Today I wanted to write another recovery post. I want to discuss specifically what techniques helped me the most in my eating disorder recovery.
Although my recovery process was almost three years ago, I will do my best to recall what really pulled me out of the worst physical and mental state.
Hope this helps…
Disclaimer: I am not a licensed professional, I am simply writing from my own experience to help others find ideas.
Trigger warning: This article is about eating disorders and mental health. If you are a recovering patient, proceed with caution or have a family member screen the article first.
Learning a new instrument: This was probably one of the most important parts of all. I took up violin about a month into my recovery and I think it helped me learn to focus again. Violin is such a difficult instrument that it required me to activate new parts of my brain and as a result, I experienced a break from my ED thoughts. This is why sometimes I would practice for two hours after school each day. I had time to empty my brain of negativity and focus on building a fun new skill.
Being a dog mom: We adopted my black lab a few months into my recovery, and he won my heart. Watching him grow and taking care of him helped me practice forgiving and loving again. I learned to love myself as much as I loved my dog. Now, this doesn’t mean you need to adopt a new pet to recover from an ED. But caring for something, anything, whether it’s a plant or setting up a bird feeder or whatever compels you, can make a difference in your emotional state.
Deleting toxic influences: One of the most important steps is to unfollow all accounts that are triggering, halt subscriptions to magazines, emails, and websites that promote diet and exercise changes…these things have no place in ED recovery.
Deleting health apps: Calorie counters and fitness apps are meant to be helpful, but in ED recovery, they can trigger obsessive behaviors. Deleting all calorie counting apps is such an important step in regaining a peaceful mind.
Yoga: A way to connect with the ‘you’ that really matters- your soul. Uniting it with your body to find peace. It’s so important to find a way to move your body that makes you feel comfortable and at peace.
Research: Reading books and (credible) articles about the recovery process helped me truly make sense of what was taking place in my body, physically and mentally. I recommend reading up on the symptoms of recovery so that you can recognize the changes in your body as positive and moving in the right direction.
Shopping buddy: I’m sure this got annoying, but every time I went out to buy clothes, I had my mom or whoever I was with select sizes for me. I would pick out the item, but someone else grabbed a size and brought it to the fitting room before I could look. This helped me stop feeling threatened by sizes and find clothes that fit right. This is how I learned to enjoy shopping again, and once I recovered, I found it easier to buy only clothing that fit, regardless of size, to make myself feel confident.
Support system: Tell someone. Anyone. Just don’t go through it alone.
These are some of my tips for helping the recovery process. It is different for everyone, so finding an integrated and functional approach is the key to a successful recovery.
Thanks for reading!