Recovery Love and Care

Self Love, Short and Sweet

 

Here is my professional and personal take on self-love, I’ll make this short and sweet!

Self love is a new concept to many, in that it is not something that we were taught about in school, it is not something that was drilled into our minds much like math, science, and geography, instead it is a concept that is incredibly foreign to us. Why is this? Why is such an important and crucial concept so new to us within our adult years? I don’t quite have the answer to this, because the lack of self-love has fostered a world of negativity, hatred, illness, and self-loathing.

In a world filled with selfies, hash tags and filters, it can be easy to view self love as selfishness, narcissism, and fabrication…. and yes, this does exist, but this is not self love. Self-love is appreciating the person that you are, accepting yourself for your flaws, loving yourself for the good and the bad, loving the black and white while also embracing the grey! Self love is loving yourself, for yourself, not for someone else’s gratification, not doing it for likes on Instagram and Facebook, not doing it for followers, or social acceptance, instead doing it for YOU!

Because we haven’t been taught how to practice self-love, it may come as an overwhelming and intimidating task, therefore, practice patience, and give yourself time; you will eventually learn to love yourself! Therefore, the next time you take a selfie, do it for self love not selfishness, do it for self-appreciation, not to prove something to others! Below are a few ways to begin your practice of self love, and let me tell you….it is worth it, I promise!

Write yourself a daily love note

Journal words of love to your self-hatred

Smile when you wake up in the morning

Give yourself a hug

Wear something that makes you FEEL good

Do something that makes you FEEL good

Read a book

Cook a meal

Spend time with a loved one

Go for a walk

Wake up to watch the sunrise

Take a selfie for self-love

Light a candle and listen to your favorite song

Watch your favorite movie

Take a picture for self-love NOT selfishness or self-loathing

Take away negative self talk, such as, should, shouldn’t, good, bad, fat and ugly

Self-love is something that we ALL need, it is a non negotiable. Therefore, whether you are working your way through eating disorder recovery, trying to find body positivity, struggling with self-loathing and self-hating language and behavior, or just need a bit more self-love in your life, take a moment today, tomorrow, and the day after that to begin your practice of self-love! Be the model of your own life!

Why We Workout

As discussed many of times within this blog, exercise can be a sticky situation within ED recovery. Exercise is a beautiful thing, but only when practiced in a healthy and safe fashion, with good intentions. I used to work out to achieve a certain ideal, to look a certain way, to find a bit of self-acceptance in my reflection. I used to work out to sweat until I deserved that pizza, to push myself so hard that I was too exhausted to eat. I used to work out for what I thought was self-love, but in reality it wasn’t self-love, it was self-loathing, ring any bells?!

Crop Top Courage!

We say that we work out and exercise for self care and self love, but are we really doing just that? Or are we using this as an excuse to fit a mold, to fit an ideal? How many times have you heard, I worked out today, so I deserve that cookie, or I ran five miles, so I can go out to eat now. Or how about, I was so good today, I went to the gym, or I’ve been so bad I haven’t worked out so I can’t eat that. What is this? Why do we all of the sudden feel that food is to be deserved, why do we feel that we deserve FUEL and NOURISHMENT only after we push ourselves to the brink in the gym? This ideal is harmful not only to individuals within recovery, but for everyone, we do not deserve to eat, we do not eat for a reward, we eat for fuel and nourishment. Therefore, we need not work out for food, instead we work out for emotional, and physical strength, for an outlet, for mental health, and for self love NOT self loathing!

Why do I work out?

For the natural release of endorphins

To cleanse my mind

For a social activity

For emotional strength

For happiness

For health

For fun

For a mental and emotional release

For self care

For self love NOT self loathing

For recovery NOT an unattainable ideal

To gain strength NOT to lose weight

This is my sanctuary...I am a barre babe!

I LOVE to spin when I get the chance...but it is not a common workout for me!

Why do you workout?

