The Balance Between Self-Love, Self-Care and Self-Improvement – Feel Good Look Good Series

Above is a compilation of images that represent various stages within my personal recovery, love, and care journey. I changed within each of these moments, I desired growth ALONG WITH my deep appreciation and love for myself. I desired self-improvement while also practicing self-care, self-love, and self-compassion. There is a space for self-improvement within our self-love journeys, read more below to find out how to foster this space!

Within a world filled with weight loss tips, diet culture, and media manipulation we find ourselves lost within the shuffle. How can we practice self-care, self-love, and self-compassion within a world that keeps telling us to improve ourselves through a new diet, cream, hair product, or workout routine? This is a tough thing to do within today’s world, but it IS possible and OKAY to want to improve within certain aspects of your life, while also practicing self-love and self-compassion.

Trigger Warning! It is important to note, that these standards may not apply for individuals within the beginning of their Eating Disorder recovery, in that self-compassion and steps towards growth and change must be monitored closely, as certain things may be triggering to the process of recovery.

Self-love and self-compassion are finding peace within your body, within your present life, despite all external messages and stressors. Self-compassion is when an individual treats his/herself with kindness, understanding and support, it is an ideal response related to experiences of perceived failure, perceived inadequacy, self-judgment, and isolation. Therefore, it is important that we understand that self-love, self-compassion and happiness do not come from outside variables. A true state of happiness comes from inside.

Wanting to change and grow does not mean you don’t love yourself, it is the very opposite! Yes, loving yourself for what you are in the moment is crucial, in that numbers, products, appearances and compliments won’t and can’t make us happy…. and yes self love is finding compassion for you mind body and soul in the here and now… but wanting to improve is not a bad thing! Self-love, self-care and self-compassion are not black and white concepts! It looks different for everyone.

Again let me remind you that my message is anti- diet culture, so by no means am I promoting weight loss, diets or self demeaning behaviors, instead I am bringing to light that it is okay to want something different and better for your life! I have always been an advocate for first finding happiness within yourself, as you are, and then finding joy in other aspects of your life… because it is WONDERFUL to feel good and it is OK to look good too!! Therefore, skin care, makeup, hair products, and other self-care inspired activities are ways that make me feel good AND look good… they are my additive luxuries to my already present feeling of happy!

Wanting to feel good AND look good are only natural reactions and desires that we have, therefore, when practiced in a safe and manageable manner, we can successfully practice self-care, self-love and self-compassion, as well as, self-improvement. Therefore it is best to stay self-aware of our motivations behind the desire to self improve, in that if we are looking for a state of happiness we must re-evaluate WHY we  believe that a spa treatment, makeup product, or work out class will make is  happy, as this is not possible. Additive luxuries only ADD to our current states of happiness, they ADD to our self-care routine, our feelings of self-love and self-compassion. Therefore, check your motivations behind self-improvement in order to practice safely and successfully!

-Skin Care

-Make Up

-Workout classes

-Spa treatments

-Hair Styles

-Face Masks

-Lingerie

-Swim apparel

-Sun time

As this Feel Good Look Good Series continues, I will touch on these additive luxuries within my self-love, self-care and self-improvement! And as always Self Care It Out!

The Fitness Culture within ED Recovery

We live in a fitness driven culture, and there are healthy ways to co-exist and thrive within this intense culture, therefore over the next few weeks, I will touch on how individuals within ED Recovery can succeed within today’s intense fitness culture. This #MotivationIsNotJustForMondays post is an overview of the current fitness culture, and how it affects those within ED and ED Recovery.

Millennials…this is somewhat of a tainted word in my book…. why you ask? Because it is a label that my peers, and myself fall under, a label that is saturated in shame, false assumptions, and negative perceptions, therefore I cringe when using this term, because in reality Millennials are incredibly innovative, hard working, and understand the balance between work, health and happiness.

Across the country, Millennials have revolutionized exercise, more so than any other generation. Think of all of the gyms, fitness clubs, yoga studios, barre boutiques, and spin classes with cult like followings, and even fitness apps where you can have access to a fitness class literally at your fingertips (See my Skyfit app posts…linked here). Yes, this generation has changed the way the world looks at physical activity, and health; statistics even prove that Millenials are the healthiest generation as of yet. 81% of Millennials claim to exercise on a regular basis, compared to that of 61% of Baby Boomers…therefore 76% of all regular exercisers are Millennials. Therefore, Millennials have had a major impact on exercise culture. For more statistics click here.

There are so many pros within this new view on physical activity, in that it creates a new focus on overall health within our every day lives. Focusing on health and wellbeing is a beautiful thing that I, and most helping professionals promote. Although, it is important to remember that when within a state of recovery, or a vulnerable state within your Eating Disorder (ED), it can be somewhat dangerous to engage within this exercise focused culture. I am not, by any means, saying that this fitness culture is negative or bad, instead I am pointing out the risks and dangers within this culture when living with ED.

For instance, as a millennial (cringe), a major part of my self-care is exercise and physical activity, but the intense hype that exercise receives on a social basis is incredibly triggering and intimidating for me within my own recovery. I consider myself far along within my recovery, and many professionals would consider me fully recovered, therefore it says a lot that I feel triggered within this fitness culture.

This fitness culture, focused around the intensity of exercise, can be incredibly triggering for anyone within ED Recovery. Certain messages can be persuasive to push oneself harder than necessary, to carry unhealthy motivations behind one’s exercise, and cause for behaviors that are detrimental to one’s recovery.

While we co-exist within this intense, pro health, fitness culture, it is crucial to stand close to your recovery and continue to bring awareness to the motivations behind your exercise. So as you move through this weekend, I challenge you to acknowledge the feelings that are raised while we live within this culture. I challenge you to find healthy motivations, and to keep yourself safe within your recovery as you partake in self care, whether that be through physical activity or not!

We will check in next week to discuss how to safely approach and thrive within today’s fitness culture, when living within ED and ED Recovery. Dont’ forget to Self Care it Out People!!! #SelfCare