When you’re in recovery from an eating disorder your mind is often full of thoughts about your next meal, the next challenge and the next time you’re going to have to choose recovery over the disorder. With all of this going on, it can be very easy to neglect self care. But self care is crucial to the recovery process. Chances are if you’re in recovery you have a treatment team (of some sort) that helps support you when you need it. With the end goal being that you will be able to support yourself.
It’s also important to remember that when you’re in recovery from an eating disorder self care doesn’t just mean bath bombs or getting your nails done. It means doing the things you neglected to do for yourself when you were in the depths of your disorder.
EAT! Eating your prescribed meals in recovery is probably the number one way we have to take care of ourselves. It’s hard and often feels impossible - but it has to be done. In order to work on the underlying factors of your disorder, your body has to be stable enough to think, feel and explore.
This one may seem obvious, but physically allowing yourself to rest is extremely important in your recovery. Relaxing it’s beneficial for you physically and mentally. Relaxing does not make you lazy. Relaxing does not make you weak. In fact, it makes you strong. Some people may choose to distract themselves as a form of relaxation. This could include watching TV, a movie or reading a book. For others, it may be helpful to reflect in some fashion. This could be meditation, mindfulness exercises or journaling. Regardless of what works best for you, relaxing will recharge you for your next obstacle in your recovery.
Another important form of self care in recovery is knowing when to stop, say no and setting boundaries. This is often hard for individuals in recovery. Often times, lack of boundaries contributed to feeding your eating disorder. This one takes time and requires a lot of patience with yourself. Start small, with something that’s not too hard to say no to and work your way from there.
I will admit, it is hard to think about taking care of yourself when you’ve always thought your needs didn’t matter. But they do. You need to be taken care of just as much as all the people you have poured your heart into. Self care is a stepping stone and useful tool on the journey to self love. Stay strong, don’t give up and give yourself a little pat on the back. The work is hard but will pay off a million times over in the end.
Written by: Katie from @edrecoveryblog
Emily Estes lives in Lincoln, Nebraska with her Goldendoodle pup, Miss Adley Mae. Recovery from her own struggle with an eating disorder, anxiety, and depression has led Emily to create community and resources to empower others on the journey. Emily owns Sage Nutrition, LLC where she serves as a Registered Dietitian. Her work revolves around her motto that "food is meant to nourish our bodies, not nurture us."