Practicing self-care is an essential part of eating disorder recovery. Self-care does not have to be extravagant, it is simple, thoughtful ways of tending to your physical, emotional, mental, and psychological care. When you are in recovery from an eating disorder, self-care can help you to efficiently cope with stressors and triggers such as anxiety and fatigue. Although it can seem counter-intuitive to put ourselves first sometimes, regular self-care is a vital part of sustaining recovery. As you navigate through the food and family gatherings of the holidays, prioritizing some of these self-care tips should be at the top of your list.
Self-Care Tips for Eating Disorders
- Notice how you feel. Paying attention to your feelings and needs is important. Do you need time alone or with friends? Do you need to get outside or curl up with a good book? Stay open to your feelings throughout the day and respect your needs at the moment.
- Clear your mind. Take time each day to clear your mind. We often forget that we can rejuvenate our minds and bodies by merely breathing. Taking a deep breath and focusing on yourself is one of the kindest things you can do.
- Try something new.Take every day as an opportunity to try something new – a new hobby or recipe, sit and enjoy reading a new book, or visit a new place for a hike. It doesn’t matter, just take the opportunity.
- Know and honor your limits.Sometimes practicing self-care means a change of plans. Give yourself permission to choose an alternate plan if it makes you feel comfortable. Remember, your well-being is what is important.
- Helping others can serve as a healthy distraction from negative thoughts and feelings. The emotional gratification can help to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
- Take a social media break. Removing yourself from social media limits comparing ourselves to others and their lives. Giving yourself a separation from the virtual world will remind you what you love about your life.
- Wear what makes you feel good.Put clothes on your body that make you feel beautiful and confident, you deserve nothing less. Don’t adhere to fashion trends if they don’t make you feel good about your body.
- Spend time with people who lift you higher. A key element of self-care is being selective about who you choose to spend time with. Avoid those who make you feel uncomfortable and delight in those who embrace you for who you are.
- Write a letter to yourself.Those suffering from an eating disorder are often hard on themselves and tend to engage in negative self-talk. Invest time into writing a positive message to yourself, the time and energy you spend in writing personally meaningful words can reduce stress and make thriving easier.
- Remind yourself of what your body can do. Always remember how much your body can do. Your body helps you to walk, laugh, love, smile, hug, and so much more. Appreciate it for these wonderful things instead of dwelling on negatives.
As a society, we often only show ourselves to others when we are feeling good, and hide when we are feeling bad. If you are struggling, know you are not alone, and you can reach out to others for support. At Magnolia Creek, our healing environment offers support without judgment to those who are struggling with an eating disorder. Our clinicians use evidence-based therapy through a holistic treatment approach that emphasizes self-acceptance, validation, and personal empowerment. As a team, we design a customized treatment plan to address the medical, nutritional, psychological, spiritual, social-emotional and behavioral needs of each client so they can fully recover, not merely manage their eating disorders and co-occurring mental health conditions.
Self-care is needed to nurture not only your body, but also your emotional, mental, spiritual, and social health. Regularly incorporating self-care into your life can decrease the symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other mental and emotional health issues. It is vital to recognize your importance and devote time to take care of yourself.