by Madison Swart
It’s pretty well understood that many people set ‘losing weight’ as a goal for themselves in the New Year.
Gym memberships spike in January, as people feel guilty after eating throughout the holiday season. In recovery myself, I know how frustrating it can be to try to keep your ‘recovery hat’ on while everyone around you seems to only be able to talk about calories, steps, sizes etc.
SO – while I can’t knock everyone upside the head, asking them to think about how this situation might not be conducive to someone trying to kick Ed to the curb, I have come up with 7 ideas for things you can focus on for 2017! (Things that don’t have anything to do with a FitBit or MyFitnessPal!)
These are some things I have found are helpful to focus your energy on, when Ed seems to be dictating everything crossing your mind.
The reality is that there is SO much more to life than the size of your jeans, or the space between your thighs.
There are days this is easy to remember, and there are days that it seems impossible. So whether today is a great day, or you can’t wait for it to end – these short term and long term goals will help to keep everything in perspective.
Increase Your Vocabulary
Try to learn a new word each day! I really like to use the thesaurus for this. Type in how you are feeling, the color of your nail polish, or the first item you see when you look around the room! Then, click a word that catches your eye. Do this as many times as you want? Before you know it, your ‘fancy’ entry will show ‘superfluous’ before you. The more you try to incorporate new words into your writing, or even conversation – the more it will happen without even a second thought!
Journaling is one of those things that I love to start doing, will do for about a week, and then a year later find the journal half written in at the bottom of my closet. When I do journal, I instantly feel the benefits. So while it does take a little bit of discipline – try to use the discipline you used to use with Ed and channel it into something constructive. Like journaling.
There is nothing more rewarding than giving back. The second you look at a child whose parents don’t have enough money to buy him pencils to use at school – your problems will suddenly feel so minute.
Call Grandparents/Parents More
I like to write my grandparents letters. I probably only wrote two or three this last semester to my Grandma Norma. Over Christmas she was referencing letters I had written a year ago. I guess I never realized how special these letters were to her. What takes you half an hour to do – whether its writing a letter, or making a phone call – your parents and grandparents will have their whole week made from that small amount of time you’re willing to carve out of your day.
Set Aside One Hour Each Day for Yourself
It’s hard to manage balancing time for yourself and time for your responsibilities. Something that I have found astronomically helpful, is to set aside one hour, each day, to use however I want! Whether it’s writing, taking a nap, watching Netflix, doing yoga, reading a book, or just sitting on my front porch with a cup of tea! You’ll be so amazed how refreshed you’ll feel after having some time to yourself. And by giving yourself an hour to use however you please, you will feel much less distracted while doing the things you need to do (really – take it from someone who has struggled with ADD their whole life- it helps!)
Be On Time
In my 21 years I have found that you always need to leave 10 minutes before you are planning to. There are few things more stressful than being late. Whether it is for class, an appointment, or a meeting – you’re always going to feel strung out and stressed if you’re rushed and behind. So, if you are planning to leave for something at 6, leave at 5:50. The worst thing that will happen is you’ll be a few minutes early, and have time to take a deep breath. This also allows for things like traffic, inability to find a parking spot, failure to find your keys, and all the other fun stuff that happens RIGHT when you need to be somewhere.
Go One Day – Each Month- Without Looking at Your Phone for the Whole Day
I hate my phone. So much. It allows for you to be connected all day every day. And the reality is, that if you don’t text your friend back till tomorrow – no one will die. That kid in your class asking you to send him your study guide for the test tomorrow – it’s his fault for procrastinating, not yours. I like to take the first Saturday of each month, and set it aside for myself. This is the day I turn my phone off and leave it in my bag. (Granted, I do take it with me, in case something horrible happens.) You’ll be amazed what you’ll see on your walk home, when you aren’t skipping through Spotify. And if you are going somewhere you aren’t sure how to get to – break out a map. It’s amazing the things we rely on technology for. When we slow down, and appreciate what is around us, our whole outlook can change!
I hope these ideas are things that can inspire you to make some healthy and beneficial changes in your life this upcoming year.
Believe me, your body knows what it needs to weigh. So listen to your support team, and remember that there is no better time to start your recovery than today!
That doesn’t mean you have to be perfect – it means quite the opposite. It means being okay with a slip up, and not letting your whole world come crashing down because you ate a brownie.
You’ll be fine, I promise. In the meantime, try to focus on some of these suggestions, or any that maybe these sparked up in your mind!
This year, is your year – So let’s make it great!
Recovery IS Possible!!
About the Author:
Madison is the Founder and President of the Ohio State University Chapter of Project HEAL! She is a senior majoring in Social Work and Psychology currently working as an addiction counselor for The Ohio State University Student Wellness Center. After graduating in May, Madison plans to stay involved with Project HEAL while pursuing a career in Social Work, hoping to help individuals struggling with mental health struggles. Madison runs a blog, www.theadultinghippie.com, and paints in her free time.