As you move through your week, I challenge you to ask yourself why you work out? Are you being true to your recovery? Are you truly practicing self-love and self-care? Lets allow ourselves a moment of truth and honesty and bring some awareness to the fact that food is fuel, exercise is for health, and they do not need to be tied to each other. You do not need to work out in order to eat that piece of pizza or that piece of bread, you deserve food because you are a human being.

Five Ways to Celebrate Recovery!

In honor of Eating Disorder Awareness week below is a handful of ways to recognize and celebrate your own recovery, as well as, spread awareness!

Your recovery hero is first and foremost yourself, which is a beautiful achievement, but there are also other heroes within our life that helped us through our eating disorders, were the catalyst to recovery, or maybe just influenced self-awareness. Whether your recovery hero knows about their impact on you and your recovery or not, take the time to acknowledge them! Celebrate your hero! This can be intimidating at first so here are some ideas on ways to acknowledge that special someone in your recovery journey!

-Make a picture collage and post it on social media, send it to them, or frame it as a gift!

-Make a playlist that embodies the spirit behind your recovery journey

-Write a letter to your recovery hero and send it in the mail or read it to them out loud!

-Treat your recovery hero to an afternoon with you, show them love, respect and appreciation through vulnerability and friendship!

-Give your hero a hug, and just say thank you!

Social media, in particular Facebook and Instagram can be incredibly triggering for individuals within recovery, in that it is a digital world created upon filters, editing, #hashtags, and fabricated moments of someone’s life. Therefore, instead of allowing social media to take you down, create an account that can only lift you up and inspire you! Creating a recovery account is done with the intent to surround yourself with real, normal images, as opposed to the fabricated filtered images we see on a regular basis. Therefore, following inspirational, real, body positive accounts, and fellow ED veterans can be incredibly rewarding and normalize your social media world again! RecoveryLoveandCare is on Instagram, therefore start out with following us, and slowly navigate your way through the #bodypostive #bopo world!

Set aside at least twenty minutes every day this week to celebrate you! Self-care is the key to a successful recovery, therefore self care and self-love must be practiced on a daily basis! Self care doesn’t have to be time-consuming, it can be as simple as running yourself a hot bath, going for a walk in the morning, painting your nails in silence, or dancing in front of the mirror while you get ready for work in the morning! Therefore, this week try to condition yourself to practicing self-care, set aside twenty minutes a day for seven days, and just celebrate yourself!

This is a moment for true reflection and honesty. Are you truly at a point of recovery, and if so are you still in need of professional assistance? This is a question that is not meant to shame or pressure anyone, instead it is meant to challenge our self-awareness, because self-awareness is a major component within eating disorder recovery. No, recovery is not linear, but are you truly at the point in your recovery that you do not need professional assistance? In other words, intensive treatment may not be needed anymore, but the weekly or monthly check in with your helping professional, nutritionist or primary care doctor is always helpful, and has been proven to help individuals through their eating disorder! So if you or a loved one is in need of a little extra help within their recovery, bring some awareness to the topic and have an honest conversation about the overall recovery process.

Lets have a real conversation about Eating Disorders, no shame, no stigma, and no embarrassment, just truth. Sit down with a loved one, or maybe even a stranger and discuss what everyone else is afraid to talk about! Starting the conversation will take us one step closer to healing!

National Eating Disorder Awareness Week 2017!

This week is Eating Disorder awareness week! What does this mean?

There is an entire week dedicated towards educating the public and honoring those within their Eating Disorders and Eating Disorder Recovery. February 26th to March 4th will be focused on continuing the conversation about Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa, Binge Eating Disorder, and Eating Disorders other specified, as well as, educating the public about the truth behind Eating Disorders, continued funding towards Eating Disorder treatment, honoring the recovered, and spreading love and awareness to those affected by Eating Disorders and those who lack an understanding of Eating Disorders and Recovery.

The National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) host’s week of awareness, therefore I encourage everyone to visit their webpage. NEDA offers a plethora of ways to not only get involved within Awareness week, but also offers resources for those in need of extra support, see below for a list of services…

 

  1. Free online screening for Eating Disorders
  2. Local and online resources for those in need
  3. Ways to raise awareness and get involved within the recovery community
  4. Local and global walks in honor of NEDA awareness week
  5. Stories of hope
  6. Resources for treatment and insurance
  7. Public health concerns and a conversation surrounding the stigma of Eating Disorders

As we move into this week, I encourage everyone to take the time to visit this website and join the conversation!

