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 ūüôā
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!

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.

Image

Italy…pasta marinara, anyone?

Image

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

Image

And Brazil! Give me fresh fruit any day.

Weekend Success Story

This morning, I had one of the most successful Sunday mornings I’ve had in months.

No, I did not cure cancer. Nor did I finish all my homework for the next two weeks. I didn’t get the interview done that I need to do for the student paper. I did not go to brunch at a fancy place with fancy friends and order fancy (and expensive) eggs Benedict (how does anyone like eggs Benedict anyway? One of life’s great mysteries).

This morning was a success only in the fact that I did nothing. Zip. Zilch. Zero.

I went to bed fairly late last night, after a wonderful evening rushing about town with friends. I ended up taking some benadryl to counteract my evening of petting and cuddling with cats–adorable, but allergy bombs for me–and the medicine knocked me out.¬†

morning in bed

Most weekends, I cannot sleep in past 8 or 8:30. The thought of all the things I have to accomplish in the day jolts me up and out of the bed and sends me stumbling to my Keurig. But this morning, I woke up at 8:30…and was completely unperturbed. I rolled over, and went back to sleep.

Amazing. At 9, I got up and ate a little breakfast, checked my email, but I was still feeling really groggy and tired. So what did I do?

I got back in bed for another hour.

I can see how this might not seem like a big deal. In the grand scheme of things, I suppose it isn’t. But I live most of my life in a constant state of hurrying about, trying to stay on top of a million and one things, and hardly taking a moment to sit and just be. Every second of the day has to be spent accomplishing something. ¬†This high anxiety personality of mine usually leads to some wonderful successes, but also to quick burnouts where I feel like getting out of bed is a chore.¬†

So this morning, I changed it. I ignored the pangs of rising anxiety (what about homework? Shouldn’t I be working on a blog post? Or reading! I could be improving my mind!) and simply gave my body what it needed: sleep. And lots of it.

Now I feel happy, rested, and ready to take on this next crazy week. It’s amazing what a tiny bit of change in perspective can do!

20 Little Things About Me

I’m totally stealing this little list idea from The College Prepster, because I love lists (see #2 below). Little things might seem inconsequential, but they’re what truly forms you into a unique person. How’s that for a deep thought on Sunday morning?

1// I have a special affinity for twinkly lights and lanterns. They have to be present in any room I’m living in. Something about that soft, romantic glow…

2// I am an avid list maker. I have them for everything: grocery, to-do’s, goals…even lists for lists I need to make. It’s a problem.

3// My favorite season is autumn, especially when enjoyed outside with a good book and a latte.

4// I have a ridiculous inability to relax. I can’t seem to make my mind turn off. I’m trying to get over this with new hobbies like knitting!

5// Speaking of…I just learned how to knit this fall, and it’s my new favorite thing in the world. So soothing.¬†

6// I like to take long, long walks outside while listening to Pandora. Usually The Civil Wars or Mumford and Sons. It clears my head, and I do some of my best thinking out there.

7// I have the complete cast albums of several musicals memorized–like every note and every word of every character. Top 3: Les Miserables (extra points because it’s the complete symphonic recording), Phantom of the Opera, and Rent. That’s where my middle school years went, obviously.

8// I have recurring dreams about teeth and spiders. Not at the same time, of course. It’s a little weird because I’m not particularly afraid of either thing in every day life but put them in a dream and ugh!

9// Least favorite sound on earth: forks scraping against plates. Even thinking about it makes me shiver.

10// I have a little bit of an owl obsession. My room looks like an owl shrine at the moment because everyone who loves me gets me owl-themed presents. I suppose one can never have enough?

11// My favorite foods include apples and oatmeal. I have at least one of each pretty much every day.

12// I am not exactly a clean freak, and I don’t mind a little mess. But there reaches a certain point of no return in my living spaces where I go crazy if I don’t clean up¬†instantly.

13// I really want to go on Jeopardy, so I can use my vast knowledge of useless things to gain a little profit. Well, more to just use some of that useless knowledge.

14// I have two best friends named Katie. Well, Katie and Katy. 

15// My basset hound Patterson and I like to sing operatic duets together. Her favorite aria is “Mein Herr Marquis,” though she’s more of a bass.

16// I want to own a little adorable puppy (preferably basset or corgi) named Khaleesi and a kitten named Drogo. Get the reference?

17// I love to write things down. I’m an avid journaler of random things.

18// I think I watched one total hour of regular TV over my winter break. I’d much rather read.

19// I can happily while away three hours in a bookstore, reading and sipping coffee or tea. Absolute nirvana.

