ways to show yourself compassion

I was discussing my recent New Year’s Resolution with my therapist last week. I’d decided to do a random act of kindness for someone each day. It doesn’t have to be a big deal at all–even a kind word will do it! I just thought it would be a great way to spread a little love and get out of my head a bit.

But then my therapist started me thinking (as therapists so often do). She replied that my idea sounded wonderfully and lovely, but had I considered adding myself to the list of random act of kindness participants?

I looked at her with a little bit of amusement and assured her that no, that wasn’t how it worked.

But that got me thinking: why can’t it be? If I’m so dedicated to showing love to other people, it seems a little bit ridiculous that I’m harboring so much hate and guilt towards myself. I realize those are strong words, but anyone with an eating disorder will connect with them. Sometimes the self loathing is so strong all you want to do is turn off your life and become someone, anyone, else. Which is impossibly sad. 

So I decided to take her up on her suggestion, and begin making myself the recipient of some of my random acts of kindness. It isn’t a selfish thing; it’s about self preservation. Part of the recovery process is remembering all of the wonderful things these magnificent bodies of ours are capable of. To do that, you’ve got to show ’em a little bit of love!

Here’s my list of 15 little ways to show yourself some compassion today.

1. Buy some new bubble bath/bath bombs and take a long, lingering soak. Don’t worry about the other shit you have to get done.
2. Take an hour/two hours/an afternoon to do what you really like doing. Don’t try to fool yourself into, “But I really do enjoy doing my homework!” Nope. Next choice. For me, this is reading or knitting 🙂
3. Start a movie or TV show marathon. You can be working on other tasks while you play it, but make sure it’s something you love. For me, this is Modern Family.
4. Say no. Recognize when you need to do something for yourself instead of going out with friends or doing an extra task, and say no without feeling guilty all night. I’m still working on this one, but it can be an awesome feeling!
5. Window shop! I go online and look at outfits that would look great on me. Price is no object when you’re just gazing.
6. Call someone you love and talk for a while. For me, this is usually my boyfriend or my mom. It can be so nice to hear someone’s voice and talk about nothing important for a while. If you need support, ask them for it. Be reminded of why they love you.
7. Make yourself a mug of something good. For a quick pick me up, I gravitate towards hot, good-for-the-soul drinks. If I don’t want to stress, it’s either hot water, tea, or coffee, but if I’m feeling indulgent and ready to challenge myself, I’ll get hot cocoa or a latte. 
8. Read something inspirational. For me, this runs the gamut between my devotional (Jesus Calling) and the accompanying Bible verses, to Peace Is In Every Step, a Taoist text on peace. Whatever works for you! Gain a little bit of inspiration and a chunk of perspective. 
9. Paint your nails. Take the ten minutes out of your routine to make yourself feel sparkly and pretty and worth it.
10. NAP!! This has become a huge one for me. I get so exhausted from the daily struggle of life plus recovery, and I have finally learned not to fight the nap train anymore. I embrace it. If there’s time for a nap, I will take it. Listen to what your body needs!
11. Take a walk and jam. I’m not allowed to exercise yet, which makes me a little stir crazy sometimes. When I have to have to get out and do something, I’ll take a walk and listen to a Pandora station I love (currently switching it up between Hillsong United, Mumford, and The Civil Wars).
12. Draw and color. There’s nothing more relaxing than making a coloring book pretty. Give your brain a chance to relax.
13. Let it go. Is there something you have to get done but just can’t do right now? Okay. Let it go. Seriously, put it aside for an hour or a day and come back to it later. Be kind to yourself and stop forcing your brain to do something it just doesn’t want to do. You’ll come back to it refreshed and ready to work.
14. Plan the future…but only fun things! I currently take mini breaks to Pinterest some inspiration about my upcoming trip to Italy and Paris. Places I want to eat macarons? Check. Gorgeous fountains? Check. Dream big! You have a future outside of ED.
15. Remind yourself how well you’re doing. Sometimes it pays to just take a moment and remember: You are enough. You have enough. You do enough. Recovery is absolutely exhausting, mentally, emotionally, and physically. If you start getting bogged down by how far you have to go, remember how far you have come. You’ve taken the first step towards getting better. Be proud of yourself.

What do you guys do to show yourself a little love? Let me know!

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neda awareness week…coincidences or destiny?

This has been an interesting week from an ED point of view. First of all, and most obviously, I’ve been posting statuses for NEDA Awareness week on my Facebook, just reminding friends how gorgeous and wonderful they are–and how a number on a scale doesn’t play into that at all. So that’s been good.

But I’ve also been approached by several of my close friends about getting help this week. It’s run the gamut: some just needed a little bit of good vibes tossed their way. Others asked me for the names and numbers of my recovery team.

In this deeply personal struggle, I think it’s important to remember that most women (and men, for that matter) have something they would like to change about their body. I’m not a weirdo, I’m not crazy. I have a disease that makes me sick. But I’m by no means the only one. It’s good to remember that I’m not alone. 

