The road to recovery from an eating disorder is rarely linear. It can be long and difficult, with highs and lows. One day, you might be motivated and confident, only to feel exact opposite by the next.
It’s never easy – and although the time, energy and hard work you put into your recovery will absolutely be worth it someday, we also recognize you might get stuck sometimes, and require a little extra support.
Here are some ideas for those challenging days:
1. Keep a journal: Journaling about our bad days can be powerful reminders of how far we have come when we go back and read past entries. Free journaling can be helpful but sometimes we need a directive. Make a list of things that are really important to you, or write about upcoming events that you are looking forward to.
2. Connect with your community: It’s important not to isolate yourself during recovery. Close family and friends, or even your treatment team or therapist, can be your biggest advocates and support systems. Connect with a support group; remember Walden offers them at all of our locations. When you’re down, never be afraid to pick up the phone, and ask someone to grab a coffee or go for a leisurely walk. Everyone needs to hit the reset button once in a while.
3. Go on an adventure! No, we don’t mean spending hundreds of dollars to hop on a plane. A trip can be as simple as the library, where you can discover new books, magazines or movies. Best of all? It’s free – and a perfectly quiet place to collect your thoughts. You could go to your local aquarium to hang out with sea creatures and relax amongst the beautiful calming blue and green hues. Or simply venture out to the local park with a portable music device to practice some mindfulness.
4. Volunteer your time: Find something you’re passionate about and volunteer your time. How about a food pantry or animal shelter? Giving back to the community can be extremely rewarding – and knowing you’re helping others is an awesome feeling.
5. Stick with what works: You likely already know what’s most effective for when you’re struggling. Is it coloring? Or calling a friend? Going for a walk? Meditating? Do it!
6. Use your recovery toolkit: Use the skills you’ve developed and refined while in or out of treatment. Remember those DBT skill groups? How about DEAR MAN, Wise Mind v. your Emotional Mind? Or that list of Pros and Cons in your recovery or journey. All are great resources for you.
The most important piece of advice: It’s okay and completely normal to have a bad day. Everyone has them, regardless of whether they have an eating disorder or are in treatment. Giving yourself a broader perspective can be helpful in knowing that you are not alone. Validate your feelings!
Remember every day ends and a new one begins; the sun will always shine again even after stormy days. The same can be said for what awaits you at the end of your road to recovery.
Of course, if you need a listening ear or some further help, we’re always here to support you.
Portia Kimbis is the Marketing and Community Relations Associate for Walden’s S. Windsor and Guilford clinics Formerly, she was a Residential Treatment Assistant at Rushford, an adolescent boy’s rehabilitation program. Prior to that, she worked as a Senior Patient Coordinator for the OB/GYN Department at the Cornell Medical College at New York Presbyterian Hospital in New York City. Ms. Kimbis is enjoying her role at Walden and feels her position is allowing her to learn more about the mental health field and eating disorders. In her free time, she volunteers at Forgotten Felines, a cat shelter where she takes care of felines who need homes. She also enjoys yoga and traveling. Ms. Kimbis received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut in 2013 with a double major in Psychology and Human Development and Family Studies. She is currently completing a Master of Social Work (MSW) program at the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford, Conn.