20// I have no idea what I want to do with my life, besides that it involve writing and being artistic. I’m working on letting that make me more excited than scared.

 

16 Books for a Creatively Healthy New Year

Books_thatll_Change_your_life

I’m heading back to school this week, after a lovely month of relaxing, hanging out with friends, and enjoying quiet time spent with my family. It’s difficult to believe that in a week I will be back in the swing of a new semester, running from theatre classes to my editor position at the newspaper to rehearsal and back again! I’m looking forward to an extremely challenging semester, creatively; but I also know that I have a tendency to go a little bit crazy when things get overwhelming.

This year, I want to focus on living the creative life I love without all of the stress that tends to come with it. Refinery29, one of my favorite websites, seems to be thinking along my lines: they published an article featuring 16 books that will change your life in a creative way. I’ve added these titles to my (somewhat staggering) reading list, and hope they launch me off into the new year in an artistically positive way!

 

J. Crew Holiday Catalog…or, all I want for Christmas

My J. Crew holiday catalogue arrived today, and with it, a dismal study of my bank account and the realization of the fact that these beautiful sartorial pieces are a few years out of my reach at this point.

As much as I would love to drop all my paychecks on the glorious felted coats and patent leather ballet flat confections, I will, alas, be forced to waste my money on such discretionary spending as groceries and gas. Ah, this unfair mortal coil.

Here are a few of my favorite picks that will surely be at the top of my list…you know, as soon as my first best selling novel sells.

Fair Isle Leggings

Fair isle leggings

What’s prettier, comfier, or simpler than leggings in a cute pattern?

Double-cloth Metro Coat

Double-cloth metro coat with Thinsulate¬ģ

I adore the color, and the cut is to die for. Makes me think of beautiful chilled afternoons wandering the city!

Fair Isle Striped and Jeweled Sweater

Jeweled Fair Isle stripe sweater

A gorgeous mix of my favorite pattern and the most beautiful embellishment ever! In love.

Vintage Short Sleeve Pajama Set

Vintage short-sleeve pajama set

Absolutely comfy and cosy. Light enough for the summer, but with a sweater, this set makes the perfect winter loungewear.

Everly Cap Pump with Metallic Bow

Everly cap toe pumps with patent bow

Be still my heart. The most perfect pair of pumps I’ve ever seen.¬† I’m always game for a shoe that can transition between the audition room and the board room.

What’s on your Christmas dream wish list?

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.

A Little Resting Now and Then…

brings peace to the wisest men. I’m taking a liberty with the Willy Wonka quote here, but you catch my drift. I’ve been feeling off the past four days: the worse kind of sick, where you’re just tired, achy, and gross enough to want to stay in bed all day…but not sick enough to actually do so. I think it might be a combination of a minor cold and exhaustion, so there really isn’t much medicine for that…besides rest. Not one of my strong suits.

take time to just rest ~ Day 44.01 Yesterday, I'm grateful that I was so restful I forgot to post in my gratitude journal. I must have needed the extra rest. :)

You know I’m feeling bad if I skip my runs, and I took four off days in a row. FOUR. That is almost unheard of. Every day, I told myself I’d get back out the door. But then I would climb the stairs to my room, feel absolutely exhausted, and remind myself that sometimes the most helpful option is to just let yourself take a break.¬† Note: I only came to this realization after frequent anxious texts to my wonderful mom, along the lines of, “But what if I lose my mile time?” Ridiculous, silly, and a good reminder that there are far more important things in life than working yourself so hard.

I had my first loop back in the running shoes today…and felt GREAT. I wasn’t miserable. I wasn’t achy.¬† I was just happy to be out running again.¬† It’s amazing: taking the couple of days off actually brought back the joy that attracted me to a running routine in the first place!

Gotta love life’s moments of realizations.

Hope for Today

It’s been a stressful couple of weeks, y’all. School has really kicked into high gear. I feel like I’m always saying that, but there’s something different about the balance of classes and rehearsals this year. In the past, I was busy rehearsing and running from thing to thing. Since I haven’t begun rehearsals yet (they start Friday! I can’t wait!), I’ve had more unstructured time. Note that I’m not saying free time. I feel like I’ve spent more time doing homework and trying to stay on top of things than ever before, but it gets overwhelming when the time is unstructured. Even though I’m an organized person, it’s easy to get overwhelmed.¬†

This post from MindBodyGreen could not have come at a more serendipitous time.  It made me feel so much better about life in general, and reminded me that, yes, there is life outside of college. And I am doing a good job. Sometimes you need that little reminder to get you through the week. Image