It’s even better to remember that through my struggle, I have gained experience with which I can help others. Now that is a powerful thing.

Hope everyone has a great week!

National Food Flags

I saw this on Facebook and had to share. For any foodies, this post is absolutely gorgeous…and mouth watering. Advertising agency WHYBIN/TBWA created flags from 18 different countries formed out of the country’s most recognized foods. The flags were created as a promotion for the Sydney International Food Festival, but I think these prints would hang beautifully in any kitchen.

Italy, with it’s beautiful piles of fresh basil, pasta, and tomatoes, quickly won my heart. I’m also particularly fond of Great Britain’s scones, cream and jam. Not only because I’m an anglophile, but come on: that looks delicious.

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Italy…pasta marinara, anyone?

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Great Britain…of course it’s tea and crumpets. 

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And Brazil! Give me fresh fruit any day.

The Twelve Dates of Christmas: Date 2, A Winter Wonderland Drive

I love nothing more than looking at Christmas lights. Seriously, I wish those little sparklies could be up all year round. There is something so magical and beautiful about how they glow on the fresh snow, during the cold northern nights…see, they even make me more poetic than usual. Sigh. But I digress.

My second idea for a winter date night is inexpensive, memorable, and fun!

Date Night 2: Winter Wonderland Drive

Christmas lights always make everywhere look amd feel more special. They are deffinitely the ultimate Christmas decoration that you MUST have!!!

I would start the night with a yummy warm homemade dinner (crockpot soup? Grilled cheese and tomato basil bisque? It’s all good!) After dinner, it’s time to pile in the car and head to Starbucks, or another favorite local coffee shop, and indulge in a sweet and warm drink to ward off the chill inside the car. Even less expensive? Try one of these inexpensive hot cocoa recipes from Refinery29.

Peppermint hot chocolate is the perfect treat for a December morning.

Map out the best-lighted neighborhoods around (usually the ritzier, the better), put some Christmas classics on the radio, and drive around for a few hours. Here are a few must do’s:

  • Pick your favorite house. Special awards can be awarded to Highest Energy Bill, Most Creative, Dream Home, Most Blinding, etc.
  • Don’t be afraid to get out of the car! Last year, my friend and I actually went on this “date,” and my favorite moment was jumping out of the car to swing at a park for a few chilly, exhilerating minutes.
  • Take the paths less traveled: it can be fun to get lost and all turned around
  • Bring a camera to document your favorite houses, and any special moments. There could be a great holiday photo for next year’s Christmas cards in there somewhere!

Christmas Tree Lights on our dogwood in the front yard ~ yes please!

 

Simply Having a Wonderful Sunday!

I awoke this morning to snow blanketing the campus–a rather rare occurrence down south. Of course, as a Northern girl, I scoffed a little at first at all of the emails and texts detailing the closure of campus for a tiny dusting of snow and ice. But I am absolutely in love with the lazy, cosy atmosphere that has washed over my school in it’s wake. Everyone is sweet and warm and taking a day to relax, do homework, and love being together.

It’s a beautiful thing to experience in the last few days before we head home to celebrate Thanksgiving.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, I have to share this awesome infographic from Love Taza and her sponsor, Sweetgreen! It’s everything you ever wanted to know about Thanksgiving–which, I’m the first to admit, is my favorite holiday, second to only Christmas. Any day with the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, green bean casserole, apple pie, and family time with Christmas carols in the background is a win in my book!

Eating locally isn’t a new trend - the first Thanksgiving featured seasonal ingredients grown in Plymouth Colony, and throughout the US, local produce is still incorporated into Thanksgiving meals today.  Since we are all about sourcing and eating local foods, we wanted to celebrate the regional cuisine that is consumed on this holiday. Check out our infographic to learn more about variations on the Thanksgiving meal across the US.

Dreaming of a Winter Wonderland

I’ll admit it: for me, we have officially reached the holiday season. I held out for as long as I could. I, too, scoffed at the sinfully arrival of Santas and snowmen to the store shelves. I denied myself the pleasure of Peppermint park and holiday cocoa.

But I simply cannot hold out any longer.

This morning, I decorated my room for the holidays, complete with garlands, snowglobes, and, of course, Christmas lights hung over the window. I listened to my Josh Groban holiday Pandora station as I drove cross town all morning.

And this evening, I will spend some time organizing my Holiday Bucket List.

Yes, the holiday season has officially arrived in Lauren’s heart, Are you all managing to hold out any longer?

Here’s a little piece of gorgeous inspiration for my decorating style. I can’t wait for snow and home!

 

Why I Can’t Shop Online

I am in crisis. A crisis of indecision. And this crisis centers around two pairs: one of ballet flats, and one of sparkling, glimmering earrings. Both contained in the absolutely seductive, sinful, and dangerous collection known as the C. Wonder Flash Sale.

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Ah, the woes of the college fine dresser.

I love fashion. I love dressing well. And I love getting new clothes.

And yet, I can count the number of new items that I have actually bought in the past three months on one hand.