Body Checking is a behavior

Awareness in Body Checking: Taking One More Step Towards Living a Body Positive Life

As another extension to my body positive series, today’s post is about body checking. Body checking is a very common behavior within individuals with Eating Disorders. What do I mean by body checking?

Body checking: Constant “checking”, looking, touching, and/or intensely focusing on a body part and/or section or area of your body. The “checking” is fueled by insecurities on how the individual thinks or feels that they look.

My Story: This is something that many individuals struggle with throughout their Eating Disorder. One main form of body checking is involves mirror checking….

It started at the young age of ten, when I went through puberty, every single time I went to use the restroom, whether it was in a public place, school, work, or at home, I would wash my hands, look in the mirror, suck in my stomach, and slightly lift my shirt, to check my belly with my hand in the mirror. Every time I looked at my belly in the mirror I hoped to find some sort of strength, success, and worth. It became so much of a habit that I did not even realize I was doing it. One day my nutritionist advised me to try to not “body check” for just one day, I broke down in tears after the first half of that day, because I never realized how much I actually “checked” my body. Little did I know that every time I lifted up my shirt and grazed my belly with my hands, I lessened my self worth, tore down my self love bit by bit, and further engrained an emotionally dangerous behavior into my life. I was constantly judging myself, comparing my self worth to that of what I “wanted” it to be at that time.

The difficult thing about healthy body image is that it does come last within ED recovery. Therefore individuals within ED recovery are usually done with, or working towards, finalizing their treatment before they even graze the surface of their physical and emotional self worth, before they learn about how to develop a healthy and positive body image. Having an emotional behavior such as thinking and feeling poorly about one’s body is not immediately detrimental to an individual’s health like that of using other ED behaviors, such a,s binging, purging or restricting, therefore behaviors ,such as, Body checking often go unnoticed and untreated, but it does effect functioning and an individual’s overall self-worth, therefore it is worth addressing and treating!

Body checking is a behavior, therefore a habit that can be deeply engrained within an individual’s functioning, and can be very difficult and scary, leaving and individual feeling vulnerable. Starting slow is the safest way to go about eventually ridding of body checking…

The first step is awareness and acceptance. The second step is slowly acknowledging your feelings while practicing this behavior. This is the safest way to approach to an emotional behavior, such as body checking. The third step is slowly, and safely eliminating the behavior from your everyday functioning, therefore taking it one-step at a time. If you ever feel too vulnerable, reach out to your closest support, go to your comfort box, and practice self-care, self-care, self-care!

As you acknowledge your body checking behaviors, I also challenge you to find a positive emotional behavior that you practice on a daily basis, for instance, the joy that brewing your morning coffee brings, listening to your favorite music, cuddling with a loved one, warming up by the fire place, lighting your favorite candle, any healthy behavior that make you feel your best! Please reach out if you have any questions or comments, don’t forget to subscribe, have a wonderful weekend, and self care it out my friends!

Trust the Process

Find your Flow and Growth within 2017

Happy Day to everyone!! 2017, I have positive, healthy and manageable expectations for you!…..oh my….even I rolled my eyes while writing that!

What I mean is that, as we move into this new year, I remind myself, and others, that a specific day and number do not dictate the outcome for the next 365 days of life! Instead, our thoughts, words, and actions affect the present and future, therefore having healthy expectations about this “new year” is incredibly helpful to our happiness, because, yes, we will set out a new plan and goals for ourselves, but we will have ourselves to thank for bringing any change to our current life flow.

I use the word expectation fairly often within my blog posts, and I do this because expectations can either set us up for success, and reality, or failure and disappointment, therefore when a manageable, and positive expectation is set, only growth can occur…no matter the actual outcome. As you set these expectations for 2017, I encourage you to change your train of thought and consider your current situation. Within your life, are you allowing flow? Are you truly experiencing the present, and flowing through the reality of your individual experiences? In other words, within this New Year, instead of setting expectations consider your flow, allow flow to occur, allow growth to occur.

