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!

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.

 

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!

 

Adorable Little Ones

I don’t think I have a case of baby fever, at the moment. The same cannot be said for many of my college compatriots, who I see swooning over the little ones running about campus with a hungry look in their eyes. They’re so ready.

I am so not.

I do not want diapers or dirty dishes or throwing up or all my money spent on all of the above.

Logically.

But all of the cute fall and winter pictures of little hipster children? Yep. I’m there. I love them all. And a little bit of my heart cannot wait to dress my own in cute little pom pom hats and owl sweaters and baby slouchy boots and cart them around to parks and farmer’s markets and artisinal stores while we chatter amiably about the latest book that we have read together.

Le sigh. A girl can dream.

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Little Eleanor from Love, Taza. She’s a girl after my own heart.

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Curly haired little guy. My dream.

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What could be sweeter?

 

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!

 

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!

 

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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What I’m Loving

A little weekly roundup of things that have caught my eye!

1) College Prepster’s Bedroom…and PJ’s!

I just think she’s adorable. Carly recently added this Anthropologie wallpaper to her bedroom wall, and I’m in love with the print, the colour…it’s all good! I wish I could do something similar–but I think the RA’s might frown on wallpaper in a dorm room. 

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I do, however, plan on adding some comfy PJs to my fall/winter shopping list. I love that the ones featured here have a long sleeve top and shorts on bottom. Paired in a cute flannel print, they’re the perfect loungewear for cosy mornings spent doing homework and watching Halloween movies. 

2) Fizzy, pretty drinks!

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Moscato Blueberry Cocktail

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The Sarasota…so pretty!

Now that I’m 21, I find the prettiest, sparkliest drinks are catching my eye on Pinterest. My go-to is Moscato with cranberry sierra mist: it’s fizzy, fun, and a pretty pink color! These picks are a little more labor intensive, but they’re all lovely and look delicious! Maybe I’ll play mixologist this weekend. 

3) Reading Plays…

All of the plays. I just found out that auditions for next semester will be in two weeks. The same weekend that my show goes up. Oof. So I have been scrambling to read some new scripts. I’m a big fan of the stuff published by the National theatres of England, Ireland, and Scotland. They’re amazing, and the stuff is new and visceral and a little crazy. All good stuff, and a little outside the box. 

Hope you all have a good weekend! I’ll be spending mine with friends, celebrating the end of a long week, and in rehearsals, of course 🙂