When it comes to self-care, many of us might think of something extravagant, like a spa day or mini-vacation escape. However, self-care are simple and thoughtful ways to mindfully tend to your overall needs, including physical, emotional, mental and psychological care.
Particularly when you are in recovery from an eating disorder, self-care is crucial to keeping potential triggers at bay and to learn how to more effectively cope with stressors, like fatigue, hunger, stress, etc. While in your eating disorder, abnormal eating behaviors may have served as a means for coping with stress in life, and in order to prevent a lapse into these dangerous behaviors, having regular self-care is key to sustaining recovery.
Structuring Your Day
Self-care can be as simple as taking a 10 minute break from work and getting fresh air outside, or taking time to sit down to enjoy your meals and snacks. Many of us may not realize the opportunities we have throughout our day to mindfully incorporate self-care, and in order to do this, it is necessary to look over your schedule and determine what might be most effective for you.
For example, if you feel particularly stressed during a certain part of your workday, try to build in a short break during this time. Also make sure you have your basics covered, like eating regular meals and snacks consistently, taking time to pack the foods you need to support you throughout the day, get adequate hydration and sleep at night.
Understanding your triggers can also be helpful in determining what it is that you are needing to appropriately apply self-care. For example, if hunger triggers moodiness, irritability, etc. consider if you are getting enough to eat and taking necessary breaks for snacks and meals.
Self care in this situation might be as simple as restructuring your day to allow yourself a midday break for a snack, fresh air, and a short time away from your work environment. If loneliness or boredom is a trigger for you, consider ways to become involved with a new activity in your community or even join a weekly support group to network with like-minded people.
It is important to remember that self-care is needed to nurture not only your body, but your emotional, mental, spiritual, and social health as well. Research has proven the power of self-care to help prevent and manage illness and disease, such as an eating disorder, and regularly incorporating self-care throughout your day can decrease the experience of depression, anxiety, and other emotional health issues .
If you are having a hard time determining how to regularly incorporate self-care, strategize with your therapist or counselor to find out what works best for you!
About the Author: Crystal is a Masters-level Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with a specialty focus in eating disorders, maternal/child health and wellness, and intuitive eating. Combining clinical experience with a love of social media and writing, Crystal serves as the Director of Content and Social Media for Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope, where her passion to help others find recovery and healing is integrated into each part of her work.
As a Certified Intuitive Eating Counselor, Crystal has dedicated her career to helping others establish a healthy relationship with food and body through her work with EDH/AH and nutrition private practice.
References: Health Net Federal Services, “Benefits of Practicing Self-Care”, https://www.hnfs.com/content/hnfs/home/tn/bene/wellness/wellness_programs/online-programs/tcoyhmain/tcoyhwisc.html
The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of eating disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Eating Disorder Hope, but an effort to offer discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals.
We at Eating Disorder Hope understand that eating disorders result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an eating disorder, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.
Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on March 29, 2017
Published on EatingDisorderHope.com