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!

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!

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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