Eating Disorder Recovery + What Actually Worked for Me

February 26-March 4, 2017 is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. I am proudly healthy, and I also I believe that recovery is a lifelong journey. All week, I'll be sharing thoughts about the joys (and struggles) along the way.

Please know that some topics and language used may be triggering to those in a vulnerable state.

To learn more, get screened, help or get help, visit nedawareness.org.

If you're an eating disorder recovery warrior, you're surely familiar with the list. You know, The List. The list of self-care activities you can engage in when you feel tempted to regress into unhealthy behaviors. The List is sweet and well-meaning, but I have never found it to be particularly useful. 

The details may look different, but The List always contains some iteration of the following items: take a bubble bath, call a friend, go for a walk, write a letter, and make tea. All positive choices! All things we should do!

But I have to be honest. In a moment of crisis, when I am tempted to binge and purge, or when I feel itchy in my own skin, or when I'm aggravated or stressed and just need a way to fucking deal, a bubble bath ain't gonna cut it.

Over the years, I've cultivated my own list of healing activities. This is self-care I actually want to do.

  • Embark on a crazy baking project. No time like the present to tackle a pie braid, right?
  • Love up on some animals. I'm lucky enough to have friends with farms, so I can hang with my sheeps whenever I need a fix. 
  • Clean all of the things. Binge-cleaning is preferable to bingeing on food.
  • Paint my nails. For a full hour, I can do nothing but listen to podcasts and watch the paint dry. 
  • Attend a power or hot yoga class. When I crave dynamic and intense physicality, there is nothing better than a sweaty vinyasa flow.
  • Car karaoke. If you follow me on Instagram, you know how much I love jamming out in my car. Preferably to Prince. 
  • Adult coloring books. Or kid coloring books. Whatever. 
  • Browse Etsy for hours. And hours and hours and hours.
  • Get my Pinterest on. Who knew there were so many options for outdoor showers? 
  • Go to a café. Sometimes it's just nice to be alone in a crowd. And sometimes I bring my coloring books. 
  • Stand on my head. Inversions are a powerful antidote for depression. Some more gentle options for inversions are: supported shoulder stand, legs up the wall with your bum on a bolster, block, or blanket, and supported bridge.

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To read about the most unexpected change that occurred when I embraced recovery, click here.

  Car karaoke will cure what ails you.

Car karaoke will cure what ails you.