  

 

 

 

 

 

I have been capturing different photos of water recently, because I find that it is the perfect description of life, of recovery, of growth and flow!

Eating Disorder recovery is not linear, in that it ebbs and FLOWS, there are dips and plateaus and peaks, but every experience is a part of recovery, because no matter what, we learn, and grow. Recovery is not linear, and it does not look or feel the same for everyone, remember this.

I say this, that recovery is not black and white, right or wrong, good or bad, but there are times that I do not apply that to myself. This is a common quality within individuals with eating disorders, we are selfless, we give more than we get, we give more, if not, all of our care and love to others, leaving nothing for ourselves, therefore ending up completely drained. I have been caught up in this spiral many of times, especially recently. I have been giving all of my care, emotional attention and knowledge to others within recovery, or others having a hard time within their lives, so much so, that I have drained myself. Yes, I have been practicing self care, but when I do so, I feel so emotionally drained that I have very little to run off of, in other words at times I feel as though I have been talking the talk….but not walking the walk.

I have felt somewhat of a disconnect from myself and my recovery self….when in reality we can be one! I do not have to put on my “recovery glasses” on to truly delve deep inside the secrets of ED recovery, rather, I need to take a step back, look at myself (literally and figuratively) and find where and what that disconnect is! I need to confront that disconnect, and be honest about it, without shame! I can help others while also helping myself and I can love others while also loving myself. I think a big part of me has been fearful that my readers would doubt MY FLAWS within their own recovery. But in reality, I can also go through those ebbs and flows, when I am in a ditch I can use my strength and knowledge, learn from that low point, pull myself up, and grow in the process of doing so!

I am no perfect picture of Eating Disorder Recovery, as there is not a perfect picture! Therefore, as I move through this new flow, this new process, this new year, I will cherish every moment, as it only allows me to grow, and mend that disconnect that has been lingering for a while now. Instead of setting expectations for this New Year, I will embrace my new flow, my growth with every high point and low point, and heal every wound with intentions, acceptance, recovery, love and care….and I encourage you to do so as well!

Happy New Flow my friends!

Turkey Day Tips

 

Thanksgiving is quickly approaching, and along with the busy schedules, family gatherings, and holiday celebrations, comes copious amounts of food, and with that, feelings of vulnerability and maybe even fear. Thanksgiving can be a wonderful time, but it can also be incredibly triggering and overwhelming for individuals living within their eating disorder or individuals within recovery. Here are some quick tips to get you ready for Turkey Day and all of the joy and spirit that comes with it!

 

  1. Prepare for Re-entry by managing your expectations…..click here to read more!
  1. Set yourself up for success!

You don’t HAVE to abide by all of the cultural traditions and odd rules that come with “giving thanks.” In other words, try to look at this holiday as any other day, in that you don’t HAVE to eat copious amounts of food in order to celebrate properly! You don’t HAVE to partake in the somewhat twisted traditions like running in a marathon or “turkey trot”, in order to “earn” your meal. You don’t HAVE to starve yourself all day in order to “indulgence” in dinner. Instead, you can go about your day as you usually would, listen to your body, eat when you are hungry, rest when you are tired, and practice self-love and self care!

  1. Acknowledge the unhelpful cultural traditions surrounding Thanksgiving

It is not natural, or helpful for your body to starve itself in order to feast on one large meal, especially for those within recovery. Therefore, make sure you avoid restricting during the day, and nourish your body when necessary. Therefore, if you utilize your healthy and helpful behaviors throughout the day, you will be able to enjoy and healthily indulge in your thanksgiving feast!

  1. Be easy on yourself

No need to beat yourself up for enjoying a cultural tradition! Nourish yourself throughout the day, and enjoy your thanksgiving meal with no guilt, as there is nothing “wrong” about giving thanks and indulging in a wonderful meal surrounded by family and friends. IF you take a tumble, and partake in unhealthy behaviors, remember that RECOVERY IS NOT LINEAR! It is okay to “mess up”, because we cannot learn and grow unless we learn from our mishaps. It is OKAY!….TAKE AWAY THE SHAME, and love yourself.