I can have something in my hand, be totally ready to check out, sartorial visions of grandeur dancing through my head; and then, at the last second, my heart freezes up. My hands start to sweat. I begin to counter the thoughts of gorgeous new sweaters/footwear/earrings with the thought that I have to buy groceries in three days. Quicker than you can say “buyer’s remorse,” the offending object has been placed on a random shelf, and I leave the store, empty handed and ashamed, but with a fuller pocket book. This process has continually driven my family and friends crazy. Usually, I only buy something when I’m forced into it by a shopping co-conspirator. At this point, I would say that I spend more time regretting the items I didn’t buy then the few miststeps I’ve made in purchases.

This whirling maelstrom of frugality versus fashion comes to a head whenever I plunge into the world of online fashion. Thanks to shopping sites like RueLaLa and Hautelook, and flash sales from my personal favorites, C. Wonder and Kate Spade, I have a constant influx of preppy fashion splendor rushing into my inbox. 

I almost find something I’d love to have. About once every three days, an item even finds its’ way into my Shopping Cart. But of those chosen few, I think only two items have made their way to my doorstep in the past few months. Both of them were under $10.

The truth is, while I love the convenience of shopping online, I just can’t handle the finality of the numbers that pop up when you hit “sub-total.” Shipping costs kill me. Add to that the agony of waiting for the item to arrive. You don’t have anything in your hand when you trade in your money. I’m basically swiping my Visa on a wing and a prayer, hoping my new ballet flats will arrive and fit, Cinderella-style.

The jury is still out on this one. What do you guys think? How much time do you spend deliberating on purchasing decisions?

 

Cooking Basics from Refinery29

Have you heard of Refinery29? If not, I encourage you to sign up for their newsletter. It’s full of little tips and tricks edited in fun, modern style. Exactly the kind of publication I’d love to work for! 

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The post that caught my eye today was on the most basic principles of cooking: boiling an egg, how to make French toast, the appropriate way to bake a potato…all the little things you feel like you should know, until you step up to the counter to cook. This came at the perfect time; just last night, I found myself craving deviled eggs…and wondering what the process for boiling was. It’s fun little things like this that remind you you’re still a child, after all 🙂

Hope everyone is having a lovely start to the week!

 

Fall Back…

It’s most definitely November. The wind has grown chillier and more insistent; evening comes on sooner. I find myself reaching for an extra scarf or heavier jacket most mornings, because I can’t believe how quickly this month has arrived!

I absolutely love the fall. The period between my birthday and New Year’s is my absolute favorite: a whirlwind of coziness, family and friends, decorations, Christmas music, and (best of all?) delicious food!

In my quest for a happy mind and healthy body, I’ve wracked up quite a few dessert recipes I’d love to try. Here are the ones currently at the top of my wish list.

White Chocolate Espresso Cake by pastryaffair

White Chocolate Frosted Espresso Cake from Pastry Affair…all of my favorites in one beautiful, pastry package.

White Chocolate-Topped Cinnamon Chip Cinnamon Bars

White chocolate topped cinnamon chip bars from Averie Cooks…the only thing better than cinnamon? Cinnamon paired with chocolate.

Apple-Gingerbread Cobbler | MyRecipes.com

Apple gingerbread cobbler from My Recipes. Everything that is good and right about the holiday season.

I probably won’t have time to make any of these delicacies for a couple of weeks, since my show opens this coming weekend. Cue excitement. Cue panic. Cue growing to-do list. But just putting them up here motivates me to get back in the kitchen and enjoy delicious food! There is much truth to the saying that desserts like these are good for your soul.

The Myth of the Size Zero

There is this strange duality in the performing arts world that I’ve been thinking about lately. We are expected (and by we, I mean women) to be fit, strong, and toning at the gym. We should be eating healthy, getting our fruits and veggies, and avoiding fries and frappucinos and fro yo like it’s the plague.
And at the same time, we are expected to be thin. Very thin. If you compare the size of girls at my school, just generally, with those of women the same age at other state colleges, you would see the average size is incredibly different.
These two goals work together very well. And by that, I mean it is so very simple to cloak unhealthy behaviors in the veil of fitness. Eating a little oatmeal, two salads, and running three miles? That was a successful day in my book. We endow food with mystical qualities of good and evil: chia seeds are fruit of the gods; cookies are put in front of us as temptation!
Here’s the thing, though: being skinny does not equal success. It certainly does not equal being happy. Society, and the performing world in general, promises young women the myth of the size zero: once you reach a certain tiny size, you will be happier, stronger, sexier, funnier, able to go for a jog and ace the interview all before breakfast.

It isn’t true. I wish I could say there was a magic spell to get all these things, but I know for a fact it does not lie in killing yourself to be thin. There are so many other important things in this world than fitting into a pair of skinny jeans. Being fit and healthy is absolutely one of them. But I fear that so many young women cross the line into a zone of obsession because of this empty promise.
I am working now on realizing I can be described in so many ways. My size lies at the very bottom of that list.
I’m beginning this November with a new commitment to loving myself and loving this life. I hope you all are too: you are too beautiful to ignore your own well being.

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