quotes by Lindsay Kite reads, “Having positive body image isn’t believing your body looks good; it is believing your body is good, regardless of how it looks.” (Lindsay Kite, 2020). Knowing that your worth isn’t defined by the way your body looks, opens doors from the unrealistic box society tries to force us into.

Have you ever felt unworthy of an experience based on the way you perceived your body? As I think of all of the memories I would have missed out on if I were to give in and avoid certain experiences based on these uncomfortable or unknown feelings, I would have missed out on so many of my all time favorite days and events. When I think of all  of these core memories, I think of the word free. And having the freedom of not limiting myself based on the unrealistic expectations society tries to enforce upon me, requires vulnerability. As you think of your personal experience and your experience surrounding your healing journey, I want you to consider journaling about each of the following questions:

What does it mean to be vulnerable in my healing journey? 

What does freedom surrounding body image look like to me? 

Am I allowing my perspective of my body to limit my experiences?

Am I allowing myself to feel all emotions that are being brought on by my healing process or am I suppressing specific emotions in effort to avoid feeling uncomfortable? 

When we look back on our favorite memories, we are often thinking about the way that we felt, not the way we looked. Making an effort to work through uncomfortable emotions provides a pathway towards a life full of freedom and experiences that we may otherwise miss out on.