  1. Surround yourself with love

Take a tip from the re-entry post, and make sure to have an accountability buddy…..someone that you can be honest with and confide in, someone that you can trust and that understands your situation within recovery.

  1. Enjoy yourself

Have fun! Take what you can from the day, and enjoy the holiday! Give yourself a big hug, and tell yourself you are loved….because you are! Be thankful for yourself, your honesty, your body, your mind, your heart, and your soul…. because that is what allows you to live your life to the fullest.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

An Honest Look At Body Image Within Eating Disorder Recovery – Series pt. 1

 

Body Image. This is a tough one….I have said it before, and I will say it again and again….positive body image ALMOST ALWAYS comes last within recovery. Loving what you see in the mirror, appreciating your size, your weight, your natural curves, and appreciating all of the beautiful flaws within your physical image is so much harder than it seems.

So many individual’s struggle with this aspect of recovery….in that the mind can get away from us at times, and we start to become emotionally and sometimes physically consumed by the unrealistic perceptions we have about how we currently “see” ourself, how we want to “see” ourself, how we “see” other’s in comparison to ourself, and how we believe other’s “see” us. Yep, it sounds exhausting, and maybe even ridiculous, but this is the mind of someone within recovery.

I use these words carefully, in that when I say “see ourself”, or how “we see others”, I mean this literally, because that is what we are doing, I do not mean how we look or who we are, instead I mean how we perceive ourself. At times it seems that the physical self is somewhat dissociated from the emotional self, in that our appearance is wounded and therefore separated from the rest of us. In order to recover one must be ready to mend that wound, and finally introduce that physical self to the emotional self, and be ready to fight for a positive body image and finally be whole!

 

You may look one way to someone, and another way to someone else, but all that truly matters is how you perceive yourself and this is why a positive body image is so incredibly difficult to obtain. NO ONE, and I mean, NOONE, can change your mind about how you “see yourself”, EXCEPT for YOU. For goodness sake, Justin Timberlake could declare your beauty to the entire world, tell you that you are perfect, skinny, curvy, a bombshell, whatever…and still it won’t matter, because you won’t believe it, not until you can believe it.

It’s up to you, to do the work to literally retrain your brain, to eventually train your mind, and emotions towards how you “see” or perceive your body. Throughout recovery, you are taught to rid of your unhealthy behaviors, cope with life’s obstacles in a healthy manner, practice self care, love your inner self, and nourish your body, and all of this is a major triumph in itself….but to love what you “SEE”, to rid of that negative self talk, and accept that person staring back at you in the mirror….now that is AMAZING! I promise you, that this is possible, you can fully recover from your eating disorder, and by this I mean love who you are, as well as, love your perceived self.

Therefore, with the holidays approaching, and the new year creeping up on us, I believe it is time to take this oh so difficult part of recovery by the reins! As a collective force, we are going to start “seeing” ourselves with love, and true admiration….we are going to become inspired by what we “see” in ourselves. Throughout the next couple of weeks, I will be posting about the various components that relate to body image conception and eating disorder recovery….and with each other….we will get through this together!

As you move through this weekend, I challenge you to commit to working towards true self-love, in that, you will work towards loving what you “see” as much as you love who you are. Start to wrap your mind around the fact that this is possible, and you will get there….we will get there together!

To come: Clinical depictions of body image and eating disorder recovery, ways to implement self care into your healthy body image initiative, outside resources to keep you motivated, and personal and professional tidbits about body image conception and working towards full recovery.

Essential Oils and Self-Care Series pt.1

Essential oils are the Holy Grail to my self-care routine. They were an amazing supplement to my therapy, nutrition planning, and treatment plan during the beginning of my recovery. Therefore, I will be starting a Self-Care series about how I use essential oils within my daily, and weekly routine.

Today’s post is dedicated to prevention and intervention for that oh so dreaded cold….yes it’s that season, everyone is getting sick, therefore why not boost that immune system and soothe the senses!?

