We all have those days when the pressures and problems of everyday life seem to be residing in our body. Sometimes stress and anxities build up in our bodies and our flesh suddenly seems to turn to heavy, thick cement. Those wiht eating disorders, including myself, are all to familiar with flairs of ED during times of stress. But in recovery I’ve been practicing taking my iron fist and I’m shutting him down.
Many recent and new experiences and transitions in my life have brought up the need for my old “friend”. Unfamiliar ventures crave familiarity, comfort. This explains why in teh last few days I’ve been having more ED thoughts and why it has been harder to distract myself from these thoughts. For so long ED was the person I turned to in times of stress, or in times of going into the unknown (meeting new people, starting a new job, living at home after a month at college). ED was my constant and I beleived if I kept him around I could get through anything. But for my upcoming journies into the unknown from here on out I may still hear him every now and again, but he’ll never be the leader.
Ideas to Cope With Bad Body Image Days
Accepting that I am experiencing some ED thoughts and negative body image allows me to stay in the moment and trust that it is normal and okay to have days where I feel more comfortable in my own skin than other days. Once you are able to accept the situation it makes it easier to sort thought the negative thoughts and have some clarity on what you could do to use healthy coping mechanisms instead of unhealthy ones (the eating disorder).
Spend some time thinking about the possible reasons for your increased anxiety. What external factors are happening in your life that could be triggering ED? There is usually not always one root cause of a resurgence of ED but sometimes I’m better able to move past the negative thoughts if I understand the reasons behind them. I could be having a rough day for a wide variety of reasons. Maybe I didn’t get enough sleep, maybe I’m stressed out about work? You don’t have to always pinpoint the reason, or any reason to explain the reason for a returned ED thought. And this is also where acceptance comes into play, there is not always a tangible explanation for emotions and feelings.
After spending some time spent reflecting it is time to do something nice for yourself. Play some of your favorite songs, light a candle, meditate, anything that makes YOU feel good. Be extra kind to yourself on bad body image days. Step away from mirrors, wear clothes that make you feel comfortable and confident. Bad body image days tempt ED to no end, this is especially where opposite action is your friend!