By Ashley Prewitt
Now that the holiday season is over, it’s finally time to relax!
No more spending money on presents your parents aren’t going to use, no more kissing your great aunt Sharon that you met when you were three, and no more insane amounts of Tupperware filled with leftover mashed potatoes that are taking up your fridge space (seriously though—where am I supposed to put my leftover Olive Garden Fettuccine Alfredo?!)
With New Year’s just a few days away, we can expect a plethora of posts on social media about everyone’s resolutions for 2017. The stress of the holiday season doesn’t exactly end with Christmas, and we are quickly approaching a difficult time of year for many people struggling with eating disorders.
Did you know that the two most common New Year’s resolutions are to stay fit and healthy and to lose weight? Hearing all this talk about weight loss and staying healthy in 2017 can put a halt to those with eating disorders who are working hard towards recovery.
Rather than letting these resolutions hinder your recovery, here are four ways to help promote your recovery in 2017:
Talk to a professional.
I’m sure this is at the top of the list on every article ever written about recovering from an eating disorder, for good reason. It is so important to talk to a professional to help promote your recovery. A professional (therapists, psychologists, dieticians, etc.) will help you work on improving your mental health and will help you combat the negative feelings you may be experiencing. So to promote your mental health in 2017, make the call—or even send an email! Do anything you can to start this process. Although fees for these services can be scary, look at the different resources in your community to help you achieve this. If you already have professional services, yay for you! Continue to make and keep your necessary appointments, and keep it up!
Find a new coping or self-soothing skill
Coping skills have been defined as learned resourcefulness or a set of skills which a person uses to control certain internal events that might cause him or her unwanted pain, feelings, or fear. Although they won’t cure your eating disorder, these activities can comfort you in times of need and help you move forward along the road to recovery!
Let’s make a list of coping skills:
- Take a bubble bath
- Reading a book
- Watching a show
- Taking a light hike
These are the more common types of coping, or self-soothing, activities done, and I’m sure you’ve seen them be recommended. Why? Because they can work!
However, have you ever thought of learning a new instrument? What about making your own bath bombs? Or researching and becoming an expert on the Texas blind salamander (they are on the endangered species list—why can’t I put a crying emoji in a blog post)?
Establish a trusted mentor or support group
Having others around you who are supportive and understanding of your eating disorder recovery can play a crucial role in your recovery in the new year. Support groups are offered in many places. You can find a support group no matter where you live. A simple Google search will give you options, and even some that may take place online. If you are a college student, check to see if there is a Project HEAL Chapter. If not, start one! Take advantage of the free groups, and try your best to attend when you can.
Skip the resolution; make a change
Sorry for throwing out so many statistics in this article, but did you know that only 8% of Americans succeed in following through with their New Year’s resolutions?. I believe that resolutions fail because they are too vague, out of our reach, or are not as important as we thought at the
beginning of the year. Think about where you were in life six months ago; hasn’t your life changed a lot since then? I know mine has. So, why do we even make resolutions that we don’t follow through with? Because everyone else is doing it!
To promote your recovery in 2017, make a change. Don’t just set a few goals for recovery for the hell of it! If you are seriously about wanting to make goals for the new year, the best way is by working with professionals to set realistic, measurable, and time-limited goals.
Believe in yourself, be kind to yourself, and be committed to making a change in your life. You shouldn’t even wait for a new year to make this change; start as soon as possible!
Although the holidays can be daunting, don’t let New Year’s halt your recovery. Instead, let this year be a year of growth. Make sure to have the best 2017 you can have by getting professional help, finding fun, new coping skills, establishing uplifting support groups, and making changes.
Recovering from an eating disorder may not be easy, but do not let that tear you down. 2017 is a new year. You know that saying, “New year, new me.”? Don’t think you have to change how you are. You do not need to become a new person this year. Become a better you. Aspire to work on your recovery—actually don’t just aspire, do it. Make sure you are doing all that you can to promote your recovery in 2017 and be a better you!
About the Author:
I am a 22-year-old student on the path to earn my Bachelor’s in Social Work. I’m married to the most handsome man who may or may not love our dog more than me. I’m a lover of bananas, McDonald’s fries, and Adam’s natural PB (I seriously go through more than a jar a month.). Oh, yeah, I’m also fully recovered from Anorexia Nervosa. Be sure to visit my blog, Normally Recovered.