When it comes to Eating Disorder Recovery, getting sick with a cold, or the stomach flu, or really anything, is just a part of the process. Your body is doing its very best to build up your immune system, therefore weird things start to happen, like getting sick! In the beginning of my own recovery, I was constantly sick with a cold, sinus infection, bloated, and swollen, because my body was figuring out how to be healthy again…. because in reality, my body wasn’t being treated very well for a good ten years! This was the hard part of recovery…. remember, it gets worse before it gets better! Therefore, essential oils played a major part within this not so easy and somewhat painful part of recovery, to soothe my mind and body, and boost my immune system in a natural and safe way!

This week is a big week for me; Sean and I are moving cross-country with our two furry animals, to start a new life in Charleston South Carolina, and this on top of starting a new job, finishing school work, and saying goodbye to friends and family is incredibly exciting but stressful…and with stress comes sickness! Therefore, I have been diligent with my preventative essential oil routine, to not only build up my immune system, but to also manage my emotional and mental stress!

Essential oils for the immune system:

There are various uses for each and every essential oil, whether that be single oils or blends, therefore this brief list is what I have found useful within my self care routine when it comes to my immune system. The Essential Oils Pocket Reference by LifeScience is my Essential Oil Bible…

fullsizerender-1

Thieves:

This is AMAZING….it is a blend of essential oils designed perfectly to ward off a cold!

Ingredients: Lemon, Cinnamon Bark, Eucalyptus Radiata, and Rosemary

Applications:

  1. Dilute 1 part essential oil to 4 parts vegetable oil
  2. Diffuse for 15 minutes every 3 to 4 hours
  3. Apply to he bottoms of the feet….This is my favorite way to use this oil blend, as I have found it to be most effective!
  4. Put one drop on the tongue and push against roof of mouth
  5. Add 2 drops to wet cloth and put in clothes dryer

fullsizerender-3

fullsizerender-6

Peppermint:

Medical Properties: anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, pain relieving, and digestive stimulant

Uses: Respiratory infections, viral infections, headaches, and nausea

Fragrant Influence: Purifying and stimulating

Application: There are various options with the actual usage of each essential oil.

  1. Dilute 1 part essential oil with 2 parts vegetable oil and apply 1-2 drops on location (abdomen, temples, etc)
  2. Rub into hands, cup hands and inhale
  3. Diffuse with a diffuser, or soak cotton balls in the oil and place on your air vents.
  4. Put a few drops into hot water, and make a tea!….My favorite!
  5. Put a few drops on your tongue and push against the roof of the mouth

fullsizerender

Lavender:

Medical: Antifungal, relaxant, anti-inflammatory

Uses: Respiratory infections, high blood pressure, PMS, Nervous tension

Fragrant Influence: Calming, relaxing, and balancing

Application:

  1. Apply 2 to 3 drops on location
  2. Apply on chakras
  3. Inhale directly
  4. Diffuse with a diffuser, or soak cotton balls in the oil and place on your air vents.
  5. Put a few drops into hot water, and make a tea!….My favorite!
  6. Put a few drops on your tongue and press tongue to the roof of the mouth

fullsizerender-7

Arbor Oil/Eucalyptus oil:

Medical Properties: Antbacterial, antiviral, anti-inflammatory

Uses: Respiratory/sinus infections, and viral infections

Applications:

  1. Dilute 1 part essential oil with 1 part vegetable oil
  2. Apply 2 to 4 drops on the location
  3. Apply on chakras
  4. Rub into hands, cup hands and inhale
  5. Diffuse or put in a humidifier

img_8064

 

 

 

fullsizerender-2

 

I have displayed various brands of Essential Oils, as some are more accessible than others. My favorite brand is YoungLiving, because they offer beautiful blends of different essential oils, and from my experience their oils are without fail, pure and safe to use!

So there you have it, as we move through the month of November and December, I will be talking about my self care routine with essential oils, please let me know if you have any suggestions or questions! So lets conquer this week and #SelfCareitOut!