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!

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.

The Worrier’s Guide to Relaxation

I came to a startling realization this summer: I have forgotten how to relax.  At some point in the last three years, I have gone from someone who could sit for hours enjoying a good book and a cup of coffee, to a girl who gets anxious if I sit down for more than half an hour.  I’m conflicted about this personality trait. On the one hand, worriers get stuff done.  Very rarely do I panic about something that’s due tomorrow, because I’ve been working like a crazy person to get it done, and done well, for the past week. But on the other hand, I tend to work myself to the bone for something, and after I’ve accomplished it, thought to myself: “now, why did I freak out about that? That wasn’t bad at all.” Nothing like awesome hindsight skills. This semester has begun in an interesting way, and I’m already feeling a little out of sorts.  My past two years at school, I feel like I’ve known where I’m going and what the next goal is. Now that I’m beginning to steer a little more towards the English minor side of my degree, I’m beginning to feel a little bit out-to-sea.  How important is getting cast/called back? How important is it to be writing at least an hour a day?  How important is it to remain calm, cool and collected during the craziness? And, possibly the most problematic of all, how do I keep myself from sinking under the weight of all these questions? So I am making a commitment to becoming a better relaxer (I think that sentence says a lot about my personality: I can’t just relax. I have to COMMIT to it. Oi vey, y’all).  I’ve been brainstorming some ways to get my mind and body into that comfort zone…but I would love some suggestions! This is going to be a bit of an uphill battle for my little worry-wart self…good thing I love a challenge.

ways to relax

My Life in Pictures…the little things

Ah, Mondays.  I felt like I was moving particularly slowly today–it can be hard to get into the flow of a 40 hour work week, especially since the job I’m doing involves lots of sitting and working on spread sheets.  Definitely not behavior that contributes to staying bright eyed and bushy tailed.  But I am working really hard on finding the beauty in the littlest things, and enjoying a slow-ish summer before being chucked back into the whirl wind that is school.  I found this amazing quote today, and it will be staying on my wall for awhile:

“The present moment is filled with joy and happiness.  If you are attentive, you will see it.” -Thich Naht Hanh, Peace is Every Step

Beautiful, and a great thing to remember.  In honor of this, I’m posting a few “beauty in the little things” moments from the past week or so.  Hope you enjoy as much as I did!

This quote was on the board at yoga, and it warmed my heart.  Great to remember when you’re in a long distance relationship.

This was one of my favorite outfits I’ve ever worn to work. Sometimes it’s just nice to look cute. Especially after a semester spent in athletic clothes.

This is a flourless chocolate torte. And it is all that is good and beautiful and right in the world.  Completely non-healthy recipe will be coming to you soon.

A box of playbills from every show I saw between the years 2004 and 2011. So THAT’S where all my money/time/passion went.  Kind of a lovely thing when I think about it.

I will devote myself to being as happy with my life as this hedgehog is with his carrot.  I don’t even want to admit the number of people I sent this to.

Homemade margherita pizza that was absolutely to die for. Don’t even need a recipe for it: thin crust premade pizza dough, pizza sauce (lots), reduced fat mozzarella (not as much), and some very freshly chopped basil baked at 450 for ten minutes. See it. Smell it. Eat it. Love it.

Laying out on the lawn, slathered in sun screen and feeling like a summer goddess.  Sometimes, you have to take a day to just lay out in a swimsuit and relax. Or, in my constant BFA-ness, read some Ibsen. Nothing says summer like inner turmoil and class conflict.

Hope your summer is gorgeous!