Summer Intern Anna is back! And she’s writing for me two times a month this summer! Enjoy her hard earned wisdom as a person in solid recovery! ~ Becky
Balancing Recovery with Life – by, Intern Anna
Recovery is so hard.
I think I underestimated the amount of dedication I would need to remain firm with my goals for recovery. As a full time college student, I am just about as busy as you can get. There are many things I have learned along the way. It is important to be able to balance your eating disorder recovery with your regular life goals.
One of the most important lessons I learned was that recovery is not a passive process. If I did not prioritize my recovery, I would fall behind. It took constant effort to move forward with my recovery. This meant working up the motivation on the days when I felt like I had none.
One of the things I found to be most important was planning all my meals a day in advance. As a busy college student, I had to find time to pack my lunches in advance and learn to keep snacks in my car and backpack. One of the biggest motivators for this was that I knew if I did not keep up with my eating habits, I would not feel great overall. I remembered how low energy I was when I was restricting, and I knew that was a place I did not want to get back to.
Another thing that helped me stay on track with my recovery was finding friends to go out to eat with occasionally. It made the eating experience more enjoyable and provided a good distraction for me. Viewing cooking as a hobby also aided in my recovery. I found it fun to look through new recipes and decide what I wanted to make. I found cooking really therapeutic and it made me value the food I was putting in my body.
Being busy can become an excuse not to do the things we ought to in recovery. Something that bothered me about having to think so much about my mealtimes was that I recognized others around me didn’t have the same perspective. I found it really important to not compare my eating habits to those of my peers. Eating habits are very individual and I think looking at others would have made my eating disorder worse. To help me achieve this goal, I liked to think of the term opposite action. For each thought that I had to restrict or eat less than those around me, I would think about what I could do that would counter that thought. This also works for thoughts of bingeing. This helped me balance out the thoughts of ED.
Somedays, ED is going to be so loud that you may fall into its traps. On those days, it is going to be important to be able to brush yourself off and get back up. One mistake does not have to lead to a whole relapse. Try to counteract the negative thinking by remembering all the times you have succeeded in the past.
Each day provides a new chance to talk back to the negative thoughts in our head.